On September 30th, 2021 at 11:00 am the NYC Clean School Bus Coalition hosted a rally on the steps of Tweed Courthouse to show the widespread support for Intro 455 and electric school buses.
The rally featured speakers of various backgrounds such as Julie Tighe; NYLCV, Council Member Daniel Dromm, Council Member James Gennaro, Amanda Haught of United We Stand of New York, Jenny Veloz of New York Lawyers for Public Interest, Jay Mehta of Jobs to Move America, Leslie Stevens of 350 NYC, Lauren Kesner O’Brien of 350Brooklyn Families, Parent Advocate for District 75Amy Ming Tsai, Tevin Grant of Evolv-Electric, Justin Balik of World Resources Institute, and Michael Backman of Unique Electric Solutions.
The rally opened with the group chanting “Healthy Kids, Clean Buses! Reduce Emissions, Clean Buses! Clean Air, Clean Buses! Then, speakers provided testimony to the need for electric school buses, the problem with diesel school buses, the opportunities arising in this transition as Intro 455 aged last week, and the early days of organizing.
President of NYLCV, Julie Tighe noted in her speech “We need electric school buses! They are the cleanest alternative with 70% less GHG emissions and zero tailpipe emissions. Our students go to school to learn and instead we put them at risk when we send them to school in diesel buses.”
Council Member James F. Gennaro said, “My dedicated and visionary colleague Danny Dromm and I have been working on this legislation until the late hours of yesterday evening. I am thrilled to share that not only do we have the bill on hand today, but will be voting on it at the next Stated meeting of the Council. As Chair of the New York City Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection, I am proud to co-sponsor Intro. 455, which requires an all-electric fleet of school buses that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and a host of harmful pollutants in our atmosphere. Most importantly, it will protect NYC students and the NYC school community from noxious diesel fuel emissions. I thank Council Member Danny Dromm, all my colleagues who support this vital bill, and the NYC Clean School Bus Coalition, which have rallied in support of this legislation.”
Councilman Dromm left positive remarks at the rally saying “Clean school bus coalition – you made this happen! The legislation was aged last night! We will have a totally complete clean bus system by 2035, this will happen by law! It has been a long struggle, but a worthwhile struggle.”
Additionally, coalition member Jenny Veloz from NYLPI said “Seeing everyone here gives me hope that we can make this happen. However, for this to be successful as we know it can be, we need help- state funding, federal funding, we need to help communities that are most affected. We all deserve clean air!”
The rally closed out with a short walk down the street where a retrofitted electric school bus provided by Logan Bus Company welcomed the group. Everyone convened to explore the bus and celebrate a successful afternoon.
Submitted by Abby Terrigino