$70M in RGGI proceeds to fund NJ’s electric public transportation initiatives

Matthew Fazelpoor//March 31, 2023

Electric vehicle charging station
Electric vehicle charging station

$70M in RGGI proceeds to fund NJ’s electric public transportation initiatives

Matthew Fazelpoor//March 31, 2023

The state announced March 30 that $70 million in Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) auction proceeds will fund public transportation initiatives, helping to reduce the upfront costs of electric trucks, buses and equipment in overburdened communities.

RGGI is a cap-and-trade pact among 11 northeastern states dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. New Jersey rejoined RGGI in January 2020 after leaving the pact in May 2011 under the Gov. Chris Christie administration.

During last month’s budget address, Gov. Phil Murphy made mention, laced with criticism, of that decision.

“Leaving RGGI was a failure of leadership. It was a fiscal failure that cost us nearly $280 million,” said Murphy. “We’ve only been back in RGGI for three full years. In this time alone, we have pulled in more than $365 million. And we’re putting this money to work to build a more sustainable and resilient future for our kids and grandkids, and those who will follow.”

The $70 million announced Thursday will go toward the purchase of 156 electric vehicles that will operate in nearly 20 overburdened Garden State communities, including: 114 school buses; eight garbage and dump trucks; 26 shuttle and transit buses; and four forklifts.

The proceeds will also fund four projects to bring electric ride-sharing options to communities that lack access to reliable transportation.

‘Critical investments’

The Murphy Administration says the announcement builds on more than $240 million awarded statewide since 2019 toward electric vehicles and charging stations.

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EV charging station

“This budget will also invest state and federal funds, along with our proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, to make critical investments that will make our state more sustainable and resilient to climate change and move us toward securing our long-term clean energy goals,” Murphy said of RGGI during his February budget address.

The state also released the 2023-2025 RGGI Auction Proceeds Scoping Document, which outlines potential initiatives that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, and New Jersey Economic Development Authority could each sponsor during that 2023-2025 funding cycle.

The agencies are seeking public feedback on prospective initiatives with a series of interactive public workshops scheduled for April 4, 11, 13 and 18 to collect input.

The Strategic Funding Plan is reviewed every three years and updated to reflect alignment with the administration’s clean energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals. More than $100 million in proceeds were distributed across the state during the 2022-2022 funding cycle.

A complete list of the projects funded with this $70 million round of RGGI proceeds can be found here.