We believe kids and communities have the right to breathe clean air.
We’ve partnered with national and state groups through our Clean Buses for Healthy Niños program. Through this campaign, we are cleaning up our air by lobbying our state to fund the transition to clean school buses that run on electricity, not dirty diesel. Through grassroots community organizing, we asked the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to put the health of our kids first by using up to $166 million in funds from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation trust fund to electrify school bus fleets in some of the most heavily polluted areas of our state.
One in 11 children in Florida suffer from asthma, and 2.7 million children in Florida are exposed to toxins and known carcinogens from diesel buses daily. That’s why we’re especially focused on bringing these VW dollars to low-income and communities of color where students and families are most at risk of breathing dirty air. These populations have also been disproportionately harmed by pollution. Using funds from the VW mitigation fund, school districts can take dirty diesel buses off our roads and replace them with clean electric buses, protecting our most vulnerable population, our children.
Since 2016 we’ve lobbied the governors of Florida to dedicate funds to replacing dirty diesel school buses with clean, electric ones. In the summer of 2019, after thousands of emails advocating electric school buses from our supporters, DEP made electrifying school bus fleets one of their top priorities for the VW funds. Since then, FCVEF has hosted educational webinars to make sure school districts understand how to submit their proposals. In late 2019, DEP made $5 million available for an initial phase to replace old diesel school buses with electric school buses. As part of Clean Buses for Healthy Niños, FCVEF will continue working with school districts and communities to ensure their funding needs get met.