NOVEMBER 17, 2022
Project to bring community revitalization, economic development, and clean transportation to the Hunts Point community in the Bronx
Bronx, NY– The New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA), in partnership with the New York State Department of Public Service (NYSDPS) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), has announced the selection of The Bronx is Breathing: Reimagining a Cleaner Hunts Point, a project conceptualized by Urban Health Plan, the Greater Hunts Point Economic Development Corporation and The Point Community Development Corporation, for a $10 million grand prize to advance plans to bring clean transportation solutions to New York State’s busiest trucking hub.
A collaboration with Volvo Group North America, along with Shell Recharge Solutions and deployment partners City Harvest and the Drivers Cooperative, the project will reduce air pollution, advance freight electrification, and support clean mobility in one of New York’s most underserved communities.
Historically, Hunts Point, located on a peninsula in the South Bronx, has faced many challenges including environmental inequity, economic insecurity, and poor health outcomes. Hunts Point is also home to one of the largest food distribution facilities in the world, which provides an estimated 25% of the city’s produce and five billion pounds of food to city restaurants, supermarkets, and bodegas.
One of the leading sources of PM 2.5, small airborne particles that affect the lungs and cardiovascular system, include trucks, buses, cars, and off-road vehicles, such as construction equipment. NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reports that public school students in Hunts Point and neighboring Mott Haven have the highest rates of childhood asthma in the city.
The Bronx is Breathing will address both public health challenges in Hunts Point as well as longstanding economic development imperatives and will feature the following three components:
See https://www.cleanneighborhoodschallenge.org/awardees/volvo-technology-of-america for a short video and overview.
“Urban Health Plan has a longstanding commitment to Hunts Point and we are excited to take part in this landmark project that will impact positive economic, social, and environmental changes. The Bronx is Breathing brings together local organizations that have a shared vision for the future of Hunts Point. This project is about addressing an economic and social justice issue that will result in improving the health of the community, increasing its economic development and revitalization, and will create a unique clean transportation infrastructure that will be a model for other communities facing similar challenges.”
Paloma Hernandez, President and CEO, Urban Health Plan, Inc.
“The POINT CDC is absolutely thrilled to have helped shape The Bronx is Breathing, a proposal to build a supportive ecosystem for electric trucks in New York’s busiest trucking hub and ensure that our community can share in the benefits of the transition to zero-emission freight. We have spent the better part of three decades sounding the alarm about the connection between respiratory health and diesel trucking in our neighborhood, mapping hotspots for harmful tailpipe emissions, and campaigning for truck routes that steer traffic away from homes, schools, and public parks. We are grateful that the NYC Clean Transportation Prize gives us an opportunity to envision an emissions-free distribution hub in Hunts Point and, more importantly, the means to implement it.”
Maria Torres, President & COO, The POINT CDC
“A hard truth about Hunts Point is that as the rest of the City gets quicker deliveries, more conveniences, and even greater access to the world’s finest bounty of fresh food from NYC’s wholesale markets, the Hunts Point community endures more tailpipe emissions. We can’t meaningfully reduce these emissions without first beginning to decarbonize the more than 15,000 truck trips that criss-cross Hunts Point each work day. The Bronx is Breathing is shaped by the fundamental aspirations of residents to breathe clean air and to participate meaningfully in a thriving local economy that has in large part bypassed them. A freight-focused public charging hub paired with two electric truck fleets– a worker-owned trucking cooperative and a non-profit food rescue organization–will seed Hunts Point’s EV ecosystem and help unlock the environmental and economic promise of the emerging clean transportation economy.”
Paul Lipson, Principal, Barretto Bay Strategies
“Beyond the clear air quality and public health benefits, The Bronx is Breathing promises to validate strategies for creating sustainable jobs and EV-related economic activity in under-resourced communities. In the near term, this approach can help seed Hunts Point’s EV ecosystem. In the longer term, it can offer policymakers a model to accelerate commercial EV adoption in similar communities, diminish health risks, and support economic self-determination.”
Don Eversley, Executive Director, Greater Hunts Point Economic Development Corporation