It’s electric! Dinowitz introduces green bills for NY buses and public transit jobs

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz proposed bus bills for a greener New York
Photo by Jason Cohen

Bronx Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz is envisioning a greener future for the roads of New York.

He, along with Buffalo State Senator Tim Kennedy, who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, introduced two laws as part of a proposal called “Green Transit, Green Jobs” that would reshape public automotive travel in New York by harnessing electric energy while creating jobs in the process.

One of the two bills would require all new transit bus purchases starting in 2029 to be primarily electric, zero-emission vessels while the second would create contracting incentives for public transit agencies to contract these buses from manufacturers employ from” high-need communities” within the state.

“It’s time we move beyond the outdated and flawed presumption that we have to choose between helping the climate and supporting our economy,” Dinowitz said, adding that with the proposal, New York can nationally demonstrate 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,” he said in reference to environmental legislation passed in the state.

From this proposal, the New York State Department of Transportation would be tasked with considering the purchase of zero emissions buses from its five-year capital plans while the bill is said to also aid in coordination of non-MTA transit agencies on the purchasing, installation and sharing of services.

The timeline included in this bill also mirrors a commitment that the MTA has already made to purchase only electric buses starting in 2029.

According to the bill, experts estimate that improved health from switching entirely to electric buses results in savings of approximately $150,000 per bus or $100 per New York City resident.

The legislation also cites that other major cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago have put forward similar commitments in the development of new employment “that created hundreds of high-quality, unionized jobs.”

Those programs included a 40 percent of a factory workforce from traditionally under-represented groups in manufacturing as well as the development of an apprenticeship program that prioritizes low-income workers, people of color, women, returning citizens and veterans.

Kennedy described the legislative package as one underscoring “New York’s commitment to developing innovative approaches that advance our state’s progressive agenda,” adding, “it also demonstrates our dedication to creating sustainable, high quality transportation networks and a greener, more environmentally-just New York.”

Statewide, there are approximately 8,500 transit buses in New York while 5,800 of those are controlled by the MTA.

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