Undergraduate Student Government senators Noah Silver, Preston Fregia and Katie Bolton proposed the Zero Emissions Bus Fleet Resolution Tuesday night to shift USC bus leases away from diesel-fueled buses.
“Los Angeles is one of worst cities in the United States in terms of air quality, and we want to play a part in improving this situation,” Silver said.
The senators’ motion to remove diesel buses comes almost seven years after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or Metro, retired its final diesel-powered buses from service.
Silver said he believes that USC must take action to advance alongside this trend. According to National Geographic, Los Angeles ranks as the worst city in terms of ozone pollution in the last 13 years.
USC Transportation had originally proposed implementing electric buses for USC’s 2020 sustainability plan, but the proposal was rejected due to cost concerns, according to Silver.
“The University is concerned with the cost, but this resolution is progress and progress is always expensive,” Silver said.
Bolton spoke about the long-term benefits of the proposal, saying that it will be cost-effective after sufficient time.
“It is worthwhile because it pays dividends forever,” Bolton said. “Cleaner air, reduced carbon footprint and decreased fuel costs justify it as a long-term investment.”
According to Silver, USC would potentially be able to transition from diesel-fueled buses to zero-emissions buses without extreme costs because the buses are leased, and instead of purchasing new buses, the University could end the lease with the current bus provider.
Bolton explained that the proposal includes a clause that grants USG authority to monitor the progress of its implementation in future years.
“It would be easy for the administration to set this aside in future years and forget about it when current USG members graduate,” Bolton said. “We added a clause that says that the University will report back yearly on the progress of its implementation.”
The resolution will be voted on at next Tuesday’s USG meeting.
“If USC wants to be seen as a leader in sustainability, this is an important step in right direction,” Silver said.