NYLCV’s 2024 Clean Transportation Agenda

By Peter Aronson

A major goal of the New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) in 2024 is to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transportation sector, which is one of the highest emitting sectors in the state, accounting for 28% of total GHG emissions.

Much of our focus will be on the New York State legislature, which we are urging to pass legislation to help the state meet its climate goals of a 40 percent reduction in statewide GHG emissions from 1990 levels by 2030 and an 85 percent reduction by 2050.

“The legislature needs to use every tool in the shed to clean up our transportation sector,” NYLCV President Julie Tighe said in the League’s 2024 Policy Agenda. “That means adopting a clean fuel standard, lifting the cap on manufacturer-owned electric vehicle dealerships, creating a statewide charging station network, and mandating the purchase of zero-emission buses for public transportation systems while encouraging public fleets as a whole to move to electric.”

First among our transportation priorities is for the state legislature to pass New York’s Clean Fuel Standard. The bill passed the Senate on June 8 but did not get through the State Assembly. We urge the Senate to re-pass the bill this year and for the Assembly to take up this measure in 2024, to pass it, and for Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign it into law. 


The bill is modeled on the first-in-the nation fuel standard in California, which has since been adopted in Washington and Oregon, and would require sharp reductions in transportation emissions in the state by mandating a shift from a primarily petroleum-based system to one powered by electric vehicles.

The bill, if it becomes law, is intended to reduce carbon emissions from vehicles by no less than 30 percent by 2032 and by 100 percent by 2050, with intermediate goals during that 18-year period adjusted every five years based on advances in technology.

Under the law, the state Department of Environmental Protection would be required to set a Clean Fuel Standard for all suppliers of fuel in the state. Suppliers not meeting the emission reductions set by the fuel standard would be required to purchase credits from suppliers of cleaner fuels like renewable biofuels and electric vehicle chargers.

“Fuel replacements like these are what will help curb greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution in New York,” said NYLCV Policy Director Pat McClellan at a recent press conference announcing Sonomax offering renewable diesel. “The reality is that even with aggressive vehicle electrification, 50% of the heavy-duty trucks on our roads will still have combustion engines that require a liquid fuel in 2050. We need to make low-carbon fuels like what Sonomax is offering more widely available in order to reduce emissions and improve public health while we transition to 100% zero-emission vehicles. Implementing a statewide clean fuel standard will help make low-carbon fuels the norm.”

For additional information about the importance of the clean fuel standard, please visit the Clean Fuels NY  Coalition’s website.

NYLCV also encourages the state legislature to pass other significant transportation-related legislation to support decarbonization. 

Among the most important proposals are those that will:

  • Require public transportation systems to purchase only zero-emission transit buses before the end of 2029, so that all transit buses in the state are zero-emission by 2040;
  • Eliminate the cap on manufacturer-owned EV dealerships;
  • Prioritize the Gateway Project, including repairing existing infrastructure as well as developing a new rail tunnel between New York and New Jersey and all associated infrastructure on the New York side of the Hudson River; 
  • Support the installation of high-speed electric charging stations for light and heavy-duty vehicles along major state highways and at airports, bus terminals, rail stations, and other major transportation hubs; 
  • Amend the New York Complete Streets Act, so that it would require consideration of bicycles and pedestrian users when developing roadway projects and to include maintenance and repaving projects; 
  • Support street safety initiatives, including traffic-calming projects, lower speed limits, conversion of elevated highways into surface-level boulevards and streets, electronic speed enforcement, and increased penalties and enforcement for reckless driving; 
  • Support a variety of transportation projects, like bus rapid transit, dedicated bus lanes, rails-to-trails conversions of abandoned rail lines, low- and zero-emission ferries, connected regional bike lanes and trails, and community multi-use trails that promote cycling, walking, and safety for all people with local community access; 
  • Support the expansion of programs and services such as car sharing, bike sharing, and other alternative modes of transportation that enable greater mobility in areas not served by mass transit to reduce single occupancy vehicle use; 
  • Repair and upgrade critical commuter and freight rail lines throughout the state to limit car and truck traffic on local roads and highways; and
  • Incentivize zero-emission engines, low-carbon non-petroleum fuels, and additional decarbonization measures to reduce diesel emissions from rail and non-rail freight transportation. 

We urge everyone to reach out to their state senators and assembly members throughout the 2024 session to let them know you support NYLCV’s clean transportation agenda. 

But first, Clean Fuels Lobby Day is on Tuesday, January 30, and now is the time to let Gov. Hochul and your state representatives know that New Yorkers support a Clean Fuel Standard.

The year 2023 was the hottest year on record in the world and during this time Canadian wildfires, fueled by a warming planet, turned New York’s skies an apocalyptic-looking muddy gray one day, and a dense, eerie orange on another. Many New Yorkers had difficulty breathing.

We don’t know what 2024 will bring, but scientists all across the world are saying climate change, and the heat, droughts, floods and extreme weather that comes with it, will continue to get worse before it gets better. That’s why it’s essential we must let decision makers know where we stand.

We thank everyone for speaking out!