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February 17, 2021 2:15 PM, EST

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy Announces $100 Million for Clean Transportation

New JerseyMurphy speaks at a pre-pandemic event. (Seth Wenig/Associated Press)

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced the investment of approximately $100 million in clean transportation projects, including an effort to deploy electric trucks.

The investment, announced Feb. 16, is meant to improve air quality and reduce the effects of climate change — contributing to New Jersey’s goal of 100% clean energy by 2050.

Specifically, the investment includes $9 million for the deployment of electric delivery and garbage trucks. The grant funding is directed to local government electrification projects that aim to improve air quality.

“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.”

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In order to reduce diesel and carbon emissions, $36 million was directed to electrifying ports, including cargo handling operations and other medium- and heavy-duty equipment in port facilities and industrial areas. Some $15 million will aid transit bus electrification, while $13 million in grants will support electric school and shuttle buses in low- and moderate-income communities.

Some $5 million in grants will bring electric vehicle ride-hailing services and charging stations to four New Jersey towns and cities. Another $5 million will aid in the deployment of charging infrastructure at 27 locations statewide.

The final $15 million will serve as “flex funding,” which is meant to be deployed as additional funding to these initiatives.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka commended the governor’s leadership on the investments, which he indicated will be important to building healthy communities.

“Transitioning our municipal fleet is one of many initiatives underway as we move Newark forward,” Baraka said. “Each diesel truck we keep out of our residential neighborhoods serves as a reminder to the broader truck-intensive industry of Newark’s commitments to accelerated climate action and environmental justice.”

The money was leveraged from proceeds from New Jersey’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative as well as Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust funds. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is a cooperative effort among Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia. The Environmental Mitigation Trust was established after Volkswagen installed defeat devices in certain diesel vehicles to cheat on emissions tests.

Murphy also signed an executive order establishing the Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy. Stationed within the governor’s office, it will concentrate on issues associated with climate change and a clean energy future while prioritizing equity and environmental justice. Jane Cohen, senior policy adviser to the governor on environment and energy, will lead the office as its executive director.

The Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy will oversee the creation of the New Jersey Council on the Green Economy. Within one year, the council is expected to deliver a report of its recommendations for a strategy that drives economic development, accelerates the growth of “green jobs” and support workers who have been displaced as the state transitions to a green economy.

“Addressing climate change requires bold and intentional government action,” Cohen said. “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.”

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