ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Congressman Joe Morelle is proposing a project to make public transportation in our area more sustainable.
The new $800,000 project would expand the fleet of electric buses for the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority. The proposal would also support Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s goal of a zero-emission bus fleet by 2035.
Experts say it will ultimately cost more to fully electrify RTS, but it’s an important milestone in cleaner transportation.
“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,” Morelle said in a statement.
“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.”It will now be considered by the Senate.
RTS currently has 10 electric buses in its fleet with another 10 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.
According to Morelle’s office, 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.
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.