Ulster County, NY...State Senator Jen Metzger (SD-42) today joined local and county government, community, and business leaders to cut the ribbon for the Town of Gardiner's new electric vehicle (EV) charging station, installed in the Gardiner Library parking lot adjacent to the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail. Town Supervisor Marybeth Majestic, Ulster County Legislator Tracey Bartels, and Climate Smart Gardiner Task Force member Holly Shader were among the other speakers at the event, which showcased the Town's efforts to fight climate change.
Senator Metzger has been a leading proponent in the State Senate for shifting to a clean energy economy, and has introduced a package of bills to accelerate adoption of EVs in New York. The transportation sector accounts for the largest share of New York's greenhouse gas emissions, the main cause of climate change. In December, the Governor signed into law Metzger's bill (S5820) directing the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to identify areas across the state where EV infrastructure is insufficient and develop a plan to close the gaps. The legislation will help New York meet the ambitious goals of the state's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030, and 85 percent by 2050.
Prior to joining the State Senate, Metzger led efforts as a Town Councilwoman to install two public EV charging stations in the Town of Rosendale, and provided guidance to other towns, including Gardiner, to help them do the same. The towns received funding through the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation's Municipal Zero-emission Vehicle (ZEV) Rebate and Infrastructure Grant program, which continues to offer grants to municipalities for EV infrastructure as well as for municipal electric vehicles.
“I am thrilled to see this project come to fruition, and I encourage other towns and villages in our region to take advantage of this grant program and install public EV chargers in their communities,” said Senator Metzger, who drives a fully electric Chevy Bolt. “It makes good climate sense and it makes good economic sense, because EV drivers will choose towns to visit and vacation that have the necessary infrastructure.”
Gardiner's charging station will be free to the public for the first two years, thanks to sponsorship of the electricity by local businesses, including SkyDive the Ranch, Gardiner Liquid Mercantile, Majestic's Hardware, and Cafe Mio.
Holly Shader, member of the Climate Smart Gardiner Task Force said, “I would not have even thought about writing the grant for the charging station had Senator Metzger not generously shared her application with Climate Smart Gardiner. She is such a hard working champion for the people of New York and for the environment!”
Marybeth Majestic, Gardiner Town Supervisor said, "Although it was over two years in the making, it was well worth the wait. We couldn't have done it without the Climate Smart Task Force."
Tracey Bartels, Deputy Chair of the Ulster County Legislature said, "Ulster County has long been a leader in environmental issues. Ulster County was the first county to achieve Silver Climate Smart Community certification a full two years before any other county. Goals set by the state require participation at the local level. Local infrastructure adds to state infrastructure. People make travel decisions based on charging options. As more charging options become available, more people will be encouraged to consider EV purchases."
Jen Metzger represents the 42nd Senate District, which includes all of Sullivan County and parts of Delaware, Orange, and Ulster Counties. Senator Metzger serves as Chair of the Agriculture Committee and sits on the Environmental Conservation, Education, Health, Energy and Telecommunications, Local Government, Women’s Issues, Domestic Animal Welfare, and Legislative Commission on Rural Resources Committees.