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Guv Cuomo Announces Addition of 10 Electric Buses to Regional Transit Service Fleet in Rochester

Represents First Step in Transit Service Electrifying 25% of its Fleet by 2025 as Announced in Governor Cuomo's 2020 State of the State Address 

Six Electric Buses Now in Service for RTS in the Finger Lakes Region, Remaining Four Buses to go into Service this November

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority has added the first 10 electric buses to its Regional Transit Service fleet, or RTS, which serves more than 1.1 million New Yorkers in eight-counties of the Finger Lakes Region, part of an ongoing effort to reduce carbon emissions produced by traditional diesel-fuel buses. As announced in the Governor's State of the State address earlier this year, RTS and four other transit agencies have committed to having a 25% electric bus fleet by 2025 and a 100% electric fleet by 2035. Today's announcement puts RTS on pace to exceed that goal.

"New York is the nation's leader when it comes to combatting climate change and as part of these efforts we are electrifying transit buses in Rochester and across the state to reduce our carbon footprint. Our state will continue to invest in our infrastructure and clean energy to promote sustainability and create a cleaner environment for future generations of New Yorkers."

Governor Cuomo said.

"New York is leading the nation in our ambitious clean energy goals and efforts to combat climate change. The addition of these electric buses to Rochester's regional transit service fleet is part of our overall plans to have a 25% electric bus fleet statewide over the next five years and 100% by 2035. We thank RTS for partnering with us to reach our goals and help ensure a cleaner and greener environment for future generations and the health and safety of our planet."

said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.

In April 2017, Governor Cuomo announced funding for RTS to acquire its first electric buses and associated charging equipment. RTS anticipates having 20 electric buses and charging infrastructure in place by the end of 2021 and estimates its fleet will be 35% electric by 2025, exceeding the Governor's goals and on pace to have a fully electric fleet by 2035. The total cost of the 10 buses and associated charging infrastructure is approximately $12 million:

  • $7.0 million administered by the New York State Department of Transportation,

  • $2.3 million of $127.7 million in Volkswagen diesel emissions settlement funds, administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and implemented by NYSERDA and NYPA,

  • $1.7 million provided by the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, and

  • $1.0 million from the Federal Transit Administration

"Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York State continues to make smart, sustainable investments in our transportation systems that will result in a reduced carbon footprint across the Empire State benefiting generations to come. DOT is excited to lead the way in addressing our changing climate and supporting the electrification of public transit systems here in Rochester and across the state."

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese

Dominguez said.

"With these new electric buses, Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority is now firmly in the driver's seat when it comes to reducing harmful emissions. This is why I fought so hard to create a federal fund for electric buses. I am pleased RTS is investing in energy efficient technology and a cleaner-running fleet, all while continuing their essential service to commuters and families across our region."

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer said.

"Regional Transit Service recognizes the need for cleaner power sources and, like NYPA, is a leader in the change-over to zero emission transportation. Replacing diesel-powered buses is a key step in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. The New York Power Authority is pleased to support this electric bus initiative that will help address air pollution in urban communities that can be exposed to a disproportionate share of emissions. We, at NYPA, are proud to be a driving force in helping the state achieve its goal for an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050."

New York Power Authority President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones said.

"The transportation sector is New York's largest source of climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions and electrifying mass transit is critical to meeting our state's aggressive emissions reduction goals. The remarkable progress the Regional-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority has made to electrify its bus fleet will reduce harmful emissions being spewed into communities by replacing dirty diesel engines with a cleaner and greener fleet. It's a win-win for our economy and the environment."

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said.

"The transportation sector remains one of the most significant contributors of harmful greenhouse gas emissions and under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York State is committed to bringing cleaner and greener public transportation options to all communities.  I'd like to congratulate the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority on today's milestone and thank them for leading by example with their commitment to sustainability."

Acting President and CEO of NYSERDA Doreen M. Harris said

"Today's announcement underscores New York's commitment to developing innovative approaches that advance and align our state's progressive transportation and environmental agendas. This impressive new fleet is reflective of a broader goal: investing in sustainable, high quality transportation networks and a greener, more environmentally-just New York."

Senate Transportation Chairman Tim Kennedy said, 

"Across our country, transportation is climate and air pollution enemy number one. Electrifying our bus fleets will go a long way towards getting our state to a zero-emissions transportation system. While electrifying the RGRTA's fleet is a good first step, and I applaud Bill Carpenter and his team for changing the fleet to electric buses. This change will make a tremendous impact on the lives of our children, our communities and our planet."

Assembly Member Harry Bronson, Member of the Assembly Transportation Committee, said.

"The future of public transit technology has arrived in the Finger Lakes region and I am grateful to be working with such a talented team of employees, supporters and partners to put RGRTA on the leading edge of this effort. This project is a true win for taxpayers and the community. By adding electric buses, we are embracing the future of transit, reducing costs for taxpayers, improving the environment, and making sure we can continue providing safe, reliable mobility for our customers. I thank Governor Cuomo, and everyone involved in the project for making it possible. Because of the work we have done and what we learned over the past three years, we are well positioned to meet Governor Cuomo's goals for 2025 and 2035."

Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority CEO Bill Carpenter said.

The addition of the first ten electric buses to the RTS fleet is expected to reduce greenhouse emissions by 905 metric tons per year.  RTS also expects to save costs on fuel and maintenance each year, with a total cost of ownership savings of $187,000 per bus compared to traditional diesel buses.  

There are currently six of the ten battery powered electric buses in service across the Finger Lakes region. RTS anticipates the remaining four buses will be in service this November.  In addition to today's rollout in Rochester, the Capital District Transportation Authority has already deployed four electric buses, with each bus eliminating between 85-175 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, depending on the route and cycle time.

New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan

Governor Cuomo's nation-leading climate plan is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and will continue fostering a green economy as New York State Builds Back Better as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to reach its mandated goals of economy wide carbon neutrality and achieving a zero-carbon emissions electricity sector by 2040, faster than any other state. It builds on New York's unprecedented ramp-up of clean energy including a $3.9 billion investment in 67 large-scale renewable projects across the state, the creation of more than 150,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector, a commitment to develop over 1,800 megawatts of offshore wind by 2024, and 1,700 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2012. New York's Climate Action Council is working on a scoping plan to build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050 while ensuring that at least 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments benefit disadvantaged communities.

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