Senators introduce Clean Transit For America Plan to replace nation's buses

Plan to provide $73 billion to move the country’s public transit systems to zero-emission fleets

May 10, 2021 / 2 minute read
bus transit

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) recently unveiled their new Clean Transit for America plan to provide $73 billion to move the country’s public transit systems to zero-emission fleets.

This announcement comes on the heels of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan and aims to help combat climate change, improve air quality, and establish a transit workforce training program intended to create good paying union jobs, Senator Brown's office says.

Currently in the U.S., only 2% of this nation’s buses are zero-emission vehicles and the volume of air pollutants from diesel buses disproportionally impacts low-income communities and communities of color, according to Senator Brown's office. The money from this program will specifically be used to replace America’s 70,000 mass transit buses and 85,000 cutaway vehicles and transit vans to clean energy vehicles and will prioritize funding for areas with the worst air quality first.

“Americans deserve world-class public transportation that is delivered with modern, zero-emission buses built by American workers,” Senator Brown said in a statement. “Addressing climate change and reducing pollution is an opportunity to invest in American workers. The Clean Transit for America Plan will create a significant number of good-paying, union jobs building zero-emission buses in the U.S.”

According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), fuel use from transit buses alone accounts for more than 5.5 million metric tons of carbon pollution spewed into the atmosphere annually.

According to recent data, the average cost of a battery electric bus is between $850,000 and $900,000, and hydrogen fuel cell buses average $1 million per bus or more. Zero-emissions vehicles will be cheaper to operate and maintain once deployed, Senator Brown's office says. This will help agencies provide more frequent, high-quality transit services, but the upfront cost of zero-emission vehicles and charging infrastructure are an obstacle to adoption. 

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SOURCE: Office of Senator Sherrod Brown

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