July 08, 2021
$800,000 project will help Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority expand electric bus fleet and support goal of becoming zero-emission by 2035
Project was included in INVEST in America Act passed by the House of Representatives last week
Congressman Joe Morelle was joined by government and community partners to announce that the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA)’s proposal for preliminary design and environmental review of an electric charging depot was recently included in legislation passed by the House of Representatives. The $800,000 project was submitted as part of this year’s Surface Transportation Member Designated Projects and would help RGRTA, also known as Regional Transit Service (RTS), expand their electric bus fleet by up to 800%.
“Climate change is one of the most significant challenges facing our nation, and in order to combat its devastating effects, we need to make real investments in sustainable infrastructure,” said Congressman Morelle. “This exciting project will build upon the steps RTS has already taken to invest in clean energy, reduce our carbon footprint, and help Rochester lead the charge in environmentally-friendly public transportation. I am proud to have helped pass this in the House of Representatives and look forward to working with my partners in the Senate to make it a reality.”
“I thank Congressman Morelle for including this funding in the INVEST in America Act and bringing us one step closer to building a new charging depot for electric buses,” said RTS CEO Bill Carpenter. “The only way we can meet Governor Cuomo’s goal of having a zero-emission bus fleet by 2035 is to have this new charging depot built and in use by 2025. By transitioning our fleet to zero-emission vehicles we are embracing the future of public transit, improving the environment, reducing costs for taxpayers, and making sure we can provide safe and sustainable mobility for our customers for many years to come.”
RTS currently has ten electric buses in its fleet with another ten scheduled to arrive in 2022. In order to further expand the number of electric buses, RTS needs a significant investment in upgrading their campus infrastructure. The estimated total cost of the charging depot for electric buses is $60.7 million. The $800,000 will get the project started by funding the preliminary design and environmental review. When complete, the new charging depot will allow RTS to simultaneously charge up to 80 vehicles.
By replacing older diesel-powered vehicles with electric buses, we invest in zero-emission transportation that will have a profound effect on combatting the effects of climate change. For example, replacing one diesel bus with one electric bus reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) by 90.5 metric tons per year. This means the replacement of 10 diesel buses with 10 electric buses will reduce GHG by 905 metric tons, which is the same as taking 197 personal vehicles off the road.
“We must ensure public transit for all our families who require and rely on it, while protecting our environment and doing our part to reduce carbon emissions,” said New York State Assemblymember Harry Bronson. “This funding will allow Rochester to continue moving towards a green sustainable future. Thank you Congressmember Morelle for fighting for this important project and ensuring Rochester has the tools to address climate change in our community.”
“Projects like this exemplify an environmental justice agenda that centers the needs of working class New Yorkers when implementing climate change solutions. This investment in our infrastructure will increase access to sustainable and affordable public transportation, and bring jobs to our city,” said New York State Senator Jeremy Cooney.
“This funding will allow our community to reduce its carbon footprint and continue to tackle climate change in our area,” said Assemblymember Demond Meeks. “Each step we take in this battle is an important one, especially because communities of color are disproportionately impacted. We must be on the forefront of tackling these issues. The health and future of our children depend on our actions today. I would like to thank Congressman Joe Morelle and our other allies in the federal government who were able to win this money for our city.”
"Given the urgency of reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, RTS and Congressman Morelle should be commended for their commitment to accelerating our region's transition to electric buses,” said Abigail McHugh-Grifa, Executive Director, Climate Solutions Accelerator. This is the kind of leadership our community needs to mitigate the threat of climate change and improve quality of life for local residents. Diesel fumes are dirty and dangerous, so we can all breathe a little easier knowing that cleaner, safer transportation options are headed our way."
The project proposal can be read in full here. It was included as part of the INVEST in America Act (H.R.3684), which passed the House of Representatives last week and will now be considered by the Senate.
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