CARB adds $11 million to port truck funding, Oakland strike averted

| 1/4/2010

The California Air Resources Board and a local air quality district have released an additional $11 million to help truck owners comply with a New Year’s Day deadline for California’s port drayage rule.

The new funding allocates $5,000 per truck toward the cost of retrofitting a diesel particulate filter for more than 1,200 trucks, as well as $50,000 toward the purchase of new trucks to replace 103 old trucks.

On Monday morning, Jan. 4, many California media outlets were reporting that port truckers and the Port of Oakland had agreed to a two-week extension for enforcement of the emissions rule. Both the new $11 million in funding and the enforcement delay are reportedly an attempt to prevent a strike by drivers at the Port of Oakland.

Written by the California Air Resources Board, the state Port Drayage Rule prohibited trucks with 1993 or older engines from entering ports and intermodal rail yards beginning on Jan. 1, 2010. Also on New Year’s Day, trucks with model year 1994-2003 engines must be equipped with a CARB-approved diesel particulate filter.

The CARB port rule is different from local port plans adopted by ports at Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland, which have their own equipment limits.

“In response to the request for a last minute reprieve, ARB and the District scoured all existing funds and were able to come up with an additional increment to ease the cost of compliance with this important public health rule,” CARB Chairman Mary Nichols said in a statement. “This funding will help the hundreds of truckers in the area who need a boost in cleaning up their trucks, create jobs in the green collar work force and, most importantly, provide crucial public health benefits.”

Any truck owner who was previously denied funding for DPF retrofits is invited to visit the Bay Area Air District’s Trucker Information Center office at 11 Burma Road in Oakland between 2:30 and 6 p.m. daily this week.

CARB estimates the average cost of a DPF retrofit to be $16,000.

In December, OOIDA asked CARB to delay enforcement of both the Port Drayage Rule and its newly enforced reefer rule, also known as the Transportation Refrigeration Unit rule.

California political leaders have acknowledged the down economy’s negative effect on small businesses.

“This announcement is a significant step in the right direction,” Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums said in a statement. “As our region continues to find solutions amidst a severe national recession, I am deeply appreciative of the state’s and local air district’s continued efforts to partner with our city.”

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer