NY AG sues school bus companies over idling, air pollution

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New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed suit against three school bus companies for allegedly breaking local laws against idling and causing “widespread air pollution” on city streets, her office announced Thursday.

Drivers for the companies — which are contracted to transport Big Apple public school students — were allowed to illegally idle near schools and in other locations around the city, according to the lawsuit filed in Brooklyn Supreme Court Wednesday.

From 2019 through April of this year, the buses “repeatedly and persistently” idled, parking primarily in low-income neighborhoods and in areas of communities of color and polluting the air there, the suit alleges.

State law bars idling for more than five minutes and city law limits idling to three minutes in the five boroughs and one minute near schools.

The companies, Jofaz Transportation, Inc., 3rd Avenue Transit, Inc and Y & M Transit Corp., – all owned by Joseph Fazzia and his family – continued to allow its drivers to idle despite a previous settlement they reached with James’ office, the AG claimed.

In one instance, 30 different Jofaz buses idled near a Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn elementary school for at least 10 minutes 285 times in 65 days, the filing states.

New York Attorney General Letitia James
New York Attorney General Letitia James is suing three school bus companies for breaking idling laws and causing “widespread air pollution.”
Paul Martinka
School buses
The lawsuit claims buses from the companies “repeatedly and persistently” idled in primarily low-income neighborhoods throughout the city.
J.C.Rice

“These school bus companies have a responsibility to follow the laws that help protect the health and the safety of our communities and the environment,” James said in a statement. “Too often, we see companies emit these dangerous pollutants in low-income communities or communities of color without consequence.”

The suit seeks money penalties and a court order forcing the companies to comply with the laws and properly educate their drivers.

Jofaz is the bus company that operates a route for disabled kids in Brooklyn that was plagued with delays last month, allegedly causing students to be absent or chronically late to school.

Letitia James
James said in a statement that the companies have a responsibility to follow laws that “protect the health and the safety of our communities and the environment.”
Paul Martinka

The Department of Environmental Conservation brought violations against Jofaz in 2010 for violating idling laws and emitting car exhaust chemicals near a public park and the waterfront in Red Hook.

Fazzia, the owner, was also charged in 2008 for lying to the FBI about allegations that he paid off mob-controlled unions that rep school bus drivers.

A person who answered a call at a number for all three companies hung up when The Post sought comment Thursday.

Additional reporting by Cayla Bamberger



Read More:NY AG sues school bus companies over idling, air pollution

2022-05-12 19:38:00

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