Rep. Nikema Williams, Local Leaders Celebrate Historic Investments in Electric School Buses
$9.9 million electric school bus investment for Atlanta Public Schools cleans up the air for Georgia kids and helps fight climate change
Atlanta, Georgia – Atlanta school children will soon have clean and safe rides to school on 25 new electric school buses thanks to federal funding highlighted at an event with local leaders today.
U.S. Representative Nikema Williams (GA–05), Atlanta Public Schools (APS) Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring, Dunbar Elementary School Principal Ernest Sessoms, Jr., Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments Program Director Jessica Mengistab, and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) Climate Advocacy Coordinator Cary Ritzler gathered today at Dunbar Elementary School to celebrate $9.9 million in federal funds for 25 new electric school buses. The unprecedented federal investment comes from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which along with the Inflation Reduction Act, is creating good-paying jobs, cutting climate pollution, and improving transit infrastructure.
Congresswoman Nikema Williams, who played a key role in securing these investments said, “This historic funding is possible because of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law which passed thanks to Democrats and the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration. Atlanta Public Schools purchased new buses that will improve the quality of life for people in Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District. I am happy to bring these resources home and look forward to securing even more resources that invest in our people.”
Dr. Lisa Herring, Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent, highlighted the difference these electric buses will make for students: “As an educator, my top priority is always the health and wellbeing of our students. That is why I could not be more excited to be here celebrating this historic investment in electric school buses for Atlanta Public Schools. Thanks to these investments, our students will have cleaner air, a healthier climate, and reliable transportation to help them succeed.”
Through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, APS received $9.9 million to purchase a fleet of 25 electric school buses and charging equipment–one of 15 school districts in Georgia and 389 nationwide selected for this round of funding. Statewide, Georgia school districts received $51.1 million in federal grants to help transition to electric school buses.
“Dunbar Elementary School is an International Baccalaureate school that is dedicated to preparing global-minded and inquiry-based scholars. We want every child to have a love for learning about the environment. Today’s generation of students need hands-on experiences where they may learn, play, and explore outdoor spaces. This is where they begin to understand an appreciation for a healthy planet and clean atmosphere.,” said Ernest Sessoms, Jr., Principal of Dunbar Elementary School.
“As a nurse, I’ve seen firsthand how pollution from buses and trucks harms our children’s health. I’ve also seen how pollution impacts low-income communities and communities of color first and worst. I thank Congresswoman Nikema Williams for being a champion for Georgia families and helping pass these historic investments that will cut pollution, help fight the climate crisis, and give our kids a healthier future.” said Jessica Mengistab, BA, BSN, RN, Climate and Clean Energy Advocacy Program Manager, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments.
“With President Biden’s affordable clean energy plan, Georgia is becoming one of the EV manufacturing capitals of America. These investments are creating jobs, lowering costs for families, and cleaning up climate pollution in our communities,” said Cary Ritzler, Climate Advocacy Coordinator, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
In addition to funding for clean public transit and electric school buses, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act are making it easier and more cost-effective for drivers to switch from gas-burning cars to electric cars. The IRA offers consumer incentives, such as tax credits and rebates, to make electric vehicles more affordable for families. These incentives can help reduce the upfront cost of electric vehicles, making them a more attractive option for potential buyers. The IIJA also provides nearly $49 million for building out a statewide network of electric vehicle chargers in Georgia, which is part of a larger $7.5 billion investment aimed at creating the first national network of electric vehicle chargers in the United States.
These investments not only help reduce air pollution but also make electric vehicles more accessible and convenient for Georgians, encouraging a widespread transition to cleaner transportation options.
A livestream of the event can be found here.