As a leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in New York, dirty transportation damages public health, accelerates climate change, as well as concentrates pollution in low-income communities and communities of color. Thus, there is an imminent need to promote aggressive action on cleaning up the transportation sector in order to protect public health, advance environmental justice, and achieve New York’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. Electric vehicles are a pathway to that. With lawmakers headed home after the end of New York’s last state legislative session on June 4, 2022, now is a good time to review some of the successes of this year’s legislative session with regards to cleaning up the transportation sector, and what still needs to be done when the new legislature is seated in January.
Lawmakers passed several bills that will bolster the drive towards the electrification of transportation, including:
- A4386B/S. 23-B: This legislation requires that the construction of parking facilities that receive state capital funding be capable of implementing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. Access to EV charging is one of the most common reasons people who are interested in purchasing an EV give for why they have not bought one yet. This bill will help grow the EV charging station network throughout the state, hopefully leading to a growth in the sale of fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
- A2412B/S. 2838-C: State government should lead the way on transitioning to EVs. In consultation with the Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), this bill requires a state fleet procurement plan for purchase or lease zero-emission vehicles with target amounts in incrementally increasing values of times. To start, the bill will develop a state fleet procurement plan that ensures that at least 25% of state agency vehicles, including 10% of state agency medium and heavy duty vehicles, will be zero emission vehicles by no later than December 31st, 2025. By 2030, this percentage jumps up to at least 50% of state agency vehicles with a final target of a complete zero-emissions fleet by 2035.
- S2758/A/ 4302: Passed in 2021, this bill adopts the California Advanced Clean Car Rule that requires that 100% of in-state sales of new passenger cars and light-duty trucks be zero-emissions by 2035.
- A3876/S. 3929: Also passed in 2021, this bill requires that each utility file with the Public Service Commission (PSC) an EV charging commercial tariff that creates special rates for high speed charging. This will make it easier to build out a network of high speed EV charging stations, at lower cost, addressing potential EV buyers’ concerns about both access to charging stations and how long it takes to charge a battery. The proceeding before the PSC that this bill created is underway now.
- 100% Zero-Emission School Buses: Passed by Governor Hochul and the New York State Legislature as part of the 2022 budget, this bill commits to electrifying 100% of the state’s 47,000 diesel school buses by 2035. As a result of this bill, New York is now on track to be the first state in the US to utilize a fully electric school bus fleet that will bring benefits for New York’s school children and the local air quality. This bill will also benefit the education system as a whole since electric school buses have lower operating and maintenance costs than traditional diesel buses, which will subsequently put money back into the classroom. NYLCV was one of the leaders of a coalition that supported adopting this goal and increasing state aid for schools to adopt electric school bus fleets. As a result of that advocacy, there is $500 million in the Environmental Bond Act that will appear on this November’s ballot dedicated to school bus electrification.
While there were significant successes, some bills that will further reduce transportation emissions did not pass. As stated by Governor Hochul, “We’re at a pivotal point in our fight to tackle the climate crisis and transition to a clean energy future,” and reaching that point will take more work. With the next legislative session slated to begin January 2023, NYLCV looks forward to again supporting these bills and the legislators who champion them.
- A862B/S. 2962-B: As proposed in this bill, the establishment of a clean fuel standard would require transportation fuel suppliers to decrease the carbon intensity of their fuels by at least 20% by 2030 or purchase credits from clean fuel suppliers. Thus, the dirtier a suppliers’ fuel is, the more credits they would need to buy. As a leader in the Clean Fuels NY Coalition, NYLCV is working with other supporters of clean fuels to advance the broader goal of reducing GHG emissions coming from the transportation sector. Read more about the Clean Fuel Standard here.
- S1763/A. 4614: If passed, this bill would allow for more entities that manufacture or assemble zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs) to open sales locations in New York State as it would lift the cap on direct sales locations for ZEV manufacturers. Once lifted, this bill would make it easier for New Yorkers to purchase ZEVs. Currently, there are currently only five direct sales locations in New York for ZEVs, all of which belong to Tesla. If this bill is passed, more electric vehicle franchises in addition to Tesla will be permitted to operate in New York State such as Rivian and Lucid. If New York is able to transition to 100% ZEVs, $4 billion could be saved in health impact costs as the GHG emissions coming from transportation are linked to childhood asthma and other respiratory health issues.
- S3535C: This bill, which passed in the Senate but not the Assembly in 2022, requires that by January 1st, 2029, every public transportation system eligible for operating assistance in the state will be mandated to purchase zero-emission buses as part of the routine replacement of transportation fleets. Since most buses used by public transit agencies last for approximately ten years, this bill would functionally result in all public transit buses in the state being 100% zero-emission by 2040.