The California Air Resources Board and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District freed up an additional $3 million in grants for truckers and small businesses to comply with the 1 January deadline for the state’s port truck rule that will reduce toxic diesel emissions in and around port communities.
Truckers who made timely application for retrofit funding to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District but were denied when the money ran out, and who will be unable to enter the port when the new rule goes into effect, may be eligible for the grants. Those who meet all of the Proposition 1B eligibility criteria will receive an extension (expected in February) to operate their trucks at ports and rail yards until 30 April.
ARB will continue to work with the Bay Area District to allocate the additional voter-approved Proposition 1B funding to eligible truckers. The new funding will provide $5,000 per truck toward the cost of retrofitting the vehicle with a diesel soot filter, with a goal of cleaning up an additional 580 trucks operating at the Port of Oakland over the next four months. The air regulators will also continue to talk with particulate filter retrofit manufacturers about offering truckers flexible payment plans for the remaining costs of the devices that are not covered by the grants.
The average cost of a particulate matter filter is $16,000, with the devices removing 85% of the diesel emissions from older trucks. With the new announcement, state, local and federal air agencies and ports now have provided $25 million in funding to help clean up more than 1,500 trucks at the Port of Oakland. Overall, ARB, local air districts, ports and the US EPA have contributed more than $188 million statewide to clean up port trucks in advance of the Jan. 1 deadline, half of which came from voter-approved Proposition 1B funds.
ARB passed the port truck rule in December 2007, which requires truck owners operating in and out of ports and intermodal rail yards to retrofit and replace their trucks over the next several years. ARB estimates that the regulation will prevent 580 premature deaths over the next five years, with benefits being the most dramatic in the communities where port trucks are heavily concentrated.
ARB passed an additional rule last December that will clean up the remaining truck fleet operating in California estimated at one million vehicles.