Reducing air pollution

$100 million in state transportation projects to benefit Bayonne

Transportation funding aims to reduce air pollution.
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Transportation funding aims to reduce air pollution.

New state funding may reduce air pollution in Bayonne.

On Feb. 16, Gov. Phil Murphy announced an investment of more than $100 million in “clean, equitable” transportation projects to improve air quality and reduce the effects of climate change in New Jersey. The governor committed to move the state toward 100 percent clean energy by 2050.

Leveraging proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Funds, the funding will bring electrification programs, equitable mobility projects, and electric charging infrastructure to environmental justice communities across the state.

Nine million will pay for projects that will help to improve air quality in environmental justice communities through electric garbage and delivery trucks. Some $13 million in grants for low- and moderate-income communities will reduce emissions through the use of electric school and shuttle buses.

Five million will fund equitable mobility projects that will bring electric vehicle ride hailing and charging stations to four New Jersey towns and cities, and $5 million will deploy fast charging infrastructure at 27 locations statewide.

$36 million will be spent to reduce diesel and black carbon emissions in environmental justice communities by electrifying port, cargo handling, and other medium- and heavy-duty equipment in port and industrial areas.

NJ TRANSIT bus electrification will get $15 million. The measures leave $15 million of flex funding to be used where needed.

“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 said. “The investments we are announcing today signify our commitment to environmental justice and equity, while building a cleaner economy that works for all.”

Officials onboard

Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti was among local officials applauding the funding. Chiaravalloti represents the 31st Legislative District, which includes Bayonne.

“Today, Governor Phil Murphy and Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver announced $100 million in funding to be used toward electric school buses, electric municipal vehicles, charging stations and other such initiatives,” Chiaravalloti said. “I commend the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor and the First Lady on their commitment to achieve 100 percent clean energy by 2050.”

Chiaravalloti said that throughout the nine ports of Bayonne, Jersey City, Elizabeth and Newark, diesel traffic has created significant air pollution and environmental social justice concerns for the citizens in the surrounding communities.

“In 2016, I along with Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, introduced legislation that would establish a DEP program to reduce heavy-duty diesel truck emissions from trucks operating in these areas,” Chiaravalloti said.

He has supported green initiatives for decades.

“In the late 1990s, I worked on this issue as a student with the Rutgers Environmental Law Clinic, one of the nation’s first such programs,” Chiaravalloti said.

“Over twenty years later, I am happy to see that thanks to Governor Murphy’s commitment, these communities will finally see a reduction in hazardous air pollutants and a decrease in health risks.”

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.