Advocates Call on NYS to Electrify All Public Transit Buses by 2040

For Immediate ReleaseMonday, December 9, 2019

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Advocates Call on New York State to Electrify All Public Transit Buses by 2040

Transportation and Environmental Justice Advocates Call on Governor Cuomo to Mandate Every Public Bus in New York Transition to Zero-Emissions, All-Electric Fleet by 2040

Brooklyn, NY – Standing under one of the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (MTA) overhead electric bus chargers on Monday, December 9th, advocates called on Governor Cuomo to require every transit agency in New York to electrify their bus fleets by 2040.

Advocates argued that New York State must act quickly and aggressively to meet its pollution reduction mandates, including an interim target for transportation emissions reductions to make certain we can meet our goal of decarbonization by 2050. Electrifying transit is a critical first piece in meeting these goals--and, activists argued, the time to commit to the transition is now.

Currently, transportation accounts for more than thirty percent of greenhouse gas emissions in New York State. Tailpipe pollution is also a prime contributor to unhealthy levels of smog and soot in our air. At the end of 2018, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted the California Innovative Clean Transit Rule, which directs transit agencies in the state to ensure that all public transit vehicles in the state will be zero emissions by 2040. Last year, New York made significant progress when the MTA, the single largest purchaser of buses in North America, committed to transition their nearly 6,000 buses to a zero-emissions fleet by 2040. More broadly, the passage of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) established New York as a global climate leader.

By using good jobs and equity policies like the U.S. Employment Plan, advocates argued that New York can harness bus electrification to create good bus manufacturing jobs, ensure a just transition for frontline workers, and advance racial and gender equity by investing in training opportunities for women, people of color, veterans, and other marginalized New Yorkers.

Advocates emphasized how important it is for states to step up in the fight against climate change and air pollution in the face of Trump Administration attempts to roll back national clean vehicle standards.

Thus, advocates called on New York State to join with California to reduce transit vehicle emissions and lead the national effort to create a zero-emissions bus market.

Lauren Bailey, Director of Climate Policy for Tri-State Transportation Campaign, said, “The transportation sector is the source of approximately 35 percent of New York’s greenhouse gas emissions and growing. Meeting our climate goals requires bold movement statewide, and that’s why we support this historic action. For New York to maintain its role as a global climate leader, there’s still a tremendous amount of work to be done by the state to counter this trend. With this commitment and proper investment in transit through the Transportation and Climate Initiative, New York State will be able to do right by its citizens.”

Renae Reynolds, Transportation Planner for New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, said “New York City’s environmental justice communities are most impacted by tailpipe pollution from dirty diesel buses, due to the prevalence of bus depots in our neighborhoods and the oldest diesel buses being deployed in our streets. Electrifying transit is critical to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and reach our statewide climate goals. We want to see our State leadership commit to a zero-emission, all-electric vehicle transition to clean our air, and improve public health in environmental justice communities"

Miranda Nelson, NY/NJ Director with Jobs to Move America, said, "New Yorkers know a good deal when they see one. And using our public dollars to electrify bus fleets is the best kind of deal for workers, communities, and our climate. If New York gets the policy right, our transition to electric buses can create good, family-supporting manufacturing jobs in communities that need them most. Now is the time for our public officials to step up and use our public dollars to do the most public good."

"Governor Cuomo's leadership on transportation is critical to achieving the historic climate goals that New York passed this year, and we need New York to live up to our legacy of climate leadership by committing to motor vehicle emissions reductions of at least 55% by 2035," said Allison Considine, New York Campaign Representative with the Sierra Club. "Electrifying all public transit buses is a key policy to achieve that goal and to ensure we're building a clean transportation system that works for all."

Conor Bambrick, Air & Energy Director for Environmental Advocates of New York said, “If we are serious about meeting the climate goals laid out by science and enshrined in New York’s new climate law, electrifying every public transit bus across the state is a no-brainer. This is the type of climate leadership New Yorkers need from Governor Cuomo as we work to implement the new law.”

Riders Alliance Policy and Communications Director Danny Pearlstein said, "Congestion pricing and the next MTA capital plan are crucial next steps by which New York will reduce carbon, diesel, and particulate emissions. The Riders Alliance supports taking those reductions beyond the city as well. Electric buses, along with reduced driving through congestion pricing and better public transit, will help transition our city and state toward the post-carbon future we need. And while electric buses are rolling out, we also need effective buses for riders. More funding for more frequent service and faster trips through bus priority lanes are essential elements of a robust network of buses worth riding for all New Yorkers."

“With more than 30 percent of New York State emissions coming from transportation, the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s commitment to an all-electric bus fleet is an example to follow – one that will reduce pollution and improve New Yorkers’ health,” said Elizabeth Stein, Senior Manager and Senior Attorney at Environmental Defense Fund. “Gov. Cuomo should build on this momentum by requiring every transit agency throughout The Empire State to adopt zero-emission bus fleets, which would go a long way to improve air quality, protect vulnerable communities, and propel progress toward cutting pollution nationwide.”

“It’s a credit to the Governor, Legislature and MTA that New York is the first in the nation to adopt congestion pricing, which will demonstrably reduce the state and city’s carbon footprint and contribution to asthma-causing air pollution,” said Alex Matthiessen, Director of Move NY. “Now we need the Governor to build on his legacy of road pricing and climate action by mandating an all-electric fleet of transit buses across the state by 2040 – and by doing so, further cement New York’s reputation as a climate and environmental leader.”

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CONTACTS:

Nick Sifuentes: 212-715-8761, nsifuentes@tstc.org

Lauren Bailey: 607-821-8231, lauren@tstc.org

Brian Keegan: 518-462-5526, x238; bkeegan@eany.org