James, Crespo unveil groundbreaking eco-friendly truck program

James, Crespo unveil groundbreaking eco-friendly truck program
Attourney General Letita James and Assemblyman marcos Crespo inside one of the eco-friendly trucks.
Veronica Feliciano

Here’s a breath of fresh air for the Bronx. Attorney General Letitia James unveiled the first-of-its-kind fleet of all-electric, zero-emission, delivery trucks that will be used by the New York Botanical Garden, Bronx Zoo, Sustainable South Bronx and other local non-profit organizations on Wednesday, April 17.

Some units of the new, eco-friendly and battery-powered truck fleet were on display outside the Hunts Point Produce Market, right where James made the announcement alongside Assemblyman Marcos Crespo and many others involved in what she called a groundbreaking initiative.

The specially designed Mitsubishi Fuso trucks are so quiet that they only make a specifically designed, slight noise for traffic safety purposes.

“The dirty diesel trucks that crowd our streets are a major source of our city’s worst local air pollution,” James said as a line of the trucks boisterously cut her off while pulling into the market.

“Perfect timing,” the attorney general joked.

She had negotiated two-year leases for the specialty fleet with Milea Truck of 885 E. 149th Street. Given the vehicles’ unique nature, these big hauls aren’t sold commercially, rather only given special leases with environmentally-conscious non-profits, according to Steven Dorn of Milea Truck.

Dorn also explained that due to the emerging and vibrant eco-technology, the trucks in this fleet will likely be obsoleted and replaced when the two year lease expiries.

During the lease period, the attorney general’s office will study the performance of the electric trucks deployed in the project, documenting their utility and performance.

The fleet of all-electric trucks are designed to eliminate vehicle emissions of all air pollutants, including soot which is a known contributor to asthma, a respiratory condition the south Bronx knows all too well.

Crespo spoke about bettering the respiratory health of the south Bronx, a place where residents are victim to inhaling truck exhaust emanating from the industrial Hunts Point area.

“For many years, communities like the south Bronx have been unfairly exposed to negative environmental impacts” he said.

Over 20 trucks passed by the market during the brief press conference, to put it in perspective.

“Moreover [these communities are] are treated negatively by policies and leaders who completely ignored the ramifications and effects of poor air quality on generations of Bronx residents,” Crespo continued while commending the Jame’s initiative.

The use of these trucks over traditional diesel-fueled types directly addresses the soot problem across the borough as well as the entire city, according to James.

Other citywide participating non-profits in the environmentally friendly truck program are Big Reuse, GrowNYC and Habitat for Humanity New York City.

After James hopped in one of the trucks with Crespo to check out its specs firsthand, she told the Bronx Times some of her other environmental initiatives for the borough.

“We need to utilize more open space for parks,” James said.

The attorney general explained that expanding the use of green roofs is also pivotal, just like expanding the use electric trucks.

Allocating the proper city and state funding to make the Bronx greener is also at the top of her list.

“We also have to fix the MTA so we can get cars off the road,” James said.

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