New York Public Transit Association says its members need a renewed 5-year capital program and increased transit funding to adequately support electric bus infrastructure.

The New York Public Transit Association announced its support on Wednesday for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to create a task force that will develop a plan for five of the largest upstate and suburban transit systems to electrify 25 percent of their bus fleets by 2025 and 100 percent by 2035. The Governor’s initiative is a linchpin to the $1.7 billion five-year capital program for statewide public transit systems, which NYPTA supports as part of the 2020-2021 State Budget.

The electrification of New York’s bus fleets is already in motion. This week, the Capital District Transportation Authority will unveil four electric buses, and this summer the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority will add 10 electric buses to its fleet. Other transit systems across the state are planning to test electric buses in the coming year.

Electric buses provide a cleaner and more efficient mode of transportation and would assist the state in reaching its aggressive climate goals laid out in the New York Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which was passed in 2019.

While NYPTA does support the roll out of electric buses in public transit systems throughout the state, its members will need sufficient funding to adequately support the additional infrastructure needed to transition to 100% electric by 2035.

NYPTA previously announced in November a request for additional funding for its $1.7 billion 5-year capital program. Upstate and suburban downstate transit systems identified in a report a total of $700 million in federal, state and local revenue streams available to fund infrastructure projects, leaving a $1 billion gap in needed investment.

The capital program would fund the replacement of transit buses, improve transit maintenance facilities and provide for new technology that will improve mobility and make using transit and related systems easier for riders and customers.

NYPTA is also working with the governor’s office and state legislators to build off of the progress made after increasing funding to New York’s transit system in last year’s budget. It represented the first year of NYPTA’s request for increases in public transit funding over the next five years (10% per year) to allow transit systems to meet the growing needs of customers and the communities they serve. However, more will be needed in order to transition to 100% electric by 2035.

“We appreciate the Governor’s announcement on electric buses and stand ready to work with him and legislators across the state to develop a plan to properly fund the infrastructure necessary make them successful. That is why it is important for the state to renew the 5-year capital program, as well as providing long-term and sustainable funding for New York state transit systems. These critical resources will help regional systems to continue to grow and connect New Yorkers to their jobs, healthcare, shopping, education and recreational activities,” said Bill Carpenter, NYPTA president and chief executive officer of the Regional Transit Service in Rochester.