Governor Cuomo announces New York, 14 states, and D.C. to ramp up electrification of buses and trucks

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York, along with 14 states and the District of Columbia will develop an action plan to ramp up the electrification of buses and trucks. In a joint memorandum of understanding, the State committed to working collaboratively to accelerate the market for electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, including large pickup trucks and vans, delivery trucks, box trucks, school and transit buses, and long-haul delivery trucks. The goal of the MOU is to ensure that 100 percent of all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales be zero-emission vehicles by 2050 with an interim target of 30 percent zero-emission vehicle sales in these categories of vehicles by 2030. The announcement supports the State’s nation-leading targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

“With a lack of federal leadership and an outright failure to follow science, it has fallen to the states to address the climate crisis by working together to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from all sources,” Governor Cuomo said. “Reducing pollution from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles will result in cleaner air for New Yorkers, particularly low-income neighborhoods and communities of color that have historically and disproportionately borne the brunt of the worst environmental consequences. As New York continues to implement nation-leading climate initiatives, this multi-state agreement furthers the critical leadership roles of the states in combatting climate change and establishes an example for other states to follow.”  

Signatories of the MOU are: California, Connecticut, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia.

The transportation sector is now the nation’s largest source of climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to unhealthy levels of ozone and smog in many parts of the U.S. Accelerating the electrification of trucks and buses will help achieve the deep, economy-wide emission reductions needed to avoid the worst consequences of climate change and protect public health. Trucks and buses account for an estimated four percent of vehicles on U.S. roadways but contribute nearly a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.  

In addition, the electrification of trucks and buses is anticipated to reduce the burden of air pollution that results from heavy truck traffic in communities.  Diesel emissions from medium- and heavy-duty trucks contribute to elevated levels of particulate matter and air toxics. These emissions disproportionately impact low-income communities and communities of color, often located near major trucking corridors, ports and distribution hubs. 

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “New York is setting the bar for state-led action on climate. To achieve the State’s nation-leading goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, New York must reduce emissions from the transportation sector, now the largest source of climate pollution. Today’s announcement is proof positive that through Governor Cuomo’s leadership on climate and the State’s sustained clean energy investments and initiatives, New York is leading the nation’s efforts to act on climate while protecting our communities and our irreplaceable natural resources.”

MOU signatories will work through the existing multi-state ZEV Task Force facilitated by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management to develop and implement a ZEV action plan for trucks and buses. 

By promoting and investing in electric trucks and buses and the charging and fueling infrastructure needed to serve these vehicles, the signatory jurisdictions will support job creation, and help to build a resilient and clean economy. Today’s announcement complements ongoing efforts to electrify the transportation sector. At the Governor’s direction, DEC, in concert with the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority, New York Power Authority, State Department of Transportation, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and others, developed Clean Transportation NY – New York’s plan to strategically invest the Volkswagen settlement resources for maximum benefit and to build on New York’s national leadership on clean energy and climate change. The funds were secured to mitigate damages from the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal through the federal settlement with Volkswagen. The state’s strategically leveraged investment of settlement funds is anticipated to result in at least $300 million of clean vehicles and infrastructure on New York’s roadways. The transportation sector is currently the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in New York, representing approximately 34 percent of the state’s total emissions. The current status of New York State’s implementation of Clean Transportation NY projects can be found at DEC’s website.

In addition, New York is working on a bipartisan basis with other states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With 10 state partners, New York is strengthening the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, an effective tool to reduce power sector emissions. When the Trump Administration pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, New York co-founded the U.S. Climate Alliance, now 25 states and territories strong with a combined $11.7 trillion economy. 

The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act requires the State to achieve a carbon-free electricity system by 2040 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, setting a new standard for states and the nation to expedite the transition to a clean energy economy. The new law will drive investment in clean energy solutions such as wind, solar, energy efficiency and energy storage.

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