The chair of the New York state Assembly Committee on Transportation was in Plattsburgh Monday visiting the region’s transportation manufacturers. Officials wanted to highlight the opportunities for growth in green transportation initiatives.
On October 14th, Nova Bus announced next year it will begin manufacturing a new long range 100-percent electric bus that will be able to travel between 211 and 292 miles, depending on operating conditions, before needing a charge. That is one of the state-of-the-art transportation innovations that drew Assemblyman William Magnarelli to Plattsburgh to tour the two anchors of the region’s manufacturing cluster: Bombardier Rail and Nova Bus. “As chairman of the transportation committee we are involved with making sure that the people of New York state move as efficiently as possible and also as safely as possible. We also want to do it so that we save our environment and so it’s important that these facilities continue to excel and do the things they’re doing and continue to innovate because if they do we’re going to increase the capacity of these plants. We’re going to increase not only the safety and well-being of the people of the state of New York but we’re also going to increase the jobs in the North Country.”
The North Country Chamber and 115th District Democratic Assemblyman D. Billy Jones co-hosted the visit. Jones says it’s important to spread the word about the region’s manufacturing sector. “We supply a lot of goods and services to the rest of New York and to the rest of the country and the world quite frankly. And we do it right here in the North Country and we do a great job at that. We need to tell that story to the rest of the state and the rest of the country on what we do here in the North Country and the great workers that we have and what we can produce and how we can continue to do that. We want to grow upon that. We mentioned the green technology. The chair was very interested in hearing about the electrification of the busses here. So we’re moving forward in that as well.”
Magnarelli, a Democrat from the Syracuse area, says he was told people at Nova Bus are electric “geeks” and that sparked his interest. “What they’re doing in terms of battery development and longer lasting busses and short term busses and recharging busses is all very important to me because not only do we have commuter type of busses but we have city transit busses as well. So there are different needs. I was shown that there could be different solutions. And so I’m looking forward to see what comes out of this over the next few years. I mean these things are happening as we speak and I’m very excited about it and if we can help this trend move along into the green area I’m all for it.”
At the end of the formal press conference Chairman Magnerelli boarded a couple of the completed buses to try out the driver’s seat.
Nova Bus Vice President of Sales Ray Little says the importance of the transportation chair’s visit directly relates to employment at the plant. “Being able to share the information about our company and our products, that really we distribute all across the country and in Canada, is important so that he can relate funding decisions and lead decisions related to procurement of transit busses and motor coaches here in New York state. So here at Nova Bus we’re able to share our capabilities with respect to serving demand not just in New York state but across the country.”
Little adds that the local plant expects to begin production on the new all electric bus next year. “Our electric bus production does start next year and probably will add jobs to this factory. We’re at a really great intersect in the mass transportation industry right now. It’s the first major change that I’ve seen in 30 years and it’s an exciting time to be in the business.”
Nova Bus employs about 400 people at its Plattsburgh factory and about 200 at a direct sub-supplier. Nearly 620 buses are built at the plant annually.