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Opinion: Time has come for electric school buses
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Hall County Schools District bus driver Richard Smallwood checks the rear tires of his bus Monday, Aug. 6, 2018, at the district's bus yard in preparation for the first day of school Tuesday. - photo by Scott Rogers

Both the proposed Infrastructure Bill and the Build Back Better Act being debated in DC now support electrification of our vehicles including school buses. After attending The Georgia Roundtable on Zero Emission School Buses which included representatives from the American Lung Association, Mothers for Clean Air, State and Federal Legislative Leaders and Representatives from the Electrification Coalition, I felt it important to pass the information I learned on to residents of North Georgia.

There are a great many reasons why you should call your U.S. senators and representatives to voice your support of these bills. One of the most important reasons is that the bills include support for the electrification of school buses. The dangers of diesel school buses include dire health consequences. Children, teachers, school bus drivers and the public are exposed to known carcinogens from diesel school bus emissions which can lead to lung cancer. But in addition, breathing these deadly emissions can also cause other health problems including emphysema, heart disease, asthma and other respiratory ailments.

The Clean Air Act, implemented by President Nixon in the 60s helped us improve our air quality.  This law proved that if we take steps to cut emissions we can clean our air. But we are now at a point where we must take bigger and bolder steps if we are to make our planet livable for future generations.

Among other things, these bills will provide $5 billion to school systems across the country to buy electric buses and it will provide funds for building charging stations and re-training the staff to work on these electric buses. This will help clean our air, so children won’t be breathing these deadly emissions. It will also reduce maintenance costs for our school systems. Electric vehicle maintenance is significantly lower than for diesel/combustion engine vehicles. There are no spark plugs, no oil changes, no lubricants and no dirty engines to deal with.

Please contact your local reps and senators; also contact some of the other congressional leaders who are pushing against these bills such as Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, Lindsey Graham, Jody Hice, Andrew Clyde, and others! Tell them you want clean air and clean school buses!

Bette Holland