IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

San Diego Gains More Electric Vehicles With $9.6M Grant

Fourteen schools in the San Diego Unified School District will receive electric school buses and more thanks to a $9.6 million grant. The grant is intended to improve local air quality.

(TNS) — A $9.6 million grant will pay for electric school buses, electric bikes, food delivery trucks, golf carts and other emission-free equipment in an effort to improve air quality for schools in southeastern San Diego.

The grant announced Monday comes from the California Air Resources Board, which says it has provided more than $1 billion over the past two decades to replace diesel school buses with emission-free electric buses.

The grant will pay for 13 electric school buses, four of which are already in use, as well as an electric van, vehicle charging stations, and several electric landscaping tools such as lawn mowers and trimmers. The grant will also pay for electric bikes that some high school students and school staff can use to commute to school.

The new vehicles, chargers and landscaping equipment will benefit the 14 schools in the San Diego Unified School District in the Lincoln High School cluster, which has a high proportion of Latino and Black students and students from low-income families.

The Lincoln cluster also contains high levels of pollution, according to the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. The state office calculates pollution burden scores for census tracts based on a number of factors, including diesel emissions, ozone, traffic, toxic releases and dump sites.

The Chollas View neighborhood near Lincoln High School has some of the worst air quality in San Diego County. Chollas View, which includes Lincoln's feeder school Millennial Tech Middle, scored in the 91 percentile for pollution.

The worst pollution percentile scores in the city of San Diego are in Barrio Logan, Logan Heights and nearby Southcrest. Barrio Logan and Logan Heights, which have been part of the San Diego High cluster of schools, have long had industrial businesses stacked across the street from residential homes and are surrounded by two interstate freeways. Barrio Logan, Logan Heights and the western half of Southcrest scored in the 97, 96 and 98 percentiles for pollution, respectively.

Latino and Black residents are far more likely to live in heavily polluted neighborhoods, while White people are more likely to live in neighborhoods with the least pollution, according to a 2021 study by the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. People of color make up 91 percent of those who live in neighborhoods with the worst air quality, according to the study.

“Every community deserves clean air and this Clean Mobility in Schools Program is one of the most comprehensive electric mobility programs of its kind for a school district,” said San Diego Unified School Board President Sharon Whitehurst-Payne in a statement Monday announcing the $9.6 million grant. “This program not only benefits our students but the communities these vehicles serve.”

©2022 The San Diego Union-Tribune. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.