HomeNewsState NewsNY assemblyman: Achieving zero-emission transit will cost 'billions

NY assemblyman: Achieving zero-emission transit will cost ‘billions

Upstate public transit systems have to begin (or continue, as the case may be) preparing to decarbonize in order to meet the goals under New York’s 2019 Climate and Community Protection Act (CLPA).

The CLCPA requires New York state to achieve 100% zero-emission electricity by 2040, and to reduce carbon emissions by at least 85% below 1990 levels by 2050. That’s going to mean eliminating diesel and investing in zero-emission transportation.

According to the DEC, the transportation sector is responsible for approximately 36% of New York’s greenhouse gas emissions.  

The Assembly Transportation Committee held a hearing on these and other issues on Wednesday. Transportation Committee Chairman William Magnarelli, of Syracuse, told Capital Tonight that declining ridership thanks to COVID-19 is as much an environmental concern as carbon emissions. 

“How are we going to increase ridership when ridership is now down? Will we be able to bring those people back? That’s part of the environmental challenge that we have as well,” Magnarelli explained. “Getting people to leave their cars, and getting to and from mass transit.”

The cost of this transition will also be daunting. This year, the state Legislature included $100 million in the budget for zero-emission busses. The problem is, according to Magnarelli, a single electric bus costs $1 million.

“So that means we have enough for 100 buses,” he explained. “Just the city of Syracuse has over 200 buses. So when you think of, across the state, how many buses it’s going to take, you’re talking about billions of dollars.”


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