We need air that’s safe to breathe. As a great-grandmother and Latina mother living in neighborhoods burdened by pollution, we are calling for clean air now.
From smog hanging over cities to choking wildfire smoke, air pollution poses a major threat to our health and climate. In fact, more than 40% of Americans are living in places where the air is unhealthy to breathe, according to the American Lung Association. That number is a staggering three times higher for people of color.
A major cause of air pollution is vehicle exhaust. The pollution that comes from cars, trucks, and buses can harm people’s lungs, hearts, and brains. This is sending tens of thousands of people to the emergency room and cutting thousands of lives short each year. The pollution from these vehicles also contributes to climate change.
We live in Phoenix, one of the most polluted cities in the country. Like many American cities experiencing rapid growth, Phoenix’s residents are especially burdened by vehicle pollution. That’s why we are working to address this pollution at its source: Tailpipes. We are advocating for the rapid electrification of cars, trucks, and buses to clean up the air for all of us.
The passing of the bipartisan infrastructure bill was a major step in implementing change to improve air quality. The law allocated up to $5 billion over five years to help school districts replace existing diesel-powered school buses with zero-emission models. The infrastructure investments will help us build out electric vehicle charging stations, expanding clean energy and reducing pollution.
However, there is still a lot of work to do when it comes to transitioning our transportation sector — the nation’s largest source of climate pollution, and a major contributor to health-harming air pollution — to the zero-emission, accessible, and clean transportation sector that we need for our families. There are 284 million vehicles on roads throughout the United States and only one percent of those vehicles are electric. That percentage is the same for the school buses that transport 25 million children daily.
As parents, we can use our voices to advocate for stronger health protections and pollution standards. Working with Moms Clean Air Force, we are asking Congress, the EPA, the White House, and our local leaders to take action now. Our country must rapidly transition every vehicle on every road to run on clean, zero-pollution electricity. That includes our school bus fleets, passenger vehicles, and heavy-duty trucks. Electric vehicles will provide a better future for our children and generations to come. Let’s get rolling, America!