Senate Passes Hinchey Bill to Help Local Governments Electrify Municipal Fleets

ALBANY, NY – Today, the New York State Senate voted unanimously to pass Senator Michelle Hinchey’s bill (S4092) to increase the rebate for municipalities to purchase clean energy vehicles through the state’s Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) rebate program. The bill raises both the floor and ceiling of rebates from a minimum of $750 to $1,500 and a maximum rebate from $5,000 to $7,500--a change that will greatly help municipalities, which are currently ineligible for federal tax incentives for the purchase of zero-emission or hybrid vehicles, electrify their fleets and assist the state in meeting its greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.

“Electric vehicles provide a unique opportunity for New York to significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and protect the health of our communities and our planet,” said Senator Michelle Hinchey. “New York already leads the nation in our commitment to fighting climate change, and this legislation is the latest example of our efforts to create logical and affordable solutions at the local level. Every municipality that wants to green its fleets should have the opportunity to do so, but with limited revenue, these upfront investments are difficult to undertake. Creating larger municipal rebates is an important step that will help propel us toward a more stable climate, cleaner air, and a much-needed transition to pollution-free vehicles.”

Hinchey continued, “I want to recognize former State Senator Jen Metzger, who first introduced this bill in 2019 and whose strong and creative environmental leadership to accelerate the shift to EVs lives on with the passage of this bill.”

Transportation is the largest source of climate-destabilizing emissions in the country, and in New York accounts for more than a third of greenhouse gas emissions. The overall shift to clean vehicles will be essential to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050--ambitious targets set by the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

"I want to thank Senator Hinchey for championing this legislation, which will help move the needle in a big way to electrify municipal fleets," said former State Senator Jen Metzger, who first introduced the bill in 2019. "The larger municipal rebates will make it financially feasible for resource-strapped local governments to invest in clean vehicles, enabling them to reduce climate-damaging emissions and to model the value of electric vehicles for the wider community." 

Stephen Acquario, New York State Association of Counties Executive Director, said, “Counties are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping the state meet its ambitious clean energy goals. This legislation is a win-win-win for the environment, for the state and for local governments as it provides counties with the financial incentive needed to convert their substantial fleets to zero-emission electric vehicles at minimal cost to the state. We applaud Senator Hinchey and Leader Stewart-Cousins for recognizing counties’ key role in fighting climate change and urge the Assembly to swiftly pass this legislation so we can further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create cleaner, more sustainable communities."

Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan said, "Climate change poses an existential threat to our community and I am thankful to Senator Hinchey for moving this legislation forward that will help support local clean vehicles. Defending and protecting our environment and introducing innovative ways to address the climate crisis is one of my top priorities and supporting zero-emission vehicles is an important step forward towards a greener, more sustainable future here in Ulster County and beyond."

Senator Hinchey’s bill will also assist municipal eligibility with the Clean Energy Communities (CEC) program offered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and help grow the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Climate Smart Communities (CSC) program, which provides guidance and technical support to help municipalities advance community goals to implement projects focused on climate change adaptation and greenhouse gas mitigation. The companion bill in the Assembly is sponsored by Assemblymember Carrie Woerner, who represents the 113th District.