President Biden recently signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, or the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, into law. This bill represents an historic investment in America’s core infrastructure priorities – including climate-conscious investments in bridges, rail, transit, ports, airports, water systems and broadband.
In Colorado, this means that our state and local governing agencies are eligible to apply for millions of dollars in funding to upgrade our infrastructure in a green, climate-friendly way.
There are two programs that we are particularly excited about:
The EPA’s Clean School Bus Program provides $5 billion over the next five years to replace existing school buses with clean, zero-emission and low-emission models.
Twenty-five million children across the country and 300,000 kids here in CO ride a school bus to school each day; 95% of those buses are diesel. Studies show that levels of harmful air pollution inside school buses are up to 10 times higher than ambient air due to diesel exhaust. In addition, school buses often idle next to school playgrounds where children are running and playing.
We know the damage diesel fumes do to our kids’ lungs, so riding electric school buses will be better for their often still-developing lungs. E-buses will help families in disproportionately impacted communities, where there are higher concentrations of pollution, and resulting higher rates of asthma and other respiratory diseases.
The Biden-Harris Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure delivers $500 million in funding for energy efficient upgrades for our kids’ schools.
Aging schools across the state have poor heating and cooling systems. Many have no cooling system at all. This program will allow schools to make the necessary upgrades that save energy and therefore save schools money. Those funds are then freed up to go where they are needed most – into the classroom. Reducing energy usage will help address the climate crisis and energy efficiencies will also improve the learning environment – helping kids and teachers focus on learning and not on trying to stay alert in a classroom that is too hot.
These programs of the Infrastructure bill will help protect our children’s health today and protect their future – exactly what Mountain Mamas works to do every day.
But their success depends on schools and communities actively accessing those dollars. That’s where you can help. Signing our petition to ask school officials to apply for the funds is the first step. Thank you! If you want to do more, just let us know and we can let you know the most effective ways to get involved – [email protected]!
If you’re interested here’s where you can find additional information about these programs:
- EPA website on electric school buses: Clean School Bus Program | US EPA
- School infrastructure funding: FACT SHEET: The Biden-Harris Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure – The White House