Help for California drayage trucks nears passage

| 8/13/2010

Certain small-business trucking operations in California could soon have another opportunity to qualify for grants to bring their trucks into compliance with new emissions regulations.

The full Senate could soon vote on a bill that would make available $20 million for drayage trucks that have yet to comply with the California Air Resources Board’s drayage truck regulation. If approved by the Senate, the bill would advance to the Assembly.

A change made to the bill in recent days would route funds from the enhanced fleet modernization subaccount to the Air Resources Board for distribution. Previously, funds were to come from the state’s Air Quality Improvement Fund.

Until Jan. 1, 2013, funding would be available for fleets with three or fewer trucks that service the state’s ports and rail yards. Funding could only be used for the purchase of equipment that meets the 2007 model-year or newer engine standards.

The bill – SB1156 – is intended to address the economic difficulties truck drivers face complying with CARB standards. Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, said there is incentive money available in many areas of the state but none to cover the immediate cost of retrofitting to help meet compliance standards.

Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, also supports the bill.

“Independent truck operators are operating on limited sources of income. It is very difficult for them to retrofit their truck. It’s problematic at best. This is a good bill,” Pavley told lawmakers during recent discussion on the bill.

Cedillo said the bill would help address problems that are being caused by compliance issues.

“One of the problems is we have regulations that are chasing truckers out. Perhaps we should be funding compliance to preserve jobs and cleaning the environment,” he said during bill discussion.

If possible, Cedillo said he would be interested in opening the umbrella to include more truckers.

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– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

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