Trenton –Today, during a NJ Transit Energy & Sustainability Committee meeting, NJ Transit staff and President Kevin Corbett committed to meeting the mandate for the electrification for NJ Transit buses through S2252/A4819, signed into law by Governor Murphy in January 2020. As outlined in the legislation, 10% of bus procurement will be in 2024, 50% of new bus procurement in 2026 and 100% in 2032. This plan outlined by NJ Transit requires not just electric bus procurement but also bus depot modernization and medium and heavy-duty charging. The plan outlined the importance of steady funding to be able to hit the bill’s mandates and outlined the upcoming deployments in the Newton and Hilton NJT bus garages in Camden and Maplewood and also analyzed the deployment of bus electrification plans in four separate garares in the state including Hilton, Newton, Greenville and Hamilton. NJ Transit said they will be working closely with utilities like PSEG on MDHD charging.
Doug O’Malley, Director of Environment New Jersey, and a long-time advocate for cleaner buses and for the electrification of NJ Transit bus fleet, issued the following statement:
“NJ Transit’s presentation today is a full-throated endorsement of the Governor’s mandate to move towards an electric bus future. The mandate in the Electric Vehicle bill requires a transformation of NJ Transit’s bus network and today’s presentation commits to making that timeline over the next decade to move towards a 100% NJ Transit bus purchases over the next decade.
This is the commitment we have been waiting for from NJ Transit. NJ Transit outlines the challenges ahead – with bus range, modernizing bus depots and building a bus charging network – and shows how they are planning to meet this mandate.
These commitments provide a foundation for NJ Transit to learn from sister transit agencies like MTA on their electric bus rollout. The nation’s largest transit agencies are ahead of us on the rollout of electric buses and there is a lot to learn from the experiences of sister agencies. NJ Transit has been behind the curve on electrification of their bus fleet, but this plan provides a road map of how NJ Transit will catch up and meet the Governor’s mandate.
The real winner here are the bus riders of NJ Transit and the communities that NJ Transit buses travel through. A single electric bus has annual health savings of more than $150,000 according to research from Columbia University. Diesel particulate matter from NJ Transit’s diesel buses are an invisible public health threat to our lungs, especially in our urban communities.
There will need to be partnership with the NJBPU on their upcoming proposal on MDHD EV charging and this is a clear reminder on the importance of the MOU between NJTA and NJT to ensure that we are adequately funding NJT’s capital program.
To fulfill this plan, NJ Transit will need dedicated funding and work to finally end the capital to operating raids to allow all of NJ Transit’s capital needs to move forward.
The NJDOT Commissioner committed that the annual diversions of the state’s Clean Energy Fund would be allocated to electric buses. We need a long-term annual dedicated funding plan for NJ Transit and we need to ensure that any funds transferred from the Clean Energy Fund dollars are dedicated to electric bus capital expenses to be part of the transition to an electric bus future.
This won’t be an easy logistical feat. This will be the biggest transition in NJ Transit bus history and the biggest evolution in ground level mass transit from when buses supplanted trolley operations in the pre-war era. This is going to be a huge win for the lungs of NJ Transit riders, drivers and the communities where NJ Transit serves.
Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center is dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment. For more information, visit www.environmentnewjerseycenter.org