Biden: 'I Want You All to Know I Used to Be a Bus Driver'

Susan Jones | April 21, 2021 | 6:00am EDT
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President Joe Biden participates in a virtual tour of the Proterra electric battery facility in Greenville, S.C. on April 20, 2021. (Photo: Screen capture)
President Joe Biden participates in a virtual tour of the Proterra electric battery facility in Greenville, S.C. on April 20, 2021. (Photo: Screen capture)

( - Following a virtual tour of a South Carolina battery factory on Tuesday, President Joe Biden reminisced about his youth:

"Can I say one thing before we close?" the president asked. "I want you all to know I used to be a bus driver. You think I'm kidding. I'm not. I worked my way through law school driving a school bus. That's what I did for summer school and during the year. That's how I got money to get through law school at Syracuse. A lot of snow, though."

Biden was taking part in a video visit with Proterra, a U.S. manufacturer of electric buses, batteries, and charging infrastructure.

"This is where we build zero-emission, all-electric transit buses," Proterra CEO Jack Allen told the president, also thanking Biden for "your commitment to electrifying commercial vehicles." Biden's infrastructure plan would support American manufacturers like Proterra.

Biden told Allen and his employees, "You're making a big difference, man. And you know, we have a lot to--a lot of catching up to do, but we're going to be in a position where we ought to own the future here. We ought to be the single most significant suppliers of electric buses and vehicles in the world before it's over.

"Right now, we're running way behind China, but you guys are getting us in the game. You guys are getting us in the game. It's going to make a lot of difference," Biden said.

"And just in terms of the health of our children, you know, the--those kids, there's a lot of evidence that, you know, breathing that diesel fuel, a lot of asthma, a lot of, you know, you just--it's not only--not only making it more convenient to ride and making it more smooth and all that, it's just going to--it's going to physically change the health of our kids in those yellow school buses getting back and forth to school."

At the beginning of his virtual tour, Biden expressed his "overwhelming confidence in American enterprise."

And as he talked about his plan to build 50,000 vehicle charging stations across the country, he reminisced about his "grandpop."

And you just talked about, you know, you gotta be able to charge these (buses). You know, we used to--my--my--my grandpop years ago--and died a long time ago, but he used to work for a thing called the American Oil Company. And he was with a guy named Blaustein who put in gas stations.

They needed gas stations. People didn't want gas stations around them. They were worried about burying all that--all that gasoline in the ground. And he--that's how he got to--that's how he got involved.

And we need charging stations. That's why in this -- this recovery act that we just passed as well as this jobs bill, we're gonna build 50,000 of those along all our highways we're moving. Because that's gonna change your ability to do the incredible things you can do.

CEO Jack Allen agreed that charging stations are one of the "key elements" for the battery-powered vehicle market.

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