Warner

Warner answered questions about the enormous infrastructure bill recently passed by the U.S. Senate.

On a four-day tour throughout the Commonwealth, US Senator Mark Warner made a stop at Sonny Merryman – Virginia’s Bus Company – near Lynchburg, VA to talk about the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed by the Senate earlier this month. The plan includes $5 billion for electric and low-emissions school buses and would also allocate to Virginia at least $106 million over five years to support the expansion of an electric vehicle charging network. 

“The future of human mobility is electric and low-carbon vehicles. There is no better part of our fleet to start this transformation than school buses,” said Warner. 

The Thomas Jouley electric school bus, powered by industry-leading battery manufacturer Proterra – is emissions-free, noise pollution-free, and fossil fuel-free. As the state’s leader in electric school bus deployment, Sonny Merryman delivered 50 Jouley electric school buses to 15 Virginia localities during the 2020-21 school year through the Dominion Energy Electric School Bus Program. With the recently announced Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Clean School Bus Program funding and the American Power electric school bus program, Sonny Merryman will be delivering more than 40 Jouley electric school during the 2021-22 school year to Virginia localities. 

In addition to US Senator Warner, guests for the event also included local government officials, school division administration and transportation teams, utility and infrastructure partners, clean energy associations, and another noteworthy speaker, Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. 

“What is taking place with electric school buses is transforming our world for our children. These are transformational investments that are needed. To achieve this, it takes all of us – citizens, utilities, business and industry leaders, and bi-partisan policy-makers.” 

In addition to electric school buses and the electric vehicle charging network, Senator Warner commented the bill would bring critical improvements to the country’s infrastructure, including affordable high-speed broadband, clean water, and other transportation investments. 

“This bill got 69 votes in the US Senate. Now we’ve got to hope it gets through the house as quickly as possible so we can get it on the President’s desk – signed – and start implementing these changes to keep Virginia competitive and to make sure we make that switch to sustainable mobility.” 

When asked about future investments in electric vehicles, Warner said future steps might include additional tax credits for electric vehicle owners, and investments in other green technologies like solar and wind energy.