WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) today joined the Sierra Club and 17 partner organizations in calling on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to commit to 100% electrification of its transit bus fleet by 2045, or sooner, and to take immediate steps toward achieving that goal.
During this 10th annual National Drive Electric Week, the Sierra Club and its allies recently released a report urging WMATA to take concrete steps towards a 100% electric bus fleet in a manner that guarantees that transit electrification first and foremost benefits low- and moderate-income Metro region residents. Click here to read the full report. Click here to read the report overview. Click here to for more background information on WMATA's bus fleet.
The new report shows that electrifying WMATA’s buses by 2045 would:
Save the agency hundreds of millions of dollars on lifetime fleet operating costs.
Reduce annual carbon pollution by more than 58,000 tons by 2030 (and more in later years).
Reduce the public health toll that toxic air pollution has on the area’s most vulnerable residents, saving residents millions of dollars in avoided healthcare costs.
“The Sierra Club’s report outlining the environmental, health, and economic benefits of clean energy solutions focusing on electric buses is especially timely today,” said Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. "As Chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, I led the effort in the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2), which passed the House this summer and will create climate-driven discretionary grant programs, such as investing $1.725 billion in zero emission buses. Cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and our region’s own Alexandria are leading the charge on clean transportation efforts at the local level through their commitment to fully electric bus fleets, and I am encouraging WMATA to make this commitment now. The District of Columbia has taken important steps to promote clean energy through the Clean Energy DC Act, the addition of electric buses to the DC Circulator fleet, and other efforts. As the nation’s capital commits to a fully electric bus fleet, we set a strong example for transit agencies across the country and add even greater momentum to the region’s clean energy efforts.”
“I applaud the Sierra Club and its allies for their strong efforts to advance a 21st century vision for strong climate leadership in Washington, D.C.,” said Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08). “I’m proud to uplift their call for WMATA to transition to 100% electrification of its bus fleet. As the transit hub serving our nation’s capital, WMATA should be leading the way in clean, green transit options. Yet other cities across the country, including Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Seattle, and Alexandria in neighboring Virginia, have already committed to fully electrifying their bus fleets while WMATA has yet to do so. I hope WMATA will seize and promote the economic, climate, and public health benefits of this commitment.”
"For decades, WMATA ran the dirtiest diesel buses in their fleet out of our Northwest DC neighborhood’s old bus garage," said Russell Clark, 16th Street Heights resident and Community Environment Committee Chair. "Our community has had enough of the air pollution and insists that an all-electric fleet return to the soon-to-be-rebuilt facility. This report is lending a much-needed amplified voice to our local efforts by thoroughly documenting the need and opportunity for committing to a concrete, region-wide transition plan for WMATA to invest in clean, zero-emission buses."
“Communities of color have for far too long borne the brunt of transportation pollution because they are more frequently located near major roadways and transportation hubs,” said Ramon Palencia-Calvo, director of Chispa Maryland. “We need to act with urgency to reduce their exposure. Transitioning diesel fleets to zero emissions fleets will improve health and quality of life in overexposed communities while combating climate change. We urge WMATA to follow the lead of other jurisdictions from around the country and transition its bus fleet to zero emissions by 2045 or sooner.”
“Transportation generates 45 percent of Virginia’s greenhouse gas emissions and pollution that causes respiratory disease and increases healthcare costs. At greatest danger are children, seniors, and those living near major roads,” said Meg Mall, Executive Director of Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions. “To fight the climate crisis and improve health, Virginia must electrify transportation with urgency, including its WMATA buses, support alternatives to driving, and encourage smart growth – and do so in a way that promotes environmental justice, so job opportunities, improved transit systems, and reduced pollution can also benefit traditionally disadvantaged communities.”
The list of organizations and groups endorsing the report include 350 Loudon, the Audubon Naturalist Society, Breathe DC, the Chesapeake Action Climate Network, Chispa Maryland, the Citizens' Climate Lobby (DC), the DC Climate Coalition, the DC Environmental Network, Earthjustice, Electrify NBG, Environment America, the Electric Vehicle Association of DC, Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions, Generation 180, Interfaith Power and Light (MD.DC.NoVA), the Labor Network for Sustainability, Moms Clean Air Force, and the Sierra Club.