State lawmakers and environemtnal groups on Wednesday called for the approval of a pair of bills meant to expand fleets of buses by mass transit agencies that emit zero emissions over the next decade.
The bills come as New York state in the coming decades is being tasked with sharp reductions in its carbon footrpint and greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades, with benchmark reductions required every several years.
The measures would require mass transit systems to purchase zero-emissions buses by 2029 and encourage them to enter into "best value" contracting framework to build the infrastructure to support the transit system.
“It’s time we move beyond the outdated and flawed presumption that we have to choose between helping the climate and supporting our economy," said Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz, a Bronx Democrat.
"With the Green Transit, Green Jobs proposal, New York State can demonstrate to the entire nation that investing in sustainable infrastructure is not only good for our climate but is good for workers and communities too. The wheels of progress move slowly, but it is imperative that we continue taking tangible steps towards the climate goals we established in 2019.”
The majority of the mass transit buses in New York are used by the MTA, but there are also a dozen mass transit systems in New York that have a fleet of at least 25 buses.
The legislation also mirrors efforts underway by the MTA and the Capital District Transportation Authority as well as the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority to convert to a zero-emissions bus fleet in the coming years.
“This legislative package not only underscores New York's commitment to developing innovative approaches that advance our state’s progressive agenda, but it also demonstrates our dedication to creating sustainable, high quality transportation networks and a greener, more environmentally-just New York,” said Sen. Tim Kennedy, a Buffalo Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. “Together, we have an opportunity to build upon the historic Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, and invest in our economy and our future long-term.”
The effort also has the backing of the state's leading environmental groups who are closely watch the emissions reductions efforts underway.
“Meeting the goals set last year by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act will require significant changes to all sectors of the economy," said Rachel Patterson, the legisaltive and climate association of the Environmental Advocates of NY.
"With transportation as the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the state, we must take steps to electrify our public transportation systems. The Green Transit, Greens Jobs bills do just that by addressing the need to update public transportation systems across the state, while ensuring that jobs are localized so that communities benefit from the cleaner air and good paying jobs.”