Two senior U.S. Senate Democrats on Tuesday proposed spending $73 billion to electrify the nation’s 70,000 transit buses as part of a push to move the United States toward zero-emission transportation.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Banking Chairman Sherrod Brown noted that only 2% of U.S. buses were zero-emission vehicles. They propose using funds to buy electric transit buses and vans and other vehicles and for related infrastructure costs.

The plan calls for “100% zero emission vehicles.” A fact sheet did not specify a date to phase out diesel-powered buses but prioritized funding for areas with the poorest air quality.

The senators said the average cost of a battery electric bus was between $850,000 and $900,000 and that hydrogen fuel cell buses averaged $1 million or more.

“Significantly increasing the size of orders for zero-emissions buses will lead to major reductions in prices,” the fact sheet said, adding agencies would save money on operating costs once upfront costs and infrastructure issues are addressed.

Schumer said the plan would replace “dirty, diesel-spewing buses, create new American jobs, help save the planet and protect public health.”

President Joe Biden’s administration, as part of its $2.3 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan, has proposed $25 billion for zero-emission transit vehicles and $20 billion for electrifying school buses as part of a $174 billion EV and infrastructure package.

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