Alexandria City Public Schools students will take a ride into the future, thanks to a partnership with Dominion Energy. More school divisions across the commonwealth could soon follow suit, thanks to President Joe Biden’s signature on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill.
Dominion Energy, an American power and energy company headquartered in Richmond, announced in June 2020 its intentions to roll out a fleet of 50 electric school buses. Through the deal, participating schools could purchase buses for the same price as their diesel counterparts. The move happened more than a year prior to the signing of the $1.2 trillion spending plan, which invests a record $39 billion in public transit.
The company has been highly criticized for their role in contributing to climate change.
The bill called out America’s transit infrastructure for being inadequate, hosting a multibillion-dollar repair backlog. Among the thousands of rail cars, hundreds of stations, and other areas of public transit in need of a facelift, there were more than 24,000 buses in need of replacement. Rather than patch repairs, the $39 billion will replace the buses with clean, zero emission vehicles.
The school division took a step toward sustainability this month, welcoming five electric buses to their school routes. The new buses operate entirely by electrical power, while creating a quieter and more environmentally-friendly ride for students, the school division said in a press release. The buses will help store electricity and stabilize the power grid.
ACPS currently has 118 buses and will operate the largest percentage of clean energy electric school buses in Northern Virginia. The 50 buses that are part of the Dominion Energy Electric School Buses Program will prevent almost three million pounds of carbon emissions annually.