Bulletins

The Biden administration wants to electrify city and school buses

The programs are funded mostly with money from the American Rescue Plan and Bipartisan Infrastructure bill.

A row of school buses.

Vice President Kamala Harris announced big public transit electrification news on Monday.

Photo: Megan Lee/Unsplash

The electrified future of transportation is coming to city and school buses across the U.S. On Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris announced billions in funding for programs that will reduce carbon emissions from public transit, one of the best ways to help the U.S. get on track to meet its climate goals.


The new initiatives and funding are largely tied to cash in the bipartisan infrastructure bill. The Department of Transportation is overseeing most of the new funding. The Low- or No-Emission Transit Vehicle Program is getting a $1.1 billion chunk of change for 2022. The money will go to public transit agencies and states looking to upgrade their fleets to electric vehicles or ones that run on relatively cleaner fuel, such as compressed natural gas or propane. This is complemented by an additional $372 million investment coming from the existing Bus and Bus Facilities program budget.

The administration is also distributing $2.2 billion from the American Rescue Plan to 35 transit agencies in 18 states in order to train transit workers to maintain new fleets and keep transit running during the transition. An additional $7 million will be allocated to the Environmental Protection to replace polluting diesel school buses with electric ones.

Transportation is the largest source of carbon emissions in the U.S., so any effort to clean it up is a huge win. The slew of programs is a big step toward the administration’s stated goals of addressing climate change by reducing carbon emissions. But the bipartisan infrastructure law could end up being a one step forward, two steps back approach. The law also includes major money for expanding roads. Because of that, an analysis by the Georgetown Climate Center found that the law may actually increase baseline carbon emissions 1.6% over the course of this decade.

That sounds like a relatively small increase, but the Biden administration has pledged to cut U.S. carbon emissions at least 50% by 2030, meaning every fraction of a percent matters. The administration has also run into other challenges around cleaning up transportation, including its own backyard. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy moved forward electrifying just 10% of the Postal Service fleet last month, against the administration’s recommendation.

And while electrifying personal vehicles is a big plus, electrifying public transit could pay even greater dividends. In addition to reducing carbon emissions, investing in more robust electrified public transit options can reduce congestion and improve safety for pedestrians. A 2020 report from the public transit advocacy group Transit Center found that addressing the "fundamental scarcity" of transit options for most people should be a central role of federal policy. That same report calls for $50 billion per year for public transit funding (it was at $13 billion at the time it was published), so there's still a lot more work to be done.

Latest Bulletins

Tesla is pushing for changes to Texas’ energy market rules that would allow anyone with solar panels or battery storage to essentially sell excess power back to the grid. The company wants residential owners to be able to participate in the market, including, of course, owners of Tesla's residential products, like its Powerwall.

Tesla is framing its ask as a bid to insulate the Texas grid from the kinds of demand spikes that have caused major blackouts in the past: a gesture of good corporate citizenship, if you will. It doesn’t hurt that it would come with the added benefit of making Tesla’s products even more attractive.

Keep Reading Show less

LAS VEGAS - The software industry is in the midst of a tumultuous time. But at ServiceNow, CEO Bill McDermott is nothing but optimistic about the vendor’s outlook.

Keep Reading Show less

ClickUp laid off 7% of its staff on Monday morning, in a move that was called “unexpected” by several laid-off employees on LinkedIn. CEO Zeb Evans told Protocol the goal was to ensure ClickUp’s profitability and efficiency in the future.

"Yesterday, we made restructuring changes to optimize our business for utmost efficiency," Evans said. "In doing so, this puts us in a position to accelerate our timeline to profitability and ultimately achieve our goal of going public. We are by no means slowing down or pausing hiring, as we plan to hire 250 people this year and 300 more next year."

Keep Reading Show less

Ousted WeWork founder Adam Neumann is moving into crypto.

Flowcarbon, which counts Neumann and his wife Rebekah as co-founders, said Tuesday it has raised $70 million combined in venture funding, led by Andreessen Horowitz's crypto fund, and a token sale. The startup hopes to sell tokenized carbon credits on the blockchain.

Keep Reading Show less

A recent report from Andreessen Horowitz illustrates a sad state of affairs for the fintech industry, which has gotten clobbered in the tech-stocks downdraft. A chart included in the report shows fintech valuations in sharper decline than any other sector, by a significant margin.

Keep Reading Show less

Netflix is setting its sights on gaming beyond mobile, if a survey sent to subscribers this week is any indication. In the survey, the company asked respondents at length about their own gaming habits as well as their familiarity with a variety of game subscription services, including Xbox Game Pass, PlayStation Plus and Apple Arcade.

Keep Reading Show less

A California judge ruled that the sexual harassment case against Tesla can continue in court, despite the fact that the worker who brought the case had previously signed an arbitration agreement giving up her right to sue.

Keep Reading Show less

Startups that soared throughout the pandemic are now feeling the crunch, and on-demand grocery company Gorillas is the latest victim. The company announced Tuesday that it's laying off half its corporate staff, or about 300 employees around the world.

Keep Reading Show less

Netflix is releasing three new games Tuesday and plans to release Exploding Kittens, its most high-profile original game, on May 31, the company announced on Tuesday. Netflix says its catalog now includes 22 games in total.

Keep Reading Show less

Barely more than two weeks after it agreed to stop selling its existing collection of face prints to private entities, facial recognition firm Clearview AI has a brand new plan to sell its software to private companies instead.

Keep Reading Show less

LGBTQ+ workers are generally less satisfied with their employers than their straight, cisgender colleagues are, according to a new report from Glassdoor. But some companies are more popular with their LGBTQ+ employees than others.

Keep Reading Show less

Last year saw a notable jump in ransomware attacks that included exfiltration of data as a component, highlighting an ongoing shift in the way the attacks are monetized, according to Verizon's major annual breach report.

Keep Reading Show less

Snap is the latest tech giant to join The Great Hunkering Down. Like other social media companies that flourished during lockdown, the company is struggling to meet earnings estimates and will slow hiring.

Keep Reading Show less

Spotify stopped hosting political ads on its services in early 2020, citing a lack of “robustness” in its systems, ahead of what turned out to be the ugliest U.S. election in recent history.

Two years later, as the midterm primaries get going, the company is courting political advertisers once again, according to a company presentation and marketing email viewed by Protocol.

Keep Reading Show less

Quality assurance testers at Call of Duty studio Raven Software have voted overwhelmingly to form a union with the Communications Workers of America, marking a historic labor victory for the video game industry. The vote, with the Milwaukee office of the National Labor Relations Board, was 19-3.

Keep Reading Show less

Federal labor prosecutors in California plan to file a complaint against Activision Blizzard for illegally threatening workers if the company doesn't agree to a settlement, according to National Labor Relations Board spokesperson Kayla Blado.

Keep Reading Show less

Swedish "buy now, pay later" company Klarna is laying off 10% of its workforce, CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski told staff via a pre-recorded video call Monday. Interest in pay-later products has sagged somewhat as consumers have felt more financially strapped and advocates in the U.S. began investigating the deferred payment plans last year. Klarna has reportedly been looking for more funding, potentially at a lower valuation.

Keep Reading Show less

The New York State Common Retirement Fund, one of the nation’s largest pension funds, announced that it will vote to remove all of Twitter’s directors at this week’s annual shareholder meeting. The vote against the directors is unlikely to result in change, but it shows mounting institutional pressure for Twitter to resist Elon Musk’s vision for relaxed content moderation policies.

Keep Reading Show less

Apple is looking to boost global production outside of China as the country’s "zero-COVID" strategy cripples production facilities, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The strict lockdown, which has been described by the WHO as "not sustainable," has shut down large cities, including Shanghai, as the highly infectious omicron variant spreads.

Keep Reading Show less

As the Supreme Court weighs whether to block Texas' social media "censorship" law, a court of appeals has decided to uphold the injunction on a similar Florida law, finding that social media companies "are 'private actors' whose rights the First Amendment protects."

Keep Reading Show less

GameStop is all about Web3: The company announced on Monday that it will launch a digital wallet for crypto and NFTs.

The GameStop wallet can be used across apps without users needing to leave their browsers, the company said in a statement. The self-custodial Ethereum wallet gives users access to the keys to their digital assets rather than trusting them with a third party, and is available for download as an extension on Google Chrome's web store as well as on web browser Brave. The wallet will also be available as an iPhone app down the line, according to the GameStop wallet website. The wallet uses Loopring for transactions, a Layer 2 solution that's meant to lower transaction fees.

Keep Reading Show less

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine is suing Mark Zuckerberg, alleging the Meta CEO was responsible for decisions that opened the door for the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Keep Reading Show less

The U.K.'s Information Commissioner’s Office, the country's privacy watchdog, has ordered facial recognition company Clearview AI to delete all data belonging to the country's residents.

Keep Reading Show less

Meta will finally give researchers access to targeting data for political ads — information that academics have been clamoring for and using legally risky workarounds to collect on their own for years.

Keep Reading Show less

Coinbase just celebrated its 10th birthday. And the crypto powerhouse marked the milestone on a defiant note, with a snarky TV ad clapping back at crypto bashers.

Keep Reading Show less
Bulletins