Innovative Proposals Sought to Help Advance Transportation Solutions that Reduce Air Pollution in Disadvantaged Communities in New York State

April 20, 2021

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of the New York Clean Transportation Prizes program offering up to $85 million through three competitions for innovative global solutions to enhance clean transportation and mobility options and reduce harmful emissions across New York State with a focus on underserved communities. The competitions include the Clean Neighborhoods Challenge, the Electric Mobility Challenge and the Electric Truck & Bus Challenge, with each run in two phases. Today's announcement supports Governor Cuomo's nation-leading clean energy and climate goals in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

"Supporting pioneering clean transportation and mobility solutions is imperative in our fight against climate change and our goal of electrifying the transportation sector," Governor Cuomo said. "This initiative helps to leverage forward-thinking strategies and enables clean transportation options in all communities to fight inequality. The competing teams will advance their most transformative ideas to lower carbon emissions, improve air quality, and create a lasting impact that benefits all New Yorkers."

Applicants for the Clean Transportation Prizes competitions must register by July 22, 2021, to be eligible to submit proposals for the following Clean Transportation Prize competitions:

  • Clean Neighborhoods Challenge - Up to three $10 million grand prizes will be awarded to innovative projects that address air pollution reduction at scale in disadvantaged communities. The Clean Neighborhoods Challenge submission deadline is Tuesday, August 24, 2021.
  • Electric Mobility Challenge - Up to three $7 million grand prizes will be awarded to projects that demonstrate innovative safe and convenient electric mobility options that help to solve disadvantaged community transportation needs. The Electric Mobility Challenge submission deadline is Wednesday, August 25, 2021.
  • Electric Truck & Bus Challenge - Up to three $8 million grand prizes will be awarded to projects that demonstrate electrified solutions to the deployment of medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles or their replacement through other electrified transportation modes. The Electric Truck & Bus Challenge submission deadline is Thursday, August 26, 2021.

"As we focus on our economic recovery for the post-pandemic future we must confront the effects of climate change that threaten our communities," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "The Clean Transportation Prizes Initiative will bring together the brightest minds to boost clean energy and reduce air pollution in disadvantaged communities, and is an example of New York's commitment to building a greener, more resilient future."

President and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority Doreen M. Harris said, "Sustainable clean transportation options both enhance the quality of life in underserved communities and also support access to jobs, essential services and other beneficial travel. Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, the New York Clean Transportation Prizes program will engage global innovators, transportation experts, and other stakeholders to build innovative, replicable solutions that increase transportation options while helping meet our state's clean energy agenda."

An independent pool of global experts will help New York State assess applications and help guide the project selection process through different phases of the competition.

Under the first phase of the program, projects selected and located in one of the six New York State Investor-Owned UtilityLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. territories will be eligible to receive the following award package:

  • A $100,000 planning grant
  • Up to $50,000 in funding for community partners
  • Up to $50,000 in-kind support from NYSERDA provided expert consultants
  • Additional support services for project management, community engagement, and measurement and verification

Partnering in the program, the Long Island Power Authority is making one award per challenge available during the first phase will also fund up to one grand prize of up to $10 million on Long Island, subject to the availability of funds. Proposals from LIPA's territory will be eligible for similar support throughout phase one and will submit proposals on the same timelines. Outside of the IOU and LIPA service territories, proposals are eligible to receive up to $50,000 of in-kind support from consultants plus additional support services. These proposals will also be marketed to potential funding partners but are not eligible for monetary awards through this program.

Up to 15 projects within the IOU territories and up to three on Long Island could be awarded funding during the first phase. In the first phase, proposals will be selected by winter 2021-2022, final proposals will be submitted by spring 2022 as part of the second phase and grand prizes to be selected in summer 2022.

The Clean Transportation Prizes website offers potential applicants resources such as playbooks, reports and datasets to help inspire creative solutions to transportation challenges. The website also provides details on upcoming educational webinars beginning in May.

The New York Clean Transportation Prizes program is administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority in partnership with the New York State Department of Public Service and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), as part of an $85 million allocation through New York's Make Ready program to accelerate the transition to a clean transportation future. The Make Ready program is funded by investor-owned utilities in New York State to boost access to charging stations, EV infrastructure, and other clean transportation options, and support equitable access and benefits for lower-socioeconomic and disadvantaged communities.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "The transportation sector currently represents New York's largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, making electrifying transportation critical both to achieve the State's aggressive clean energy and climate goals and to improve the health of disadvantaged communities overburdened by vehicle pollution. The New York Clean Transportation Prizes program launched today will drive innovative and equitable solutions to accelerate the state's transition to a clean transportation future and put New York on the road to energy independence and environmental and economic recovery."

New York State Public Service Commission Chair John B. Howard said, "Under the nation-leading initiatives directed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, we must rapidly electrify our transportation system in order to achieve a carbon-neutral economy. With these smart investments, we ensure disadvantaged communities in New York State and communities throughout New York receive direct benefits through innovative and equitable electric transportation solutions."

Senator and Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee Tim Kennedy said, "When we think about the future of transportation in New York State, it's essential that we cultivate sustainable, innovative approaches that will not only advance our state's progressive agenda, but that will continue to underscore our commitment to high quality transit and a greener, environmentally-just New York. NYSERDA's New York Clean Transportation Prizes will offer a competitive platform for this transformative vision, and I look forward to seeing these ideas play a key role in fueling more ecologically sound communities."

Senator and Chair of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee Kevin Parker said, "As the Chair of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee I applaud NYSERDA and Governor Cuomo for pushing this initiative which will work to advance transportation solutions that will work to reduce air pollution in disadvantaged communities here in New York State. As we move to a clean energy economy this initiative will benefit our state as a whole and help propel opportunities for Black and Brown communities."

Assembly Member and Chair of the Committee on Transportation William Magnarelli said, "New York State has created nation-leading efforts on climate and clean energy goals, while protecting our communities and natural resources. One of the most impactful goals is to invest in high quality, high frequency public transportation services. Sponsoring this initiative is a great step towards zero-emission transportation. Reducing our carbon footprint and emphasizing clean renewable energy sources is beneficial to all of us."

Assembly Member and Chair of the Assembly Energy Committee Michael Cusick said, "Transportation is one of the most critical areas where we can significantly reduce our greenhouse emissions. This initiative is a unique and creative opportunity for progress in the ongoing challenge of decarbonizing our transportation sector."

Long Island Power Authority Chief Executive Officer Thomas Falcone said, "Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, New York State is truly a clean energy leader and is setting a high standard as we navigate to a carbon-free future. The Clean Energy Transportation Prize competitions will benefit disadvantaged communities and our climate as we continue to build a strong green economy in New York."

Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy Anne Reynolds said, "Our industry welcomes New York's three clean transportation competitions. By harnessing innovation and their competitive spirit, companies can show that while you are reducing pollution from transportation you can also provide cleaner air and better transit options to New York's neighborhoods, and find creative ways to move freight or people. We are excited to see the winning innovations that result."

President of the New York League of Conservation Voters Julie Tighe said, "In order to avert a climate crisis, we need to address transportation - the leading contributor to emissions in the state and nationwide. The New York Clean Transportation Prizes program will invest in clean transportation, including electric trucks and buses, and reduce pollution while prioritizing disadvantaged communities. We thank NYSERDA for putting together this program and leading the way on electrification."

The transportation sector is responsible for the largest contribution to greenhouse gas pollution in the U.S., with these emissions increasing more than any other sector over the last 30 years. Announced in July 2020 by Governor Cuomo under the $701 Make Ready Initiative to advance electric vehicle infrastructure, the Clean Transportation Prizes program accelerates the transition to cleaner mobility through planning grants and community outreach and engagement resources to help identify ways to overcome persistent transportation challenges, including those faced by disadvantaged communities.

New York State's $1 billion investment in electrifying New York's transportation sector is growing access and availability to clean transit and electric transportation to benefit all New Yorkers, including those in low-income or disadvantaged areas, by reducing emissions to create cleaner air and healthier communities. The state's nation-leading initiatives improve clean mobility, boost electric vehicle choice and increase the number of charging stations under programs including Make Ready, EVolve NY, and Charge NY. Governor Cuomo has also pledged to electrify the transit bus fleets of the five largest upstate and suburban transit authorities — which currently operate 1,400 transit buses — by 2035.

To learn more about the three competitions, register for webinars, or submit a proposal, visit the Clean Transportation Prizes websiteLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page..

New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan

Governor Cuomo's nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieving its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality.

It builds on New York's unprecedented ramp-up of clean energy including over $4 billion invested in 91 large-scale renewable projects across the state, supporting more than 150,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector in 2019, a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035, and 1,800 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011.

Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities and advancing progress towards the state's 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.