At a time when America seems to be falling apart at the seams, when inflation is emptying your wallet, our enemies don’t respect us, and we’re at each other’s throats constantly, remembering what exactly it is that our “leaders” are focusing on can be a useful exercise.
So, what is it they care about? Apparently, electrifying buses. Not the Russian invasion of sovereign nations. Not inflation. Not the culture war. Not the fall of Afghanistan, the crisis at the border, or China’s precipitous rise in the East. No, back in early March, Kamala gave one of her most ridiculous speeches yet, proudly championing the administration’s stance on electric buses.
Here’s the substantive part of that speech, if anything she says can be called “substantive”:
So I’ll begin with a short story. When I was attorney general of California, I heard about a town called Mira Loma. And this town had some of the worst air pollution in the state. And I’d been hearing stories about the grandmothers and the grandfathers in particular, asking, shouting, pleading: “Will someone pay attention to what is happening in our community?” They were demanding action.
And this is a town of folks who work hard. They work hard. They are growing their families. It was a town where a lot of the folks were monolingual Spanish speaking, but were so dedicated — and were so dedicated to their community.
So, I went there. I went to go visit with them and to listen to them and to stand with them. And Mira Loma is a community not unlike communities around our nation — hardworking folks working hard jobs, just expecting, asking, righteously requiring that they be seen, that they be heard, and that their needs be taken seriously, and folks who are living in neighborhoods and communities across our country where they are in close proximity to large shipping warehouses or major highways.
In Mira Loma, every day, heavy-duty trucks made more than 15,000 trips to that town’s main roads, bringing with them, of course, soot and exhaust. And the air turned toxic.
The first time I went to Mira Loma, you could taste the metal in the air. My eyes burned. The toxicity in the air was that thick.
And studies, in fact, had shown — university studies had shown that children from Mira Loma were suffering from some of the poorest lung development of any communities in our state. People there told me that family members, relatives, friends were suffering from high rates of cancer, asthma, and heart disease.
And again, the fact is there are many Mira Lomas all over our country, communities that have been left out and left behind, and where pollution from heavy-duty trucks and buses has made the air poisonous to breathe.
And this pollution is also, of course, accelerating the climate crisis, threatening the future not just of our communities but of the entire world. And this is not how it has to be.
Imagine a future: The freight trucks that deliver bread and milk to our grocery store shelves and the buses that take children to school and parents to work; imagine all the heavy-duty vehicles that keep our supply lines strong and allow our economy to grow — imagine that they produced zero emissions.
Well, you all imagined it. That’s why we’re here today — because we have the ability to see what can be, unburdened by what has been, and then to make the possible actually happen.
So, today, I am proud to announce that our administration is taking steps to build that better future by transforming our nation’s fleet of buses and trucks. And that transformation will begin with public buses.
This year, our Department of Transportation will make available nearly $1.5 billion — yes, Administrator Regan, with a “B” — (laughter) — in grants to help cities and towns electrify their fleet of public buses, build infrastructure to support their fleet, and train workers to run it.
Ridiculous. Spending billions on buses is probably one of the most absurd thing the feds could possibly spend money on.
But did she end there? No. She went on to talk about how many more billions they’re spending on…wait for it…electric school buses!
And we are not stopping there. Through our Department of Transportation, today we are also allocating $2.2 billion in funding from the American Rescue Plan — thank you, Congress — to 35 transit agencies spread across 18 states. This funding will help communities employ more transit workers and keep transit services running.
In addition, as Administrator Regan shared, today our EPA is issuing a proposed rule that will significantly — significantly reduce dangerous emissions from all new heavy-duty trucks and buses.
And again, as the Administrator shared, we are also announcing funding for, yes, one of my favorite topics: electric school buses. Today’s $17 million in grants will complement the $5 billion for clean school buses that we secured — thank you again — in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Our transportation sector has reached a turning point. We are all in the midst of a turning point. We have the technology to transition to a zero-emission fleet. Our administration — together, all of us — is working to make that possibility a reality.
Hopefully none of them catch on fire; those lithium battery fires are nasty, particularly when dealing with a bus full of kids.
But such mundane realities aren’t what Team Biden cares about. It wants you to think the school bus thing is the big issue. Rep Mullin summed up the ridiculousness of it all, saying:
Vice President Kamala Harris and DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg spent the afternoon promoting electric vehicles and Green New Deal policies. Are you kidding me?
The Biden Administration could not be more tone deaf.
— Markwayne Mullin (@RepMullin) March 7, 2022
Indeed. Absurd beyond relief. But that’s who we have in leadership. Ain’t we lucky!