CARB approves $363M plan that includes putting more clean vehicles in disadvantaged communities; low-carbon transportation, ZEVs, scrap-and-replace pilot
The California Air Resources Board has adopted a revised funding plan for proceeds from the cap-and-trade program that includes putting more clean vehicles in disadvantaged communities. The investments range from supporting increased numbers of zero-emission heavy-duty trucks and buses to rebates for low- and zero-emission passenger vehicles.
The revised plan for fiscal year 2016-17 keeps much of the original funding plan (approved in June 2016) intact while addressing the smaller budget appropriation of $363 million under AB 1613 and additional direction from the Legislature. Key highlights of the revised plan include:
$133 million to the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP), which offers up to $5,000 in vehicle rebates for the purchase or lease of new, eligible zero-emission and plug-in hybrid vehicles;
$80 million to light-duty vehicle pilot projects, including $60 million for air district-administered retire-and-replace pilot projects (double the amount called for in the original funding plan); and
$150 million for a range of heavy-duty vehicle and off-road equipment projects, including advanced technology demonstration projects, and providing zero-emission buses for transit agencies and rural school districts.
Investments in disadvantaged communities are designed to help lower-income residents living in areas of California affected most by air pollution afford the cleanest cars. The scrap-and-replace pilot projects—replacing older and dirtier cars with the very cleanest currently available—have been allocated $60 million, double the amount of funding in the earlier Board-approved plan. That will ensure existing programs in the San Joaquin Valley and South Coast air districts will have funding beyond this fiscal year, and provides for the expansion of similar programs to other interested air districts.
In addition, there is funding for other light-duty equity pilot projects ranging from vanpools for agricultural workers in the San Joaquin Valley, to financing assistance for lower-income consumers looking to get into clean vehicles.
The $133 million CVRP allocation, while less than the amount in the earlier Board-approved Funding Plan, is expected to meet demand through the fiscal year. (To date, the program has provided more than 160,000 rebates since its start in 2010.)
In order to make clean vehicles more accessible to a greater number of California drivers in communities that are highly impacted by air pollution, the rebate project will amplify the increased incentive levels for lower-income consumers by $500 and reduce high-income eligibility caps, as directed by SB 859. The changes apply statewide to consumers who purchase or lease rebate-eligible vehicles, effective 1 Nov. 2016.
As for heavy-duty vehicles and off-road equipment, the modified Funding Plan allocates $150 million for related projects, from a voucher incentive project to encourage commercial deployment of hybrid, low-NOx, and zero-emission trucks, buses and engines to large-scale pilot projects that encourage the commercialization of zero-emission trucks and buses.
The Board also voted to increase the maximum incentive amount for the Low NOx Engine Incentives with Renewable Fuel to $25,000 per truck.