Washington, D.C. – Today, Tuesday, May 4, 2021, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Sherrod Brown (D-OH) unveiled their new Clean Transit for America plan to help protect our planet by providing $73 billion to move our country’s public transit systems to zero-emission fleets. This announcement comes on the heels of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan and will help combat climate change, improve air quality, and establish a transit workforce training program that will create good paying union jobs.
Currently in the United States, 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. 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 and will in turn greatly improve air quality for all Americans.
“To reduce the carbon in our atmosphere and address the climate crisis, we must transform our transit system,” said Leader Schumer. “The Clean Transit for America proposal will replace dirty, diesel-spewing buses, create new American jobs, help save the planet and protect public health, particularly in our country’s most vulnerable communities. That is why I am working to make sure this proposal is part of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan.”
“Americans deserve world-class public transportation that is delivered with modern, zero-emission buses built by American workers,” said Senator Brown. “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. It is the kind of transformative investment we need in public transit that will put Americans to work, connects people with opportunity, and invests in the communities that have been left on their own by Washington and Wall Street for too long.”
“As president of the IBEW, the largest union of electrical workers in the country, I want to thank Majority Leader Schumer and Senator Brown for their ambitious Clean Transit for America proposal. This plan will create tens of thousands of jobs for IBEW members around the country by modernizing our nation’s mass transit buses to zero emission vehicles. In particularly, we strongly support the incorporation of the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP) into the plan, which will ensure charging infrastructure financed by this proposal is done by highly skilled electricians. The IBEW looks forward to working with Leader Schumer, Senator Brown and the United States Senate to move this proposal forward and fulfill the promise to build America back better,” said IBEW International President Lonnie R. Stephenson.
We applaud Senator Schumer and Senator Brown for proposing this big step toward the sustainable and equitable future we need to build back better and shift our public transit systems away from relying on dirty-diesel vehicles. It’s long past time to invest in pollution-free transit with a focus on the low-income communities of color that are most impacted. We urge Congress to move quickly to advance this plan, in concert with the American Jobs Plan, to help create good-paying jobs, fight the climate crisis, and advance racial justice,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs at the League of Conservation Voters.
“Transit is the very fabric of our communities: it’s what keeps us connected, brings us to and from school and work every day, allows us to buy groceries, receive medical care, and enjoy parks,” said Lauren Maunus, Sunrise Movement Advocacy Director. “If we’re going to beat the climate clock and stop polluting toxic fumes into our neighborhoods, we must swiftly transform every aspect of our current transportation system to reach zero emissions. Leader Schumer’s Clean Transit for America legislation would electrify our nation’s bus fleet - a key step towards fully transitioning our transit systems, while strengthening services vital to the health of our communities.”
“The TWU embraces a green economy that fights climate change while preserving and creating good jobs. We need to cut emissions while making sure existing workers are not left behind,” said John Samuelsen, International President of the Transport Workers Union.
“Leader Schumer’s and Senator Brown's proposed legislation to shift to 100% electric buses means healthier communities and a healthier economy. The bill will take significant climate action while creating good, family-sustaining jobs in the U.S. and prioritize communities with the worst air quality to address decades of inequitable transportation policy. The Sierra Club is proud to endorse this bill,” said Katherine Garcia, Acting Director of Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All Campaign
“We need to invest now to build the clean transportation system of the future—one that provides more clean and affordable options for everyone. Buses provide a vital service, allowing people to get around at a low cost—but buses that burn fossil fuels also bring dangerous pollution to overburdened communities. We support Senator Schumer and Senator Brown’s vision of electrifying transit and paratransit buses and look forward to working with them on this proposal ,” said Michelle Robinson, Director of the Clean Transportation Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
“The ATU, representing more than 23,000 workers in NY State and more than 200,000 across North America, fully supports Senator Schumer’s and Senator Brown’s Clean Transit for America plan. This is a game changer providing billions for zero emission buses, which can play a key role in fighting climate change,” said ATU International President John Costa. “However, the move to greener vehicles must not come at the expense of the jobs of transit workers. We must invest and develop policies on training and apprenticeship programs for transit workers to ensure their jobs and that they are prepared to safely operate and maintain this new technology. This bill puts workers first, by including funding for workforce development.”
“Reinvigorating our economy, creating millions of good jobs, addressing racial injustice and tackling the climate crisis requires bold action,” said Stephanie Gidigbi Jenkins, a director for policy and partnerships at Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “This proposal is big and bold. Supporting a transition to clean transit will support domestic industry, curb harmful pollution poisoning our families and address a major source of the emissions causing climate change. Congress should take this plan from Sens. Schumer and Brown as soon as possible and help create one more plank of the clean economy of the future.”
“The public transportation industry strongly supports Senator Schumer’s and Senator Brown’s efforts to make a game-changing investment in zero-emission buses and charging infrastructure. This forward-thinking investment will spur innovation, clean the air in our communities, and help us address the dramatic impacts of climate change across the nation,” said American Public Transportation Association President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas.
“EDF supports robust investment in zero emission buses as a critical part of meeting our climate goals and making America's transportation system cleaner. Proposals such as the one announced by Leader Schumer and Senator Brown help to make a transition to 100% new zero-emission truck and bus sales by 2040 eminently achievable. Transitioning to zero-emission buses will also provide vital public health benefits. Buses are a major source of the unhealthy air pollution that puts all Americans at risk, with the health burden disproportionately impacting people of color and lower income families. We applaud Senators Schumer and Brown’s leadership on this critical issue,” said Elizabeth Gore, EDF Senior Vice President, Political Affairs.
“On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I want to thank Senator Schumer and Senator Brown for recognizing the serious frontline workforce needs that result from the transition to zero emission bus fleets," said Greg Regan, President of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO. "By ensuring that frontline transit workers gain the skills and training necessary to run the public transportation systems of the future, paired with a guarantee that no workers will be displaced by their proposal, Senators Schumer and Brown send a strong message that, when policy is shaped correctly, workers and the communities they live in can both benefit from technological change."
“Most transit buses burn dirty fossil fuels, spewing harmful pollution into the air. As parents, we know that's bad for our kids' health: Children's lungs are still developing, so they are especially vulnerable to health harms from air pollution, such as asthma and lung infections. What’s more, the transportation sector is the largest source of climate pollution in the US, and the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas pollution in the world. We want to protect our families from the climate crisis and clean up the air our children breathe -- that means we need to transition to 100% clean electric power for our cars, trucks and buses, starting now. By supporting the transition of our public transit buses to zero emission vehicles, the Clean Transit for America Act takes an important step toward protecting our families. It will improve local air quality and help reduce climate pollution. Moms are fierce protectors of our children's health. That's why we support the Clean Transit for America Act,” said Trisha DelloIacono, National Field and Legislative Manager, Moms Clean Air Force.
"Transitioning to 100% zero-emission buses is an essential infrastructure and environmental justice priority. By moving our public transit systems to zero emission fleets, the Clean Transit for America bill sets us on a path toward a world free from climate chaos and a country where there is clean air and quality public transit in every neighborhood," said Marcela Mulholland, Political Director at Data for Progress.
“Clean Transit for America goes a long way to address the urgent need for strong action and forward-thinking when it comes to public transit emissions. By upgrading and replacing polluting transit buses with clean vehicles, and prioritizing funding for areas with the worst air quality, this policy will go a long way toward fighting smog and chronic respiratory conditions in Latino/a/x communities, where rates of exposure are disproportionately high, and creates an accessible cleaner transportation future for all," said Andrea Marpillero-Colomina, Clean Transit Advocate for GreenLatinos
A summary of the Clean Transit For American plan can be found HERE.