Community breathes easier as El Monte Union High School District and CARB deliver electric buses and green-tech infrastructure through California Climate Investments
SOUTH EL MONTE – El Monte Union High School District community members and stakeholders received a glimpse at the future of transportation in the San Gabriel Valley, as the brand new all-electric school bus fleet arrived at South El Monte High School, heralding the inception of the District’s $9.8 million Clean Mobility in Schools Pilot Project, celebrated during a “green” ribbon-cutting ceremony held Aug. 18.
South El Monte students cheered as El Monte Union administrators joined with representatives from the California Air Resources Board (CARB), project corporate partners, state and local officials, and clean air advocates to cut a ceremonial ribbon on the initiative that puts into action California’s promise to drive zero-emission technology to support air quality and combat climate change.
“This is a great day for El Monte Union, for residents of California and everyone who is working hard to reverse the deleterious effects of air pollution and provide blue skies for our children and grandchildren,” El Monte Union Superintendent Dr. Edward Zuniga said. “The District is proud to be here as an inaugural member of the Clean Mobility in Schools Pilot Project.”
After the ribbon-cutting, guests received an opportunity to “take a look under the hood” of one of the 11 new zero-emission school buses. Green-tech stations provided guests with information on the Clean Mobility in Schools Pilot Project, as well as how they can help to protect the environment.
The Clean Mobility in Schools Pilot Project, funded by CARB, is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment - particularly in disadvantaged communities.
The all-electric bus fleet is part of a series of clean mobility measures that will promote the use of clean transportation options for students, parents and staff. The District also received 11 all-electric utility maintenance carts to help replace its inventory of mostly gas-powered carts.
Other components of the project include a pilot Career Technical Education curriculum to engage students in clean energy career pathways, an active transportation plan that aims to improve school transportation safety and encourage students to walk, bike or carpool to school, 3 electric motor pool vehicles, 5 energy storage systems that tie into the District’s existing solar power system, and 2 locations for bus charging infrastructure at the EMUHSD Bus Garage and a Satellite location.
“El Monte Union High School District is a tremendous example of the work the California Climate Investments program is delivering to all California residents as we work collectively to reduce harmful exposure to air pollution by children and others in our working-class communities,” said CARB Board Member Dean Florez. “California is proud to be leading the effort to improve air quality and address climate change by driving transformative green technology and helping schools to educate the next generation about using clean mobility options.”
In August 2019, CARB initiated the Clean Mobility in Schools Pilot Program – a first-of-its-kind program that funds a variety of projects promoting zero-emission transportation options for students, parents and staff members served by school districts in California. Grant winners for the new two-year Clean Mobility in Schools Pilot Project were:
- El Monte Union High School District — $9.8 million
- San Diego Unified School District — $9.75 million
- Stockton Unified School District — $4.8 million
Projects developed and run by the individual school district grantees are designed to meet community or school district needs. One major goal of the pilot project is to serve as a laboratory to test different approaches. CARB staff will use the lessons learned to develop a blueprint and guidance for other school districts interested in implementing similar projects. Each project is located within a disadvantaged community (as defined by Senate Bill 535) where more people are exposed to harmful pollutants and suffer from greater economic and health burdens.