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California Clean Tech Coalition Endorses "Transforming Trucking" Legislative Package

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Amid industry concerns about the cost impacts, a California clean tech coalition has announced support for an ambitious "transforming trucking" legislative package.

The national nonprofit CALSTART is hosting its California 2030 Summit for Clean Transportation in Sacramento today, with a goal of advancing bold measures to reduce the state's emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels, a legislative goal that dates back to 2006.

The summit, which features presentations from local and state government officials, as well as clean tech executives from companies including Uber and Tesla, is lending its support to a legislative package that many liken to California's watershed 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act. That law led to a series of rulings requiring diesel trucks and buses that operate in California to be upgraded to reduce emissions.

Senate Bills 44 and 210, and Assembly Bill 1411 would, respectively, set a 40 percent carbon emissions reduction goal for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by 2030, increased to 80 percent by 2050; establish smog check requirements for diesel trucks; and create a goal to make 200,000 zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and equipment by 2030.

"This package of bills is designed to support and drive investment into innovative clean vehicle technologies that support local jobs and fleets, while also accelerating the adoption of vehicles that help clean up our air," said John Boesel, president and CEO of CALSTART, in a statement.

Joe Rajkovacz, Director of Governmental Affairs and Communications for the Western States Trucking Association, said the association is not participating in the summit and that "a lot of our members consider [the legislation] a betrayal. They complied with the Truck and Bus rule and now face the specter of being told it's not enough."

California's Truck and Bus rule, which limits emissions, grew out of the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act.

The association is tracking the package closely, and "our lobbyist is telling us the bill has serious legislative legs," Rajkovacz noted. Should it pass, he expects the California Air Resources Board (CARB) will issue new rules further limiting diesel emissions, starting with urban and short-haul trucks, eventually expanding to include the long haul segment.

Opposition to the package does not mean the association is resisting the pull of new clean truck technologies. "Advanced zero emissions truck technology is very likely an impetus for this type of legislation," said Rajkovacz, who is headed to the Nikola World exhibition in Phoenix next month. "By 2030 we're going to see pretty significant penetration into the marketplace of these types of vehicles."

One of the association's biggest concerns, he said, is how the state will dole out funding to help smaller trucking companies upgrade their equipment.

With the Truck and Bus rule, "the majority of the public funding went to larger motor carriers, leaving many of our members aced out of any public funding. It was an absolute travesty. The large fleets were going to get new vehicles anyway, and they ended up getting paid for it.

"So we'll be pretty boisterous, should this pass, saying you have to be equitable."

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