Earlier this week, Washington Senator Patty Murray (D) held a roundtable discussion about the need for a federal investment to electrify the nation’s school buses. Murray was joined by school and utility officials from across the state, including Brett Blechschmidt, Associate Superintendent and Chief Operating Officer for Vancouver Public Schools.

“As we work to provide clean air and a brighter future for children in Washington state and across the country, it’s crucial for both the health of our students and the future of our planet that we invest in zero-emission transportation,” said Senator Murray.

In February, the Senator introduced the Clean School Bus Act. This legislation would provide $1 billion for grants to help school districts across the country replace traditional school buses with electric ones. By reducing students’ exposure to diesel exhaust, the bill would significantly reduce students’ risk of asthma and other respiratory illnesses, and provide long-term savings to school districts.

“We were extremely excited to hear of Senator Murray’s bold plan to help remove some of the short-term cost barriers that prevent school districts across the country from taking advantage of the significant long-term benefits of electric buses for our children and communities – and we’re excited to hear more,” said Blechschmidt.

“Besides the health benefits to our students and community … we anticipate we will save between $5,000 to $10,000 per year for every electric bus we put on the road,” he added. “These are dollars that can then be repurposed and put directly into classrooms and direct services to meet the increasingly complex academic and social emotional needs of our kids.”

Every day, more than 25 million children in the U.S. rely on a school bus to commute to school. Across the country, there are approximately 500,000 school buses on the road traveling more than 3 billion miles per year.

You can watch Senator Murray’s roundtable discussion above.