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Bronx Lawmakers, Union Leaders, and Advocates Call on Gov to Fund Bronx Blooms, Not Fumes!

Assembly Members Jeffrey Dinowtiz and Karines Reyes, and Senator Sepúlveda rallied with union leaders, community members, and advocates to urge Governor Hochul to include the Green Transit, Green Jobs, Bill in Budget


Nydia Gutiérrez,

Today, Assembly Members Dinowtiz and Reyes, Senator Sepúlveda, labor leaders, and advocates gathered in scattered spring rain to call on Governor Hochul to include the Green Transit, Green Jobs bill (S.6089/A.6414) in the SFY 2025 Final Budget. The bill mandates that public bus systems convert to zero-emission buses and incentivizes the manufacture of electric buses in New York’s high-need communities.

It would also bolster the state’s struggling manufacturing sector by ensuring a just and fair transition for impacted workers including good, family-sustaining jobs. Provisions such as these would allow the Bronx and communities across the state to benefit from the blooming zero-emission bus industry and combat the fumes that disproportionately spew from diesel buses in the area. Attendees dawned face masks and held wilted flowers to symbolize the detrimental impacts diesel fumes have on the area’s human and natural inhabitants.

“In 2019, I championed the enactment of New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, recognizing the imperative of aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets to combat our climate crisis,” said Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz. “My Green Transit, Green Jobs bill mandates the transition to zero-emission buses in public transportation systems, safeguarding collective bargaining rights and offering workforce training. This initiative is essential in achieving our ambitious climate goals by shifting away from traditional buses emitting harmful pollutants to energy-efficient zero-emission alternatives.”

“The reality is, we are really struggling to breathe here in the Bronx,” said Assembly Member Karines Reyes. We have some of the highest asthma rates in the country. This bus depot, while providing us with much-needed public transportation, is also a source of fumes that asphyxiate the community around it. We need solutions that not only address the health needs of the Bronx, New York, our country, and the globe but also provide the type of employment in the future that the community is looking for. I think this bill is a great first step and we need to fight for it to be included in the budget.”

“If we’re going to truly address our climate crisis, we need collective action and a substantial investment in public infrastructure,” said Senator Tim Kennedy, Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. “By incentivizing our state’s transportation transition to zero-emission vehicles, we’re actively working to meet our ambitious environmental goals and invest in our workforce.”

“As we stand on the threshold of a greener future for New York, the Green Transit, Green Jobs Bill represents not just a commitment to combating climate change, but a pledge to our workforce and communities,” said Senator Luis Sepúlveda. “It’s about ensuring that as we move towards a zero-emission future, we’re also creating a just, equitable path for those whose livelihoods are intertwined with the transition. This bill is our promise to not leave any New Yorkers behind as we embrace the green economy.”

With the state budget due to be finalized next month, action is needed now to clean the air in New York’s neighborhoods while providing good green manufacturing jobs. The transportation sector accounts for 41% of all fuel combustion emissions in the state. These planet-heating gasses drive climate change and cause high levels of tailpipe pollution that account for more than 2,000 premature deaths in New York each year.

Emissions from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, especially transit buses, have an outsized impact on poor air quality and negative public health outcomes in the Bronx. The Bronx has some of the worst air pollution in the nation, with an estimated 20 percent of children suffering from asthma in some Bronx neighborhoods. The borough received an “F” in the American Lung Association’s latest State of the Air Report for high ozone days, and the asthma rate in the South Bronx is eight to twelve times higher than the national average, leading to its nickname of “Asthma Alley.” Buses and other medium- and heavy-duty vehicles are a leading contributor to this crippling pollution, making legislation like Green Transit, Green Jobs a crucial tool in protecting Bronx residents’ health.

“We along with our allies and elected officials are calling on Gov Hochul to pass the Green Transit Green Jobs bill, New Yorkers can and will fight climate change while also fighting corporate greed,” said Brandon Mancilla, UAW Region 9A Director.

“Each budget season, New York’s leadership has a unique opportunity to show the state, the country, and the world how to invest in a healthy, prosperous future for constituents,” said Brynn Fuller-Becker, Communications & Advocacy Manager for New Yorkers for Clean Power. “While the Governor’s existing funding could provide some tangible benefits to our transportation system, it is far past time that she recognizes the necessary funding that our ailing climate, struggling manufacturing sector, and significant environmental justice crises necessitate. It’s time for common sense investment in clean transportation and solid jobs by including Green Transit, Green Jobs in her final budget”.

“New York State can lead the way by making sure that government spending contributes to a just and fair transition to a green economy,” said Christopher Erikson, Business Manager of Local Union No. 3, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. “We encourage the passage of ‘Green Transit, Green Jobs’ in the budget to support the State’s commitment to tackling the climate crisis and growing good union careers in the renewable industry, and to further demonstrate New York’s leadership in addressing this critical issue.”

“As a Bronx resident and Bronx Community College student, I know firsthand how badly the Bronx is impacted by air pollution,” said NYPIRG student Jebril Mohammed. “Personally, I’ve had a cough for six months now that won’t go away – I know that getting rid of toxic bus emissions would be good for me and my community. Many BCC students depend on the bus to get to campus and across town, they deserve better AND cleaner service. That’s why I’m calling on Governor Hochul and Speaker Heastie to include the Green Transit, Green Jobs bill in the state budget.”

“Through this bill and the inclusion of the US Jobs Plan – a robust good jobs and equity tool – we can ensure a just and fair transition that ensures good jobs, training, and manufacturing opportunities for workers and communities in this growing green economy sector,” said Mo-Yain Tham, NY Policy Manager at Jobs to Move America. “By including this bill in the budget, New York can demonstrate its leadership and commitment to tackling climate change while encouraging the growth of good jobs”.

“Our communities rely on public transit and are most impacted by bus tailpipe emissions due to the siting of depots and the routes buses travel. Including the Green Transit, Green Jobs bill in the final budget will help Governor Hochul move New York one step closer to achieving our climate mandates,” said Kevin Garcia, the Senior Transportation Planner for the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance. “The Green Transit, Green Jobs bill can push New York beyond the confines of outdated transportation norms, improve air quality, and help us reach our climate targets.”


Last year, Governor Hochul announced a $100 million commitment for zero-emissions school buses to be made available from the $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022. Like school buses, transit buses run on diesel fuel, an even more potent source of toxic particulate matter than gasoline. On a ton-for-ton basis, buses in the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area alone had health damages at $4 million for every ton of particulate matter emitted. Of the roughly 200 million miles New York’s transit buses travel each year, only .2% are currently powered by electricity.

The Green Transit, Green Jobs bill would require that all new buses purchased by New York public transit authorities be electric by 2029. It would keep the state in line with its Scoping Plan to reach net zero emissions, with the E3 Pathways Analysis calling for 60-70% of all new bus sales to be zero emissions by 2030. Eliminating tailpipe emissions would also improve air quality and provide public health benefits for all New Yorkers, especially those who ride, drive, or live near bus routes and depots.

Passage of the bill would also codify the transition of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) bus fleet to zero-emissions buses, which could create over 6,100 direct and 21,500 indirect jobs in the bus manufacturing sector alone. In August, seven labor unions representing tens of thousands of New Yorkers, including SMART, IBEW, SEIU Local 246, CWA District 1, IUE-CWA, UAW Region 9, and UAW Region 9A, signed a letter to the Governor encouraging her to include the bill in her Executive Budget.

The Green Transit, Green Jobs press conference at West Farms Bus Depot in the Bronx.
The Green Transit, Green Jobs press conference at West Farms Bus Depot in the Bronx. (Aristide Economopoulos for Earthjustice)

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