On Monday, February 4 Jersey Renews partnered with the Amalgamated Transit Union for the second year to celebrate Transit Equity Day. Together with Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh and allies like NJ Work Environment Council, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Environment New Jersey, Working Families, and Clean Water Action, Transit Equity Day is a national day of action organized by the Labor Network for Sustainability and regional transit unions.

Mayor Sayegh made a proclamation in favor of accessible and affordable public transit that is run on clean and renewable energy which would improve public health, create new jobs in the green energy sector, and mitigate climate change.

“I am thrilled to host so many partners at City Hall in Paterson on this important topic,” noted Mayor Andre Sayegh. “This environmental issue affects so many, but none more than the transit workers whose health is affected by air pollution caused by gasoline and diesel-powered vehicle emissions. We should all work toward the electrification of transportation and investments in clean, renewable energy, and that includes those of us on the municipal level. I am excited to meet further with our partners from Jersey Renews to discuss ways Paterson can secure funding to pilot electric vehicle use in our city fleet.”

As the timeframe for climate action narrows, it is essential that each sector takes on the responsibility of reducing emissions and ensuring a planet for future generations. Nearly 50% of greenhouse gas emissions in New Jersey come from the transportation sector with a majority being emitted from the standard family car. New Jersey is a state with lots of commuters and pollution from so many cars on the road can seriously increase the risk of lung and heart disease and exacerbate existing conditions. Unfortunately, there aren’t always good alternatives.

“More investment in public transit will give every person in every neighborhood regardless of age, race, class, gender, or disability the right to safe, convenient transportation at an affordable cost,” said Ray Greaves, Chairman and State Business Agent for ATU NJ.

Our urban transit systems have grown far worse in the past decades. For years, NJ Transit has struggled with underfunding and misallocation of funds as the infrastructure crumbled and services were reduced. NJ Transit needs to be adequately funded – and not on the backs of riders. Public transit fares should be fair and accessible to people of all income levels. By guaranteeing affordable public transit, New Jersey can encourage ridership and engage in one of the most effective strategies to reduce emissions – taking cars off the road.

“The majority of New Jersey buses are deployed in urban areas, where the air is already polluted from the ports, airports, and proximity to major highways. These buses, necessary to transport car-free urban dwellers, spew toxic air pollution throughout cities all day – directly harming the health of transit riders and workers,” said Norah Langweiler, Campaign Organizer for Jersey Renews. “By transitioning the public fleet of buses to run on renewable energy workers who build public transit infrastructure, operate and maintain systems, and get us where we need to go will have safer working conditions with less exposure to toxic pollution and communities will have cleaner air and better health outcomes.”


Media Coverage

Advocates Bring Calls for Clean, Affordable, and Reliable Public Transit to Paterson
TapInto Paterson, February 6, 2019

Transit Equity Rally in Paterson: Workers & Community Members
Advocate for Accessible Public Transit Run on Clean, Renewable Energy
InsiderNJ, February 4, 2019