Green Transit, Green Jobs, Proposed Bill Brings Clean Transportation and Good Green Manufacturing Jobs to New York

The win-win legislation jump-starts cleaner air with emissions-free buses and provides green sector jobs; Lawmakers, union leaders, and advocates urge Governor Hochul to Include in 2025 NY Final Budget


Nydia Gutiérrez,

Today, elected officials, labor leaders, and advocates are energizing the call to action for Governor Hochul, urging her 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 maximize the benefits of government spending by ensuring that zero-emission bus purchases not only help reduce carbon emissions in New York State but also contribute to good green job creation. New York State can use the power of public dollars to invest in a fair, climate-safe economy.

With state budget season upon us, due to be finalized by April 2024, state action is needed now to clean the air in New York’s streets and neighborhoods while providing good green manufacturing jobs to communities. The transportation sector accounts for 41% of all fuel combustion emissions in the state. These planet-heating greenhouse gas emissions drive climate change and also cause high levels of air pollution that account for more than 2,000 premature deaths from ingesting toxic pollution from tailpipe emissions each year in New York. The public health damages from vehicle emissions cost the state $21 billion annually.

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.

The Green Transit, Green Jobs bill would require that all new buses purchased by New York public transit authorities be electric by 2029 and would keep the state in line with its Scoping Plan to reach net zero emissions.

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said: “In 2019, New York enacted the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act because we realized only by setting the aggressive goals of reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 85% by 2050 would we be able to address our climate crisis. Enactment of my Green Transit, Green Jobs bill, which requires public transportation systems to transition to zero-emission buses while protecting collective bargaining rights and providing workforce training, will help us reach ambitious climate goals by safely moving us away from traditional buses, which emit carbon dioxide (CO2) and other harmful pollutants, while contributing to the greenhouse effect and global warming, to more energy-efficient zero-emission buses.”

“As demonstrated by UAW members on the picket line last year, the transition to green transit should not come at the expense of the workers who will drive the green economy,” notes Ray Jensen, Assistant Director at UAW Region 9. “The Green Transit, Green Jobs bill equips government agencies with the means to ensure that zero-emission bus manufacturing can pave the way for a middle-class trajectory, fostering the creation of quality products and enhancing transit services.”

“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 Christian Gonzalez, IUE-CWA organizer. “As unions and workers across the spectrum fought to resolve economic inequities and provide a path to a sustainable future, we encourage the passage of the Green Transit, Green Jobs in the budget to support the State’s commitment to tackling climate change and encouraging the growth of good jobs, and to further demonstrate New York’s leadership.”

“As the union that represents workers at a major zero-emission bus manufacturer, we recognize that government spending can support good community-sustaining jobs throughout the country and in New York,” said Warren F. Faust at SMART. “By passing the Green Transit, Green Jobs bill in the budget, New York can lead the way by implementing the US Jobs Plan as a way to support a just and fair transition to a green economy.”

“New York’s climate leadership is renowned throughout the country and world.The Green Transit, Green Jobs legislation is the next step toward moving to a clean energy economy and is win-win-win-win for public health, economic and environmental justice, labor and business”, said Ron Kamen, New York Chapter Director for E2, the Environmental Entrepreneurs, a 10,000+ national non-profit organization that advocates for policies that are good for the environment and the economy. “This legislation creates economic demand for zero emission transportation and in-state manufacturing jobs. The zero emission buses will reduce long-term operating costs and improve air quality, especially in communities that suffer the most from diesel emissions. Lastly, the highly visible public transit buses will inspire everyone with the message that we can create a cleaner, healthier, more sustainable, just, and prosperous future”.

“We thank the organizers for inviting BYD | RIDE to take part in today’s event, which highlights the importance of sustainable transportation especially in winter months,” said Randy Premo, BYD | RIDE Regional Sales Manager, Northeast. “American-made BYD | RIDE Battery electric buses contribute to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, which will have positive environmental impacts and economic benefits for New York residents.

“Through this bill and the inclusion of the US Jobs Plan – a robust good jobs and equity tool – the Green Transit, Green Jobs bill can ensure the State’s market shaping power provides more good jobs, training and manufacturing opportunities for workers and communities,” said Mo-Yain Tham, NY Policy Manager at Jobs to Move America. “As our union partners the UAW, IUE-CWA, and SMART have noted, good union jobs are at stake. New York can maximize the public benefit from purchasing the next generation of zero-emission public transit buses by leading the way with an environmentally just transition that builds a green and fair economy, prioritizes quality jobs, and uplifts labor standards.”

“The transportation sector is one of the biggest sources of emissions in New York. To meet the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act targets, we need to tackle tailpipe emissions and convert our transit agency bus fleets to zero-emissions,” said Kevin Garcia, Transportation Planner for New York City Environmental Justice Alliance. “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. By including this bill in this budget, Governor Hochul and New York will push beyond the confines of outdated transportation norms, improve air quality, and help us reach our climate targets.”

“This initiative marks a crucial step towards a greener New York, not only upgrading buses but shaping a sustainable future for everyone. From 2029, the Green Transit, Green Jobs Bill will require New York’s public transport to go zero-emission, in line with the state’s climate goals. It also promotes fair labor and health, encouraging good employment and training,” said Conor Bambrick, Director of Policy for Environmental Advocates NY. “This bill isn’t just an environmental move; it’s a holistic strategy to reduce emissions, create jobs, and secure a healthier, sustainable future for New Yorkers.”

“It is important that the Green Transit, Green Jobs bill encompasses the benefits for all New Yorkers, including people with disabilities who are too often excluded in the transition to zero-emissions fleets.” said Suhali Méndez, Legislative and Policy Coordinator at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI). “This bill will serve as a leading step toward making buses and paratransit vehicles greener, cleaner, and safer for riders, workers, and communities alike.”

“Green Transit, Green Jobs represents a critical step forward in addressing climate change, enhancing environmental justice, and improving public health across New York,” said Renae Reynolds, Executive Director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “By facilitating the transition to zero-emission buses by transit agencies statewide, this bill will not only reduce emissions stemming from our state’s transportation sector but will safeguard the health and livelihoods of those living in particularly vulnerable communities disproportionately affected by pollution.”

“The future is now, and it’s electric! With rapidly maturing zero-emissions technology and the promise of supporting good manufacturing jobs, the Green Transit, Green Jobs bill is a win for communities, workers, and our environment,” said Alok Disa, Senior Research and Policy Analyst at Earthjustice. “Transportation accounts for over 40% of New York’s toxic air pollution, causing health harms like heart and lung disease and premature deaths. Our work in creating a zero-emissions transportation sector is far from over. It remains vitally urgent for New York State to step in and put an end to combustion emissions, which is why we are calling upon Governor Hochul to include the Green Transit, Green Jobs bill in her 2025 Final Budget.”

“In the wake of unprecedented climate disasters and with the imminent roll-out of Governor Hochul’s signature cap-and-invest program, the Governor must seize every opportunity to affordably curb climate and health-destroying pollution from fossil fuels,” said Anshul Gupta, Policy & Research Director for New Yorkers for Clean Power. “The least-cost emissions reductions are those that can be achieved through regulations rather than having to be priced out of the market through cap-and-invest. A failure to pursue legislative climate solutions like the Green Transit, Green Jobs bill could overburden the cap-and-invest program or limit its effectiveness.”

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Press conference video recording is available upon request.

ElectrifyNY is a statewide coalition of advocates for environmental justice, public transportation, social justice, and good jobs fighting for a clean, equitable electric transportation future for New York. Our work aims to improve the environment and public health outcomes for the communities most affected by the negative impacts of the transportation sector’s dependency on fossil fuels.

Earthjustice’s Right to Zero campaign and allies held an event in support of the Green Transit, Green Jobs bill at the New York State Capitol on Tuesday, January 30, 2024 . This critical bill will facilitate the transition to electric buses and promote good manufacturing jobs in New York State.
Earthjustice’s Right to Zero campaign and allies held an event in support of the Green Transit, Green Jobs bill at the New York State Capitol on Tuesday, January 30, 2024 . This critical bill will facilitate the transition to electric buses and promote good manufacturing jobs in New York State. (Patrick Dodson for Earthjustice)

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