Mayor Fulop leads NJ to an electric transportation future
Former Director, Destination: Zero Carbon, Environment America
Supporters rally for omnibus electrification bill including electrifying NJ Transit
Environment New Jersey
Jersey City, NJ — To celebrate Earth Day, Mayor Fulop and the Jersey City Council are moving forward to electrify transportation in their city and expand to every part of the state.
Jersey City continues to lead the state in many progressive initiatives. Mayor Fulop most recently introduced plans to expand the city’s electric municipal fleet and add charging station for municipal vehicles and for public use. The installation of solar panels on city buildings will also enhance the city’s sustainability efforts, starting at the DPW building this month. Leading up to the city’s plastic bag ban, multiple efforts are in action to educate the public about the ban and work with stores on alternative solutions to using plastic bags. Jersey City is the first in the state to ban plastic bags, and supports the recently formed Office of Sustainability to continue to take the lead on green advancements.
“Part of our mission is to work towards being a more environmentally conscious City, which is why we are leading the State in building the necessary infrastructure for electric vehicles in Jersey City,” said Mayor Steven M. Fulop. “By incorporating electric vehicles into our municipal fleets and providing charging stations for the community, we are ultimately increasing quality of life with cleaner, healthier air. It is my hope that this encourages other communities in the state to do the same.”
Jersey City is leading the race for electrification in New Jersey, but can’t act alone in solving the climate crisis. Environmental and transportation advocates joined Jersey City to call on state leaders to pass S2252/A4819 to address pollution from cars, trucks and buses in New Jersey. The omnibus electrification bill would create stronger cash incentives for EV buyers and install more than 1,000 EV charging stations over the next two years in our downtowns and along high-traffic roadways. It directs NJ Transit to electrify their bus fleet and ensures development of advanced mobility solutions and other transportation alternatives that serve environmental justice communities.
“Electric vehicles are coming, and New Jersey needs to be ready,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. “By taking steps to improve our EV infrastructure and accelerate the transition to electric transportation, New Jersey can create the road map for other states to follow.”
In the most densely populated state in the country, with 9 million people, we have more than 3 million registered vehicles, and we suffer from some of the worst regional air pollution. North Jersey and New York City ranked as the 10th worst metropolitan area in the U.S. for ozone levels, the main ingredient in smog that can trigger asthma attacks. New Jersey traffic congestion ranks within the top ten worst of the country—and with that comes lowered air quality and massive amounts of fossil fuels used to transport our state’s significant population of commuters around the metropolitan region. Not surprisingly, the transportation sector is the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions in the state.
Ward E Coucilman James Solomon said, “Transitioning away from gasoline powered to electrical cars is a necessary step to address climate change. Jersey City should continue to pursue policies that accelerate that trend.”
“As technology advances, it is imperative that we look at ways to improve our environment. Greener options are on the rise and are a topic that the City is taking serious steps to include in the conversation throughout the City,” said Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley.
Since the inaugural Earth Day in 1970, we’ve made a lot of progress to clean up our air, but New Jersey can do a lot more to reduce pollution. Today, Jersey City officials took the wheel to drive toward progress. And they did it in a variety of electric cars on the market.
“Nearly 50% of greenhouse gas emissions in New Jersey come from the transportation sector. While we need statewide commitments from big players like NJ Transit and the Murphy Administration, municipalities can lead the fight by encouraging communities to move towards electrification,” said Norah Langweiler, campaign organizer for Jersey Renews. “Creating space for electric infrastructure on a local level through amendments to zoning ordinances and investing in electric vehicle supply equipment at municipally-owned sites is foundational work for an efficient transition to a clean energy future.”
“What would Jesus, Moses, Mohammad, the Buddha or Lord Krishna drive? Without doubt, an electric vehicle,” said Rev. Fletcher Harper, director of the interfaith environmental organization GreenFaith. “Less air pollution and less climate change means healthier communities and saving lives. There’s just no question that we need state policies that make EV’s the new normal.”
“BYD thanks Mayor Fulop for his leadership and for bringing zero-emission technology to Jersey City,” Stella Li, President of BYD Motors North America said. “The Garden State’s fight against air quality issues can be greatly helped with electrification in all forms of transportation, and BYD looks forward to getting its battery electric buses, refuse trucks, port vehicles and delivery trucks on New Jersey roads.”
“For New Jersey to combat climate change and meet our goals to reduce emissions, we have to adjust how we get around by expanding options such as public transit. And for trips that have to be made by car, we also need more people to be driving electric cars,” said Morgan Folger, Clean Cars Advocate for Environment New Jersey.
“NJ Transit is the largest statewide public transportation system in the nation and serves 74% more passengers via bus service than rail. In order for the agency to minimize the negative environmental impacts of its bus fleet, NJ Transit must commit to working towards a complete transition to an all electric bus fleet,” said Janna Chernetz, Deputy Director for Tri-State Transportation Campaign.
The Assembly should support bill A4819 and jumpstart New Jersey’s electric vehicle revolution. The bill must pass the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee before it can move to the floor.
“Electric vehicle (EV) ride and drives provide a unique education and outreach opportunity since it blends the excitement of new technology and a phenomenal driving experience, with information about how New Jersey can clean the air and decrease air pollution from greenhouse gases. EVs aren’t slow golf carts anymore- they have instant torque, a variety of cool tech features, and are hitting the market in a variety of vehicle shapes and sizes. ChargEVC is proud to support EV ride and drives which teach the public about this transformative technology and we look forward to bringing cleaner air and big economic benefit to the state as EV adoption increases in the coming years,” said Ashley Lynn Chrzaszcz, Associate at Gabel Associates and Representative of ChargEVC.
“New Jersey’s biggest source of air pollution is from cars and trucks. Over 40% of GHG in this state come from mobile sources. Our state however has been gridlocked when it comes to moving forward with electric vehicles. These emissions can be easily cut by implementing EV technology. We need to use legislation like S2252(Smith) to advance EVs and especially EV infrastructure in our state. This is especially important if the state wants to achieve its 330,000 EVs on the road by 2025. We also need to target EV’s to low and moderate income areas while developing programs to create jobs,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. Our state used to be a leader in innovation and transportation and can be again in clean transport. Governor Murphy and the legislature need to remove the roadblocks and accelerate movement towards electric vehicles.”
“Transit Equity means that everyone enjoys the benefits of zero emission transit. The stakes couldn’t be higher than in low income and communities of color, like Paterson and Newark, where its residents are disproportionately dependent on public transit-buses and rail-for transportation and disproportionately impacted by the cumulative impact of diesel and other forms of air pollution,” said Amy Goldsmith, New Jersey State Director for Clean Water Action. “These ground level fumes are vacuumed up into our lungs causing lifelong health harms (heart attacks, cancer, strokes) to transit riders, workers and the community. Public transit done right – whether it’s a bus, rail, bike, ride or car share – can reduce our carbon footprint, ‘heat island effect’ (city temperatures hotter than suburbs), the number of children and elderly gasping for air from an asthma attack, ER visits and, more often than you think, premature death for those most vulnerable.”
Environment New Jersey is a statewide policy and action group. Our staff and members work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment.