PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - It was a historic move in the fight against climate change and lowering carbon emissions in the Valley. Cartwright Elementary School District received the state's first Blue Bird electric school bus earlier this month. The ribbon-cutting was on Wednesday, where city and school officials came together to celebrate the momentous occasion. The head of the district said this a huge step forward in keeping the kids and planet healthy. "Having an electric bus shows our children that we care about them. Not just today in how we educate and prepare them for a successful future, but also that we care about their health and the environment that they need to thrive in," said Cartwright Elementary School District Superintendent LeeAnn Aguilar-Lawlor.
The zero-emissions rear-engine school can hold 84 passengers. The new bus also means lower fuel and maintenance costs since electric buses don't need engine oil changes or transmission service, officials said. The Governing Board helped get the money for the new bus from the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act grant. SRP helped provide a Level 2 charging station at the school. "We think these buses will be more common and we're excited that Cartwright is taking the lead," said Mayor Kate Gallego.
Getting the bus took years, from proposing and passing bonds to writing and getting approved for the federal grants. "It's incredible. It's an amazing experience and opportunity for our families, our young student scholars and for the future of Maryvale and the city of Phoenix because if we can do it here in Cartwright, it can spread not just through our city but our state but also the nation and the world," said Aguilar-Lawlor. "We can have electric buses on our streets to improve our air quality so we can really see blue in the sky all the time, and that's exciting."