Truckers have 14-day comment period on CA emissions plan

| Thursday, February 14, 2008

California’s $1 billion plan to cut diesel emissions includes the promise of free money.

There is, of course, a catch: Trucks participating in the goods movement emission reduction program will be asked to install monitoring devices so state officials can track their whereabouts.

California is preparing to spend $1 billion to cut diesel emissions from the goods movement industry, including $400 million specifically for trucking.

Under the Proposition 1B program, local governments and other public entities may apply to CARB for funding that can in turn be given to replace or retrofit diesel truck engines, electrify truck stops, and go toward a variety of other emission sources tied to freight transportation.

Truckers and other interested parties have two weeks to comment on the plan, which will be considered formally by the California Air Resources Board on Feb. 28.

Predictably, CARB’s 151-page document, which outlines the agency’s proposed guidelines, contains several layers of red tape for distribution of the $1 billion among trucks and locomotives that travel on California’s most polluted four trade corridors.

A CARB spokeswoman told Land Line by e-mail that truck drivers should “go directly to one of the local agencies that were approved to receive funds from ARB.”

“Staff believes that only existing equipment that has been registered and operating in California for the last two years should be eligible for funding,” said Patricia Rey, a CARB spokeswoman.

Rey also wrote that “equipment funded by the bond needs to operate exclusively or nearly exclusively in California for between four and 20 years, depending on equipment type to ensure Californians realize the full benefits of their investment.”

CARB should decide and declare which public agencies will receive funds by spring 2008.

Bond funding for Prop 1B will typically cover one-third to one-half of the total project cost, with the remaining match paid by local agencies, ports or the equipment owner, Rey said.

CARB staff is considering “widespread use of electronic monitoring devices” on bond-funded equipment, the proposed program guidelines say. Such devices could include passive GPS systems that don’t track in real-time but require downloads, real-time GPS tracking devices, and radio-frequency identification.

Comments can be made by e-mailing gmbond@arb.ca.gov, by calling the Goods Movement Information Line at 916 44-GOODS (444-6637), or by mailing to:
            Goods Movement Emission Reduction Program
            Planning and Technical Support Division
            California Air Resources Board
            PO Box 2815
            Sacramento CA 95812

The proposed program guidelines call for marketing and outreach of the program to target independent owner-operator truck drivers.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer
charlie_morasch@landlinemag.com

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