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California ARB holding Advanced Clean Transit Advisory Committee meeting in Jan; at work on regulatory proposal

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has tentaively scheduled the first Advanced Clean Transit Advisory Committee meeting for 29 January 2016 in Sacramento. The meeting will include a wide range of stakeholders such as technology providers, original equipment manufacturers, transit agencies, and other interested parties to discuss the current status of advanced technologies for reducing emissions from transit buses.

The focus of the Committee will be to discuss solutions and barriers to implementing zero and near-zero emission technologies in existing transit fleets and how to leverage continued advancements in accelerating the market for advanced technologies in the heavy duty sector.

Adopted in 2000, the Fleet Rule for Transit Agencies required reductions in diesel particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen emissions from urban buses and transit fleet vehicles, and required zero emission bus purchases for transit agencies with 200 or more urban buses.

Transit agencies that chose to follow the diesel path option were required to demonstrate zero-emission buses, with 15% of new buses purchased to be zero-emission beginning in 2008. For alternative path transit agencies, the 15% zero-emission bus purchase requirement was to begin in 2010. The rule was amended in 2006, to postpone the purchase requirement to 2011 for diesel path transit agencies, and 2012 for alternative path transit agencies, and to include an advanced demonstration from the diesel path transit agencies.

At the July 2009 Board meeting, through Resolution 09-49, the Board directed the Executive Officer to delay the zero-emission bus purchase requirement due to technology readiness concerns, and to conduct a technology assessment on the readiness of zero emission bus technologies before reinstating purchase requirements. In January 2010, ARB issued an advisory with the postponement of the purchase requirement for zero-emission buses.

In November 2015, ARB staff presented the technology assessment results of fuel cell electric vehicles, battery electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles, natural gas vehicles, and low NOx engines to the Board, with the commercialization stage of each technology highlighted.

Staff concluded that low-NOx engines will become commercially available soon and that zero emission buses are in the early commercialization phase and have similar performance and reliability as conventional buses. Therefore, staff is currently in the process of working with stakeholders to develop an Advanced Clean Transit proposal that will incorporate these advanced clean technologies while transitioning public transportation to zero emission technologies.

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