Are electric buses coming soon to school near you?


The arrival of 180 electric school buses  to New York City as part of  $77 million worth of electric vehicle infrastructure will quadruple the electric fleet, according to Mayor Eric Adams

Locally, U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat was among the voices advocating for the city transportation department to receive the grant that would push the city’s electric vehicle transportation and charging station to a new level.

Part of the infrastructure will include building the nation’s first electric truck charging depot in the Bronx at the location of the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center. Adams noted that thousands of trucks pass through the Hunts Point station and with the addition of a charging depot they could be helping to charge over 7,000 vehicles every year.

“Seventy-five million dollars in federal grants for new electric school buses and the truck charging infrastructure at the Hunts Point produce market, which is one of the biggest, if not the biggest in the country,” Espaillat said. “It feeds all of the East Coast and maybe a little bit more than that. So this is so important, it’s an historic investment. We’ll put 180 clean school buses in our New York City streets and ensure clean and breathable air for all the kids in our neighborhoods.”

According to Espaillat, the goal is to transition all of the city’s school buses to zero-emission vehicles by 2035.

He also indicated that the city is moving forward with the aim of creating new paid internship opportunities for students to enter into green transportation fields in the future.

“Oftentimes these young people are left behind, and we want to ensure that they’re part of the green dollars that come with the green economy,” said Espaillat.

This legislation closely mirrors a bill Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz put forth in 2020. Dinowitz’s proposed legislation is drawn from the state’s Climate Act established in 2019 with the expectation of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by the year 2050.

After the Climate Act passed in the state, it was decided that tackling public buses would be a big part of the action that followed.

According to data reported by the state’s Climate Action Council roughly 28% of New York’s greenhouse gas emissions stem from the transportation sector.

The legislation, if passed, would require that all public transportation systems purchase zero-emission buses and related equipment by January 2029. It further adds that by January of 2035, all buses must be powered by hydrogen sourced from zero-emission electricity.

“It’s time we move beyond the outdated and flawed presumption that we have to choose between helping the climate and supporting our economy,” Dinowitz wrote in a statement. “With the Green Transit, Green Jobs proposal, New York state can demonstrate to the entire nation that investing in sustainable infrastructure is not only good for our climate but is good for workers and communities too. The wheels of progress move slowly, but it is imperative that we continue taking tangible steps towards the climate goals we established in 2019.”

Dinowitz’s bill is more than just reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It invests in green job infrastructure. The bill pushes to protect all existing employees in their current status and contracts. Green transportation infrastructure will not allow employers to fire or displace employees. In fact, it pushed in favor of retraining programs being offered for current bus drivers to be taught how to handle new bus systems.

Adams’ guarantee of money comes from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law which works to delegate money to worthy projects across the nation that are helping to rebuild roads, bridges, rails, expand clean water access, tackle the climate crisis, and more initiatives that invest back into the community.

Two transportation companies have been selected to receive money that will be used to purchase clean school buses and the required chargers, spread throughout all of the city school districts.

In addition, the funding will enable improvements to bus stops throughout the Bronx’s 13th congressional district.

The state budget is still to be finalized, leaving space for Dinowitz’s bill to get the funding and approval it needs.

Electric school buses Electric vehicle infrastructure Mayor Eric Adams U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat Hunts Point Food Distribution Center Zero-emission vehicles Green transportation Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz Climate action Green jobs Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Sustainable infrastructure Bronx transportation Clean energy Green economy