Coming out of the U.S. Capital this week is a new grant program from the Department of Transportation. In this program, $1.7 billion in grants is up for grabs for state governments and transportation agencies if they switch to zero or low-emission buses. The grants will be delegated to various transit projects in forty-six of the country’s states and territories. The goal would be for 1,700 buses built in the U.S. with zero-low carbon emission levels. The financial backing of these grants comes from a bill passed by President Biden in 2021. The bill was a bipartisan infrastructure bill.
It has been a priority for President Biden to expedite the process toward electric vehicles being in the majority on the road.
Biden’s push has been especially directed at schools and public transportation as they are ones that government has some power and say over. The push toward more electric vehicles occupying the road is one of the steps we are taking toward fighting climate change. While the increase in electric vehicles will not undo any of the damage already done, it will hopefully better our carbon footprint overall and be able to stabilize the issue rather than perpetuate it.
Pete Buttigieg, the Transportation Secretary under the Biden Administration released a statement discussing the new grants. In his statement, he spoke about the 60,000 buses that are used on average in a day by people for traveling to work, school, or just around town. With this said, he pointed out how impactful a change to this many vehicles could be.
The current grants totaling $1.7 billion are actually from a second round of grants given by the government for the purpose of bringing cleaner buses to the streets. With the two grants thus far, a total of $3.3 billion has been given for this project so far. The Department of Transportation is expected to have another grant release, with an expected $5 billion to be granted over the next three years.
With these cleaner buses, not only can we expect the carbon footprint to reduce, but we can also expect public health to improve.
The lack of diesel-fueled trucks occupying the streets will bring with it many benefits to the general public’s health. Fewer toxins will be breathed in, leading to less ailments related to inhaling the toxic smells.