The above link connects to an article about how Michigan should use money it received from the Volkswagen Emissions Scandal. If you are unfamiliar, a few years ago Volkswagen was caught using a device in its cars that would allow the cars to cheat on emissions tests, allowing them to pass when the cars were truly emitting pollutants at rates higher than allowed by law. It was a huge scandal and affected thousands of cars that had been sold while the cheating devices had been in use. The settlement that resulted forced Volkswagen to replace all of the cars as well as establish a mitigation fund that each State could request funds from. Michigan was allotted 60 million dollars over ten years to fund projects that will mitigate the effects of the increased diesel air pollution created by these vehicles.
This article calls for some of those $60 mil to be used to replace school buses. This article was written last December, and interestingly enough Michigan will be moving forward with that proposal this fall! The organization I am working with, Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision, is working right now to put together a collaboration of stakeholders to prepare a proposal to submit to the Michigan Department of Environmental Equity this fall once they open up the call for proposals related to this project. As I was outlining what information is important to share with these stakeholders I was lucky to come across this article that outlines how beneficial it would be to replace old schoolbuses with new ones.
At SDEV we are highly concerned with air pollution, children in Detroit have rates of asthma 3 times higher than the rest of the state largely due to air pollution. Improving school buses would be a great step in the right direction in improving the air that children of Detroit are exposed to. Not only to schoolbuses carry children to and from school, but it is not uncommon to see them idling for long periods of time as they wait outside schools at the end of the day or during field trips. Not to mention the many stops they must make as they wait for students to load and unload.
Convening this collaborative also presents a great opportunity to educate busing companies and bus drivers about idling behaviors and how to change them, which is a large focus of my project. This article will be a helpful tool to succinctly explain to stakeholders the many benefits of improving school buses.