New York is closing out 2021 with a big climate and clean air win—becoming the fifth state in the country to adopt the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) rule. As I have written previously, New York needed to adopt the ACT rule by the end of the year in order to ensure that clean, zero-emission trucks and buses were driving on New York’s roads as soon as possible—and they’ve done just that.
Governor Hochul’s announcement that New York adopted the ACT rule ensures that over $19 billion in net societal benefits will come to New Yorkers through 2050 and provide clean air and health benefits to the state for decades to come.
The ACT rule will also help the state to achieve the ambitious goals of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) by requiring truck manufacturers to sell an increasing number of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), reaching as much as 40-75 percent of new sales, depending on the type of truck. The Climate Action Council—who is tasked with developing a plan and pathway to achieve the goals of the CLCPA—explicitly called on the state to adopt the rule as a key step towards zeroing out population in the transportation sector.
While adopting the ACT rule is a vital step, additional complementary actions are needed to target ZEV deployment and benefits to communities suffering a disproportionate share of transportation pollution and are often communities of color and low-income communities. This includes, among other things, adopting the Heavy-Duty Omnibus (HDO) rule and fleet purchase requirements, as well as working with impacted communities to develop programs such as zero-emission zones, targeted incentive programs, and mandatory emissions reductions in environmental justice (EJ) communities.
New York’s Clean Transportation Leadership
Adoption of the ACT rule comes on the heels of other New York programs and policies that will further help the transition to a zero-emission future. In 2020, the Department of Public Service announced an East-Coast leading investment of $701 million to help support the build out of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, including funding for fleets and truck electrification. However, there are still opportunities for the state’s utilities to further support the adoption of electric trucks and buses and to ensure that they are charging in a manner that maximizes the benefits to all customers, fleets, and the electric grid. Additionally, the state’s successful Clean Truck Voucher Incentive Program helps offset the upfront cost of the vehicles, making them more affordable for fleets to purchase.
Driving Towards a Zero-Emission Future
Now that New York has a guaranteed minimum supply of ZEVs, additional policies are needed to direct benefits to EJ communities and accelerate the transition to 100% ZEVs. New York’s next big opportunity involves adopting the HDO rule, fleet purchase requirements, and charging infrastructure buildout. Further, federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funding coming to New York must prioritize ZEV deployment—particularly where the vehicles can have the biggest public health impact.
New York ended the year with a major victory—but now it’s key that the state keep the momentum going into 2022 to zero out transportation pollution and adequately address the urgent climate and clean air crises.