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Ting, Health Experts & Climate Advocates Urge Governor To Sign AB 579 To Inspire Faster Adoption of ZEV School Buses

For immediate release:
Ting & Supporters Urge The Governor To Sign AB 579

Only 560, or two percent, of California’s entire school bus fleet are zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and supporters of his AB 579 urged Governor Newsom today to sign the bill to spur faster adoption of clean transportation statewide for our kids.

“The health and environmental benefits of getting more zero-emission school buses on the road are tremendous, yet California lags in utilizing them,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco). I urge the Governor to sign AB 579. The faster school districts switch over to clean buses, the sooner we can benefit from the impact and reach our climate goals.”

Emissions from diesel school buses put students at risk for serious health conditions, such as cancer and asthma. Breathing it daily, even for a short time for the duration of an entire academic year, may also cause cognitive development impacts.

"Diesel exhaust is a known carcinogen. Kids who ride diesel buses have up to four times the exposure to this exhaust than people in cars riding next to the bus. Electric school buses have no tailpipe emissions, can improve community resilience, and are less expensive to fuel and maintain. We need AB 579 to protect our kids' health and help ensure a safer and more equitable future," said Dr. Knox Kelly, internist, member of Climate Health Now.

AB 579 requires new school bus purchases or leases to be zero-emission after 2035. Besides the health and environmental benefits, greener fleets can bring down maintenance costs, saving schools money. California already has committed to have a 100-percent zero-emission bus fleet by 2045, and the legislation helps speed up adoption, while also allowing districts to use diesel buses purchased prior to 2035 through the end of their life. 

Ting, who is also Assembly Budget Chair, negotiated $1.5 million in state funding to help schools purchase electric school buses and charging stations. The allocation will supplement the federal Clean School Bus Program, which makes $5 million in grants over five-years available.

“The younger generation is very concerned about climate change and our health. Anything we can do today will mean a healthier and more sustainable tomorrow. I hope the Governor sees that and signs AB 579,” said Eric Yue, Policy Director of GENup and Bay Area high school student.

The Governor has until October 14 to act on all bills sent to him last month.