RELEASE: Gottheimer Announces Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill’s Investment in Electric Buses — Reduce U.S. Reliance on Russian Oil, Lower Gas Prices 

Mar 07, 2022
Press

Key to American energy independence and pollution reduction

Gottheimer to introduce bipartisan bill to ban Russian oil imports

Above: Gottheimer at the Route 17 Park and Ride in Ridgewood today.

RIDGEWOOD, NJ — Today, March 7, 2022, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) visited the Route 17 Park and Ride in Ridgewood to announce, as part of the recently-enacted Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, that NJ TRANSIT, school districts, and others across the New Jersey will be able to purchase low- and no-emission vans and buses, including electric buses, to help the Garden State combat pollution, reduce emissions, improve air quality, and — given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — reduce our dependence on foreign oil. 

Later today, Gottheimer is introducing bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives to ban the U.S. from importing Russian oil. 

In the coming days, the Federal Transit Administration will open applications for communities and transit agencies across the country — including in North Jersey — to help the state claw back federal dollars for low- and zero-emission buses. Over the span of five years, the historic, Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will invest more than $10 billion in federal grants to improve buses and bus stations, and grants for low and no-emission bus projects.

By diversifying our fleet to include electric buses, and taking an all-of-the-above approach to our domestic energy needs, we can help eliminate America’s reliance on oil from Russia, terrorist states, and other bad actor regimes — with the goal of becoming energy independent. America must stop funding bad regimes, including Putin’s Russia — and adopting Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructure, including public transit and school buses, is a step in doing so. It’s time to cut off ruthless dictators like Putin from American dollars. 

The Administration announced a global utilization of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve — 60 billion barrels — to help get gas prices globally down. Also, existing wells are coming back online in the United States — as we’ve seen now for 18 straight weeks. Overall, the number of active rigs is up more than 60% since this Administration came to office. This should all help relieve global gas prices.

Over the span of five years, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will:

  • Invest more than $10 billion in federal grants to improve buses and bus stations, and grants for low and no-emission bus projects;
  • Make key investments to build out a national network of EV chargers;
  • Deliver thousands of electric school buses nationwide, by investing $2.5 billion in zero emission buses, $2.5 billion in low emission buses, and $2.5 billion for ferries — helping school districts in North Jersey buy clean, American-made, zero emission buses, and replace the yellow school bus fleet for America’s children;
  • Drive demand for American-made batteries and vehicles, creating jobs and supporting domestic manufacturing, while also removing diesel buses;
  • Invest in workforce training to help workers gain the skills needed to maintain, repair, and operate this technology; and,
  • Help America achieve energy independence by diversifying our fleets, it will also reduce our need to purchase oil from bad regimes around the world.

In 2021, NJ TRANSIT clawed back more than $5 million to purchase electric buses to replace older diesel transit buses — enabling NJ TRANSIT to expand service without adversely impacting air quality in Northern New Jersey. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will expand this program to include more than $5.5 billion, for low- or no-emission bus projects across the country and here in New Jersey.

As Co-Chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus — a growing group made up of 29 Democrats and 29 Republicans in the House of Representatives, Gottheimer played a key role in helping shape and pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, with colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

“We can’t subsidize Putin’s war in Ukraine with American dollars. The Russians are killing innocent civilians, violating cease fires in refugee corridors, and escalating assaults,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “I’m also glad the President announced a global utilization of the Strategic Oil Reserve — 60 million barrels — to help get gas prices globally down.  Also, existing wells are coming back online in the United States — as we’ve seen now for 18 straight weeks. Overall, the number of active rigs is up more than 60% since this Administration came to office. This should all help relieve global gas prices.”

Gottheimer continued, “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will help us fix our crumbling roads, bridges, ports, airports, and rails, help build the Gateway Train Tunnel, clean our children’s drinking water, and invest in climate resiliency and electric vehicle infrastructure. Now, with today’s announcement, by investing in low-or-zero emission buses, we will take a critical step toward American energy independence, and cut off Putin’s largest revenue source. And it does all of this without raising taxes. I’m urging all transit agencies across North Jersey to apply for the federal investment for our buses and public transit — made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill — the greatest infrastructure investment in a century, and the largest investment in clean energy and Electric Vehicle infrastructure in history”

Nearly 270 million passengers a year — most of them North Jersey residents — take NJ TRANSIT buses all over the Tri-state area — with NJ TRANSIT operating more than 2,200 buses and 253 routes.

New Jersey relies on buses every day, but they unfortunately generate harmful air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions like CO2, nitrogen oxide, and diesel particulate matter into our air. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill investment in EV charging infrastructure and in EV buses will help to cut down pollution that gives our children asthma and hurts our health.

“Thank you to Congressman Gottheimer, not only because he has been such a great friend to the people of Bergen County, but he has also been just a tireless leader for us,” said Bergen County Commissioner Ramon Hache. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill is so crucial for us when we think about the condition of our roads, bridges, and tunnels, and all the things that come with it, not just the inconveniences, but also some of the hidden taxes that are embedded in the crumbling infrastructure, specifically the ‘Pothole Tax.’ This is a great investment in our infrastructure.”

Video of the announcement can be found here.

Gottheimer’s remarks as prepared for delivery: 

I’m here today at the Route 17 Park and Ride to announce, as part of the recently-enacted Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, that NJ TRANSIT, school districts, and others across the state will be able to purchase low and no emissions vans and buses, including electric buses, to help us right here to combat pollution, reduce emissions, improve air quality – and, what’s especially important right now, given the situation in Russia, reduce our dependence on foreign oil. That’s why later today I’m introducing bipartisan legislation to ban the U.S. from importing Russian oil.

In the coming days, the Federal Transit Administration will open applications for communities and transit agencies across the country — including right here in North Jersey — to help us claw back federal dollars for these new buses. Over the span of five years, this historic, bipartisan legislation will invest more than $10 billion in federal grants to improve buses and bus stations, and grants for low and no-emission bus projects.

By diversifying our fleet to include electric buses, and taking an all-of-the-above approach to our domestic energy needs, we can help eliminate America’s reliance on oil from Russia, terrorist states, and other bad actor regimes — with the goal of becoming energy independent. America needs to stop funding bad regimes, including Putin’s Russia — and adopting Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructure, including public transit and school buses, is a step in doing so. It’s time to cut off ruthless dictators like Putin from American dollars. 

We’ve already taken critical steps: the Commander-in-Chief has responded quickly and aggressively to this conflict, rallying together with our NATO and democratic allies, helping build an international coalition to counter Russia, support Ukraine, and protect democratic values.

We’ve already shut down Putin’s access to assets in the United States and sanctioned Russia’s major banks — important first steps, but, to truly deter Putin, we need to do more.

Later today, working closely with Republican Congressman and Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair Brian Fitzpatrick in the House, and Joe Manchin and Lisa Murkowski in the Senate, I’m introducing bipartisan legislation to ban the U.S. from importing Russian oil. We need to hit Putin where it hurts, and we must stop subsidizing his war by buying Russian oil. By banning the import of Russian oil here to the U.S., we have the opportunity to stick it to Putin, work with our allies to stabilize the energy market across the world, safeguard our nation’s energy security, and boost America’s energy independence. We can’t subsidize Putin’s war in Ukraine with American dollars. We must not. The Russians are killing innocent civilians, violating cease fires in refugee corridors, and escalating assaults.

That includes tapping our domestic energy supplies, and continuing to expand alternative sources, like wind and solar. I’m also glad the President announced a global utilization of the Strategic Oil Reserve — 60 billion barrels — to help get gas prices globally down.

Also, and this is very important, existing wells are coming back online. We’ve seen that now for 18 straight weeks. Wells are coming back online in the United States. Overall, the number of active rigs is up more than 60% since the Biden Administration came to office. This should all help relieve global gas prices. 

Banning Russian oil goes hand-in-hand with the infrastructure investment we’re highlighting today, because with more of New Jersey’s public transit converting to electric, and low-or-zero emission buses, we can transition away from foreign oil. That’s why I’m urging all transit agencies across North Jersey to apply for the federal investment for our buses and public transit — made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill — the greatest infrastructure investment in a century, and the largest investment in clean energy and Electric Vehicle infrastructure in history.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will help us fix our crumbling roads, bridges, ports, airports, and rails, help build the Gateway Train Tunnel, clean our children’s drinking water, and invest in climate resiliency and electric vehicle infrastructure. Now, with today’s announcement, by investing in low-or-zero emission buses, we will take a critical step toward American energy independence, and cut off Putin’s largest revenue source. And it does all of this without raising taxes. 

As Co-Chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus — a growing group made up of 29 Democrats and 29 Republicans in the House of Representatives, I am proud to have played a key role in helping shape and pass this legislation, with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. There is nothing partisan about investing in improving our infrastructure, ensuring our country and state have clean air and water for future generations, and standing up to Putin.

There’s no denying it: we are in the middle of a major climate crisis. It’s not something we can just ignore and hope will get better. Just look at the last few years — the unprecedented wildfires in California, Washington State, Montana, and Oregon. Record high temperatures and shorter winters. The rising water levels off the Jersey shore. The constant tornadoes off the southern coasts. Devastation from bad storms, like what we went through right here in North Jersey from Hurricane Ida last year. 

This is not a Republican or Democrat issue, it’s not a red or blue issue — it is simply the reality we are facing and something we must address — it’s an issue that affects every American. Every time we have a storm or a fire, it is costing insurers, taxpayers, small businesses, and families a fortune. People lose their homes, their businesses, communities literally burn to the ground or flood out. 

Transitioning to electric vehicles and infrastructure is critical to ensure there is clean air for our children and our grandchildren. But it’s a transition – we can’t cut off our nose to spite our face, especially with where energy prices are. I grew up in North Jersey — and anyone from the area knows how prevalent and important our bus system is. Every time you’re out, it’s hard not to see an NJ TRANSIT bus helping get people to where they need to go.  

Nearly 270 million passengers a year — most of them North Jersey residents — take NJ TRANSIT buses all over the Tri-state area, to and from school and work, to our countless shopping centers, and to New York City — with NJ TRANSIT operating more than 2,200 buses and 253 routes. 

When you think about it — North Jersey’s bus system is ingrained in our way of life. Just about every Jersey resident knows someone who has to take the bus into New York or around Bergen County for work, or who has taken their family into the city to visit Times Square or see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. 

While our state relies on buses every day, they unfortunately generate harmful air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions like CO2, nitrogen oxide, and diesel particulate matter into our air.  

That is why the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill investment in EV charging infrastructure and in EV buses is such a game-changer — helping to cut down pollution that gives our children asthma and hurts our health. There is also investment available for workforce training to help workers gain the skills needed to maintain, repair, and operate this technology.

In 2021, NJ TRANSIT received more than $5 million to purchase electric buses to replace older diesel transit buses — enabling NJ TRANSIT to expand service without adversely impacting air quality in Northern New Jersey. As I said earlier, the infrastructure bill will expand this program to include more than 5.5 billion dollars for low or no emissions bus projects across the country and here in Jersey. 

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill also makes key investments to build out a national network of EV chargers. The U.S. market share of plug-in EV sales is only one-third the size of the Chinese EV market. The bill not only helps with EV projects for NJ TRANSIT buses, but also will deliver thousands of electric school buses nationwide — helping school districts in North Jersey buy clean, American-made, zero emission buses, and replace the yellow school bus fleet for America’s children. The law invests $2.5 billion in zero emission buses, $2.5 billion in low emission buses, and $2.5 billion for ferries. 

These investments will drive demand for American-made batteries and vehicles, creating jobs and supporting domestic manufacturing, while also removing diesel buses. In addition, they will help the more than 25 million children and thousands of bus drivers who breathe polluted air on their rides to and from school. Diesel air pollution is linked to asthma and other health problems that hurt our communities and cause students to miss school. And, as I’ve said time and time again, fighting for clean air is something we should all come together around.

I want to highlight that this once-in-a-century legislation is a great example of how our government is supposed to work: coming together, across party lines, to get things done for our families, for local communities, and for our nation.

By helping us achieve energy independence by diversifying our fleets, it will also reduce our need to purchase oil from bad regimes around the world. We must ban Russian oil to help put a stop to this horrifying war, and an all-of the-above approach to energy, coupled with smart investments in electric vehicles and infrastructure, can help us move away from our reliance on Russia and other bad regimes. 

By all of us working together, at every level, here in the greatest country in the world, I know that our best days will always be ahead of us.

Thank you, God bless you, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

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