Flood Reflects on Environmental Conservation Budget Hearing

Assemblyman Ed Flood (R,C-Port Jefferson), a member of the Environmental Conservation Committee, joined the Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Environmental Conservation on Wednesday, February 7, 2024. New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) President and Chief of Operations, Doreen Harris, attended the hearing along with Senators, Assemblymembers and environmental advocates from across the state.

Flood raised a question to the panel about the transition to electric school buses and the timeline given to allow schools to upgrade their fleets. According to Harris, the current requirement is set for 2027 for the purchase of zero-emission buses. As of now, the Bond Act and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can fund up to 3,000 school buses, the chargers for the vehicles and transition planning. There are roughly 45,000 buses statewide, which means the funding from the EPA and the Bond Act would only cover about 7% of the costs. Meanwhile, each bus costs about $400,000 and a battery replacement is between $40,000 and $60,000. Gov. Hochul proposed a school aid increase in her Executive Budget proposal; however, many suburban and rural areas may experience massive foundation aid cuts.

β€œI am deeply concerned about the financial impact this transition to electric school buses will have on schools across the state, especially in school districts that may lose state funding,” said Flood. β€œIn addition to the fiscal concerns, it has not been proven the batteries can withstand extreme temperatures as we saw in Chicago and San Francisco. The safety of our children and bus drivers should be a priority during this process and based on the information and examples from other areas in which this was implemented, I believe this process should not be rushed so proper research and planning can be done.”

***You can view Flood speaking at the Joint Legislative Budget Hearing here. ***