On July 19th, WPSR Executive Director Laura Skelton joined leaders from Environment Washington, Sierra Club, Washington PIRG Foundation, King County Executive Dow Constantine and King County Metro Transit in recognizing the County's commitment to bus electrification by 2040.
We know that transit electrification yields immediate health and climate benefits, and we're grateful for the County's leadership. See Laura's remarks below:
I’m here on behalf of hundreds of physicians, nurses, and other health professionals in WA Physicians for Social Responsibility who recognize climate change as a growing health crisis. One of the best ways we can take care of people and patients is to champion policies that fight climate change and ensure a livable environment.
King County's electrification of public transit is an important means both of addressing climate change and protecting health. Transitioning to electric vehicles will help our communities realize immediate health benefits.
Pollution from vehicle exhaust has been linked to cancers, respiratory ailments, cardiovascular disease, and premature death. Diesel exhaust accounts for 78% of the potential cancer risk from all air toxics in the Puget Sound area – and a third of that diesel exhaust comes from on-road vehicles.
Instead of diesel, let’s go electric!
Bus electrification will especially help protect the more than 600,000 Washingtonians who suffer from asthma. Not surprisingly, asthma rates and other respiratory ailments are higher in communities along heavy transit corridors.
Because low-income residents and communities of color are more likely to live along these corridors, they bear a disproportionate burden of the consequences of our fossil fuel use.
To fight this injustice, let’s go electric!
Moving to electric buses will immediately result in cleaner air, protecting some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. It will also protect health long-term, by mitigating further climate change. This is truly a win-win.
We are grateful for King County’s leadership in transit electrification. In order to protect our climate and the health of Washingtonians, we hope that more communities will follow King County's lead. Let’s go electric!