05/04/2021 | Press release | Archived content
Nation Has More Than 70,000 Mass Transit Buses-But Only 2% Are Zero Emission; In NYC, Tiny Amount Of Massive Fleet Is Electric; Public Buses Account For MILLIONS Of Metric Tons Of Pollutants & Carbon Into Air Which Make The Planet & People Sick, Especially Children With Asthma
Schumer Has A Plan To Transform Transit Across America & Here In New York With Electric And Hydrogen Fleets; Plan With Benefit Public Health, Help Save The Planet & Create New American Union Jobs; Can Be Achieved Via Upcoming Legislation
Schumer: We Won't Put A Dent In Plans To Kick Carbon & Grow Jobs, Until America's Buses Get A 'Green New Wheel'
Breathing in air he wants to make fresher at the MTA/NYCT Tuskegee Airmen Bus Depot in East Harlem, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, joined by environmental justice, organized labor, transit and public health advocates pushed a new plan called Clean Transit for America to replace diesel-spewing fleet buses with zero-emission, electric or hydrogen buses.
Schumer announced the big, bold push to advance the fleet replacement plan as part of President Biden's just-out American Jobs Plan. Schumer said we cannot realistically put a dent in plans to reduce global warming, improve public health, create and sustain good-paying union jobs, or lower emissions if we do not start with smart investments in America's buses. Schumer detailed the plan and explained that 70,000 mass transit buses across the country need to be replaced, including almost 6,000 in New York City. The Senator said we can accomplish this goal in upcoming legislation as he made the case for environmental action.
'The Clean Transit for American plan is not only good for the MTA, but it will be good for the USA,' said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. 'Right now, our bus fleet across New York is dirty diesel-spewing, and part of the way we create new American jobs, save the planet and improve public health is to replace this old fleet with zero-emission buses.'
'Without transforming our bus fleet, we can't reduce the carbon in our atmosphere to effectively reduce global warming, and we have to laser focus on that mission while at the same making our cities healthier and more equipped for the jobs of the future-- from building the charging infrastructure, to remaking the assembly lines, every zero-emission bus will mean many new jobs,' Schumer added.
Clean Transit for America plan will provide $73 billion to move our country's public transit systems to zero-emission fleets and Schumer says he will push to include it in President Biden's American Jobs Plan to help combat climate change, improve air quality, and establish a transit workforce training program that will create good paying union jobs. Currently in the United States, only 2% of this nation's buses are zero-emission vehicles and the volume of air pollutants from diesel buses disproportionally impacts low-income communities and communities of color. The money from this program will specifically be used to replace America's 70,000 mass transit buses and 85,000 cutaway vehicles and transit vans to clean energy vehicles and will prioritize funding for areas with the worst air quality first and will in turn greatly improve air quality for all Americans.
For New York City, this mean a fleet of about 6,000 would be transformed to zero-emission. On Long Island, it would mean Nassau's NICE and Suffolk County Transit would also see their fleets transformed.
'The public transportation industry strongly supports Senator Schumer's and Senator Brown's efforts to make a game-changing investment in zero-emission buses and charging infrastructure. This forward-thinking investment will spur innovation, clean the air in our communities, and help us address the dramatic impacts of climate change across the nation,' said American Public Transportation Association President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas.
'The ATU, representing more than 23,000 workers in NY State and more than 200,000 across North America, fully supports Senator Schumer's and Senator Brown's Clean Transit for America plan. This is a game changer providing billions for zero emission buses, which can play a key role in fighting climate change,' said ATU International President John Costa. 'However, the move to greener vehicles must not come at the expense of the jobs of transit workers. We must invest and develop policies on training and apprenticeship programs for transit workers to ensure their jobs and that they are prepared to safely operate and maintain this new technology. This bill puts workers first, by including funding for workforce development.'
'EDF supports robust investment in zero emission buses as a critical part of meeting our climate goals and making America's transportation system cleaner. Proposals such as the one announced by Leader Schumer and Senator Brown help to make a transition to 100% new zero-emission truck and bus sales by 2040 eminently achievable. Transitioning to zero-emission buses will also provide vital public health benefits. Buses are a major source of the unhealthy air pollution that puts all Americans at risk, with the health burden disproportionately impacting people of color and lower income families. We applaud Senators Schumer and Brown's leadership on this critical issue,' said Elizabeth Gore, EDF Senior Vice President, Political Affairs.
'On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I want to thank Senator Schumer and Senator Brown for recognizing the serious frontline workforce needs that result from the transition to zero emission bus fleets,' said Greg Regan, President of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO. 'By ensuring that frontline transit workers gain the skills and training necessary to run the public transportation systems of the future, paired with a guarantee that no workers will be displaced by their proposal, Senators Schumer and Brown send a strong message that, when policy is shaped correctly, workers and the communities they live in can both benefit from technological change.'
'Everyone deserves to breathe clean, healthy air. The transition to electric transit buses will benefit everyone, including daily commuters, transit riders and residents near busy roads. Low-income communities and communities of color often face greater exposures to transportation pollution, not just from tailpipes, but from the whole process of extracting, refining and transporting fossil fuels,' said Harold Wimmer, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. 'The American Lung Association's 'The Road to Clean Air' report shows the broad benefits of a transition to an electric transportation sector over the coming decades, avoiding approximately 6,300 premature deaths and preventing more than 93,000 asthma attacks and 416,000 lost workdays per year based on emission reductions in 2050. Swift, strong action is critical in order to protect the millions of Americans living in areas with unhealthy air quality. We applaud Senator Schumer's leadership in driving the transition to electric transportation and ensuring clean air for all communities.'
'As president of the IBEW, the largest union of electrical workers in the country, I want to thank Majority Leader Schumer and Senator Brown for their ambitious Clean Transit for America proposal. This plan will create tens of thousands of jobs for IBEW members around the country by modernizing our nation's mass transit buses to zero emission vehicles. In particularly, we strongly support the incorporation of the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP) into the plan, which will ensure charging infrastructure financed by this proposal is done by highly skilled electricians. The IBEW looks forward to working with Leader Schumer, Senator Brown and the United States Senate to move this proposal forward and fulfill the promise to build America back better,' said IBEW International President Lonnie R. Stephenson.
'The TWU embraces a green economy that fights climate change while preserving and creating good jobs. We need to cut emissions while making sure existing workers are not left behind,' said John Samuelsen, International President of the Transport Workers Union.
'Leader Schumer's and Senator Brown's proposed legislation to shift to 100% electric buses means healthier communities and a healthier economy. The bill will take significant climate action while creating good, family-sustaining jobs in the U.S. and prioritize communities with the worst air quality to address decades of inequitable transportation policy. The Sierra Club is proud to endorse this bill,' said Katherine Garcia, Acting Director of Sierra Club's Clean Transportation for All Campaign.
'Transit is the very fabric of our communities: it's what keeps us connected, brings us to and from school and work every day, allows us to buy groceries, receive medical care, and enjoy parks,' said Lauren Maunus, Sunrise Movement Advocacy Director. 'If we're going to beat the climate clock and stop polluting toxic fumes into our neighborhoods, we must swiftly transform every aspect of our current transportation system to reach zero emissions. Leader Schumer's Clean Transit for America legislation would electrify our nation's bus fleet - a key step towards fully transitioning our transit systems, while strengthening services vital to the health of our communities.'
'Jobs to Move America celebrates Senator Schumer's strong support for electrifying bus transit, which is so important for the health and livelihood of millions of people in New York City and across the country. We applaud the strong provisions that the Clean Transit for America proposal includes to preserve job quality and provide robust training for agency staff. Making sure that good jobs are created-and protected-for maintenance, operations, and manufacturing workers will be an essential part of electrifying American transit,' said Madeline Janis, Executive Director of Jobs to Move America.
'Transitioning to 100% zero-emission buses is an essential infrastructure and environmental justice priority. By moving our public transit systems to zero emission fleets, the Clean Transit for America bill sets us on a path toward a world free from climate chaos and a country where there is clean air and quality public transit in every neighborhood,' said Marcela Mulholland, Political Director at Data for Progress.
'Senator Schumer's legislation to transition to 100% zero-emission buses is a critical step for our country. Not only does it tackle carbon pollution, but it does so in an equitable way, ensuring the funding goes to the communities with the greatest need first while investing in a just transition for workers in the sector. As New York State is set to implement the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, this legislation will be an important piece of the climate, infrastructure, and jobs plan for the future of clean public transportation for the state,' said Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director of ALIGN.
'We need to invest now to build the clean transportation system of the future-one that provides more clean and affordable options for everyone. Buses provide a vital service, allowing people to get around at a low cost-but buses that burn fossil fuels also bring dangerous pollution to overburdened communities. We support Senator Schumer and Senator Brown's vision of electrifying transit and paratransit buses and look forward to working with them on this proposal,' said Michelle Robinson, Director of the Clean Transportation Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
'Reinvigorating our economy, creating millions of good jobs, addressing racial injustice and tackling the climate crisis requires bold action,' said Stephanie Gidigbi Jenkins, a director for policy and partnerships at Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). 'This proposal is big and bold. Supporting a transition to clean transit will support domestic industry, curb harmful pollution poisoning our families and address a major source of the emissions causing climate change. Congress should take this plan from Sens. Schumer and Brown as soon as possible and help create one more plank of the clean economy of the future.'
'We applaud Senator Schumer and Senator Brown for proposing this big step toward the sustainable and equitable future we need to build back better and shift our public transit systems away from relying on dirty-diesel vehicles. It's long past time to invest in pollution-free transit with a focus on the low-income communities of color that are most impacted. We urge Congress to move quickly to advance this plan, in concert with the American Jobs Plan, to help create good-paying jobs, fight the climate crisis, and advance racial justice,' said Tiernan Sittenfeld, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs at the League of Conservation Voters.
'Most transit buses burn dirty fossil fuels, spewing harmful pollution into the air. As parents, we know that's bad for our kids' health: Children's lungs are still developing, so they are especially vulnerable to health harms from air pollution, such as asthma and lung infections. What's more, the transportation sector is the largest source of climate pollution in the US, and the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas pollution in the world. We want to protect our families from the climate crisis and clean up the air our children breathe -- that means we need to transition to 100% clean electric power for our cars, trucks and buses, starting now. By supporting the transition of our public transit buses to zero emission vehicles, the Clean Transit for America Act takes an important step toward protecting our families. It will improve local air quality and help reduce climate pollution. Moms are fierce protectors of our children's health. That's why we support the Clean Transit for America Act,' said Trisha DelloIacono, National Field and Legislative Manager, Moms Clean Air Force.