New Jersey is shifting its focus to clean transportation efforts and the deployment of electric trucks, announced state Governor Phil Murphy recently. Around $100 million will be allocated to projects working to reduce the effects of climate change and improve overall air quality. This will work in tandem with New Jersey’s intention to reach state operation within 100% clean energy sources over the next 30 years.
“BIG NEWS: We just announced more than $100 million in clean, equitable transportation projects–helping us: improve air quality, reduce the effects of climate change, [and] move New Jersey towards 100% clean energy by 2050,” tweeted Governor Murphy.
$9 million of this budget will be invested directly into electric delivery truck and electric garbage truck deployment, and remaining funds will help air quality improvement-focused electrification projects within the state’s local governments.
“Climate change is the single greatest long-term threat currently facing humanity, and our state and economy are uniquely vulnerable to its devastating effects,” Murphy explained “The investments we are announcing today signify our commitment to environmental justice and equity, while building a cleaner economy that works for all.”
Ras Baraka, Mayor of Newark, supports these initiatives set forth by the governor and these investments which, he believes, will help the state find ways to create lasting changes and boost the overall health of the state.
“Transitioning our municipal fleet is one of many initiatives underway as we move Newark forward,” Baraka said of his city. “Each diesel truck we keep out of residential neighborhoods serves as a reminder to the broader truck-intensive industry of Newark’s commitments to accelerated climate action and environmental justice.”
From these funds, $36 million will be dedicated to electrifying ports–which includes the electrification of cargo-handling operations such as heavy- and medium-duty equipment within industrial and port facilities. Around $15 million will be directed toward helping the electrification of transit buses, and another $13 million will aid shuttles and school buses in becoming electric within moderate-to-low income areas.
Additionally, around $5 million will also help efforts to ensure ride-hailing services utilize electric vehicles as well as efforts to install charging stations within four cities and towns across New Jersey. Another $5 million will be allocated to the installation of charging capabilities at 27 different locations across the state.
Finally, “flex funding,” which will work as supplemental funding to these initiatives, will come from the remaining $15 million.
These funds were derived from the state’s collaboration with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which is a multi-state effort among Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia. Funds also come from Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust funds, which was initiated after the car manufacturer first installed defeat devices in some of its diesel vehicles in order to give fraudulent scores on emissions tests.
Governor Murphy has also implemented the Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy through recent executive orders, which will focus on climate change-related challenges and the benefits and potential of clean energy while also making an effort to create real change among issues such as environmental justice and equity. The office will be led by executive director Jane Cohen, who has served as a senior policy adviser regarding energy and the environment to the governor thus far.
“Addressing climate change requires bold and intentional government action,” said Cohen. “The Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy will lead this challenging work and bring a diverse mix of experts to the table so that New Jersey can seize on the opportunity to be a leader in environmental justice and the transition to an equitable clean energy economy.”
The New Jersey Council, will will be given oversight by the Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy, will be asked to deliver a report within one year of the Office’s implementation regarding the council’s recommendation for an economic development strategy–a plan that will work to support employees who have been displaced or laid off from their jobs as New Jersey makes it way into a cleaner economy, as well as rapidly increase the growth of overall “green jobs” throughout the state.