New York State is home to 6.1% of the US population, home to a myriad of transportation infrastructure, be it train lines, bus fleets, or networks of roadways, that ensure efficient travel to its residents. As of 2016, the transportation sector in New York State accounts for 42.1% of total net energy consumption, with transportation producing 44.1% of greenhouse gas emissions from fuel combustion. Petroleum, a significant source of GHG emissions in the state and globally, was almost entirely consumed by the transportation sector (84.3%) (Data from the Energy Analysis program). Constant exposure to GHGs is linked to increased vulnerability to COVID-19, asthma, cancer, and various other illnesses, with disproportionate exposure in low-income and BIPOC communities. This consumption of nonrenewable energy is unsustainable on an individual and global level, with the federal agenda under the Biden Administration acknowledging and pushing for cleaner, renewable fuels across all sectors. The American Jobs Plan Plan’s transportation agenda anticipates drastic advancements in infrastructure and energy consumption standards; New York State’s adherence to this federal agenda will ensure the health and safety of its residents while creating millions of jobs and sustainable economic growth. NYLCV is advocating for state legislation that would reduce emissions from transportation, including a clean fuel standard and zero-emission school buses.
As COVID-19 recovery remains at the forefront of our minds, the Biden administration and much of Congress are prioritizing legislation that protects our workers, economy, public health, and climate transportation, electrification, and investment. This legislation includes a $40 billion investment in clean vehicle manufacturing and electric vehicle charging infrastructure, as well as a $50 billion investment in clean public transport and school bus fleets. Bus fleets are a dominant producer of GHGs in the transportation sector, with nearly five hundred thousand school buses and one hundred thousand public transit buses across the country. Already, New York State has one of the nation’s top climate plans and continuing with the transition to renewable energy-based transportation and near-total GHG reduction both protects the health of New York’s 20 million residents and creates over 150,000 jobs in coming years.
The Biden Administration’s American Jobs Plan Plan and the resulting legislation promote healthier air conditions for New York’s residents, as well as promote a healthy environment for decades to come. Investments in electrifying school bus fleets would not only provide rapid relief from the health risks of air pollution and exhaust for a demographic group already at greater risk but would save about $170 thousand per bus. Electrifying public transit buses would amplify this financial gain, with an expected economic output increase of $2.5 billion over the next 15 years. The United States is moving rapidly towards decarbonization and electrification, with the potential for New York state to reduce the carbon footprint of its transportation sector while protecting its youth, vulnerable communities, and stimulating its economy. The American Jobs Plan and initiatives to secure #cleanride4kids are investments and opportunities that cannot be ignored if the United States, and New York state specifically, wish to see their economies and residents prosper in the coming years.