DEC, NYSERDA Utilize Volkswagen Settlement to Support All-Electric Buses

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New York’s State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) say more than $24 million is now available to replace diesel-powered transit buses with new all-electric transit buses, which will help improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote investment in cleaner fuel technologies, among other benefits.

As part of the state’s $127.7 million allocation of the federal Volkswagen Settlement, NYSERDA will administer approximately $18.4 million to fund the new electric transit buses through the New York Truck Voucher Incentive Program, and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) will manage $6 million for associated charging infrastructure.

“The transportation sector remains the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in New York, and by taking action to remove the worst polluters from our roads, communities across the state will benefit, especially those overburdened by pollution in our cities,” says Basil Seggos, commissioner at DEC.

“I thank Governor Cuomo for his ongoing leadership in promoting green and renewable technologies and providing incentives to improve our air quality, reduce emissions and create a sustainable future for New York’s transportation industry,” he adds.  

Funding is available to replace existing diesel-powered transit buses with model year 2009 and older engines, which must be permanently removed from service and scrapped. Transit bus replacements are targeted at New York State government entity-owned bus fleets that have bus depots located within Potential Environmental Justice Areas (PEJAs), or operate routes that serve PEJA areas. DEC considers PEJAs to be communities of color or low-income communities that experience a disproportionate share of environmental harms, such as vehicle emissions and pollution.

The transit bus replacement funds will be administered through NYSERDA’s New York Truck Voucher Incentive Program (NYTVIP), which provides point-of-sale rebates to reduce the cost for businesses and municipalities that want to purchase new, clean electric or alternative-fueled vehicles. 

The rebate will initially reduce the incremental cost of purchasing all-electric transit buses by up to 100% and help increase the number of all-electric transit buses on New York’s roadways while removing older diesel-powered vehicles trucks through a scrappage requirement. These new all-electric transit buses will be required to be housed at bus depots or operate on routes located within Environmental Justice communities.

At the governor’s direction, DEC, in concert with NYSERDA, NYPA, the State Department of Transportation (DOT), Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and others, developed Clean Transportation NY – New York’s plan to strategically invest the Volkswagen settlement resources for maximum benefit and to build on New York’s national leadership on clean energy and climate change.

The funds were secured to mitigate damages from the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal through the federal settlement with Volkswagen. The state’s strategically leveraged investment of settlement funds is anticipated to result in at least $300 million of clean vehicles and infrastructure on New York’s roadways. The transportation sector is currently the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in New York, representing approximately 34% of the state’s total emissions.

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