ElectrifyNY, a coalition of environmental, transit, and social justice advocates based in New York, have organized in an attempt to push New York state and its municipalities to transition to a fully electric vehicle fleet by the year 2040.
According to ElectrifyNY’s website, the organization “aims to improve the environment and public health outcomes for the communities most affected by the negative impacts of the transportation sectors dependency on fossil fuel.” Recent reports have found that transportation is the largest contributor to greenhouse gases in the state of New York, and it is currently the only sector where emissions have not decreased since 1990.
Renae Reynolds, a coalition organizer from the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, commented on the organization’s activity, stating:
“It is a public health and climate justice imperative that we reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector to ensure the health and safety of our communities who rely on public buses and other vehicle modes to get where they need to go.”
This past Thursday, ElectrifyNY held a launch event in New York City to discuss the state’s plan to electrify their various bus fleets. To be more specific, ElectrifyNY is currently seeking further detail on the Metropolitan Transit Agency’s plan to electrify their fleet by 2040. The MTA, the nation’s largest transit agency, is currently undergoing a three-year pilot program with 10 electric buses and has recently purchased 15 fully-electric buses and charging stations for the Michael J. Quill Depot in Manhattan with plans to purchase 60 electric buses in total.
While many agree that transitioning to a fully electric vehicle fleet is the appropriate decision to make given recent carbon emission data, Nick Sifuentes of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, an ElectrifyNY coalition member, was quick to point out that going electric won’t be easy for the MTA at all. Not only does the MTA still need to purchase a majority of the buses and charging stations for depots and along bus routes, but questions and concerns regarding how well electric buses will hold up given New York’s rather cold climate have been brought up numerous times.
Nick Sifuentes commented on these concerns, stating:
“These are real challenges, and that’s something the MTA is grappling with actively, but are they going to be solved? Absolutely. We have to make this transition, and technology is evolving rapidly on this front.”
Shams Tarek, an MTA spokesman, added:
“We’re proud of our environmental leadership and excited about our efforts to ultimately have a zero-emission bus fleet which will make the MTA’s benefits to the environment even stronger.”
While the MTA has been vocal about their support for ElectrifyNY’s plans, activists continue to insist that their current efforts are “not enough,” demanding that they live up to the timeline and commitment that they made.
Source: AM New York