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State races to electrify major public sector in hopes others will follow: 'This work is truly transformative'

The work is expected to be completed by mid-2024.

The work is expected to be completed by mid-2024.

Photo Credit: iStock

New York is entering the rush to electrify public transportation in a big way. Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced that the state would be moving forward with constructing 53 high-tech overhead bus chargers at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) depots in Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, and Brooklyn. 

This is the first phase of a multiyear project that will build a total of 67 overhead and cable dispensers across five locations in anticipation of accommodating 60 all-electric buses.

The new infrastructure will bring the MTA closer to its carbon-zero goal and show other metro areas nationwide that a sustainable transition to electric transportation is possible. 

"The progress at these in-city bus depots is the latest example of New York building clean energy infrastructure that will improve our air quality and benefit communities that have borne the brunt of a fossil-fuel economy. This major transformation of our bus fleet will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, provide system efficiencies, and enable our transition to a zero-emission bus fleet by 2040," said Governor Hochul, in a statement quoted by CleanTechnica.

According to New York City Transit Senior Vice President of Buses Frank Annicaro, New York's bus system transports 1.5 million New Yorkers daily. It's the largest bus fleet in the country, according to New York State Power Authority President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll, who leads one of the agencies collaborating on the project with the MTA.

Transportation also accounts for over 16% of global carbon pollution. A shift to electric buses would decrease the air pollution produced by the city's transportation sector and may even encourage more people to ditch dirty-energy passenger vehicles, which aid in congestion in both the air and the streets, in favor of buses. 

All of the work, including the overhead charger installs and arrival of the buses, is expected to be completed by mid-2024.

The MTA has also announced it will only purchase electric buses after 2029 and shift its entire bus fleet (5,800 vehicles) to zero emissions by 2040. Currently, the MTA has 15 EV buses in service and expects to purchase 470 more in 2025 and 2026, according to CleanTechnica. 

"The New York Power Authority is proud to work with the MTA to reshape and decarbonize public transit in urban areas and inspire other municipalities to follow suit," said Driscoll in a statement. "This work is truly transformative for mass transportation and once again New York is leading the way." 

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