First Published in the Miami Herald February 14, 2023 Op-ed by Cindy Lerner, former FL state Representative, former mayor of Pinecres, Florida, Elected Officials to Protect America Leadership Council member. As Miami-Dade County Public Schools prepare to receive 10 new electric buses for their fleet, it’s important to remember that the current fleet of 1,000 diesel buses continues to cost […]
Op-ed by Cindy Lerner, former FL state Representative, former mayor of Pinecres, Florida, Elected Officials to Protect America Leadership Council member.
As Miami-Dade County Public Schools prepare to receive 10 new electric buses for their fleet, it’s important to remember that the current fleet of 1,000 diesel buses continues to cost the district millions in fuel costs and negatively impact the health of the children who ride them.
Studies have shown that diesel exhaust is a major health hazard and can harm the lung development of growing children.
Fortunately, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is offering $500 million in rebates for zero-emission and low-emission school buses through the 2022 Clean School Bus Program, in addition to the millions already awarded to Florida school districts through the Volkswagen settlement and other federal funding sources.
The Miami-Dade County Public School Clean Energy Task Force recently issued a report that recommends transitioning the entire school bus fleet to electric in the next several years and creating the necessary infrastructure through charging stations and hubs. This transition would not only improve our children’s health, but also significantly reduce fuel costs.
The report also recommends the creation of a Sustainability Director position to provide support and coordination for clean-energy initiatives. This position has now been filled, and the district is working closely with the county to align their efforts and make cost-efficient investments in transportation infrastructure.
The recently signed 2022 Inflation Reduction Act is the largest climate investment ever and will put the United States on a path to reduce pollution by addressing the root cause of dirty fossil fuels. It is crucial that our county, and hopefully the rest of the state, follow suit and invest in clean energy from the sun, through solar panels on schools, to further reduce energy costs and create energy independence.
As our municipal and county governments have made commitments to transition to clean energy, it is essential that our public school system take advantage of the incentives and federal funding available to transition to 100% clean energy by 2030. This aligns with the Miami-Dade County Climate Strategy, which aims to cut greenhouse-gas emissions 50% by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050.