The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has launched a $44 million voucher program aimed at accelerating the deployment of zero-emission off-road freight equipment used at ports, distribution centers, airports and rail yards.
Funded by California Climate Investments (CCI), a statewide initiative that invests billions of cap-and-trade dollars into projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Clean Off-Road Equipment Voucher Incentive Project (CORE) aims to clean up one of the state's biggest economic sectors that is still reliant on heavy, fossil-fuel-powered equipment.
"The launch of CORE represents an instrumental cost-reduction program for zero-emission off-road freight technologies in our communities most burdened by air pollution," said San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, a member of CARB and the San Diego Air Pollution Control District, in a release.
CORE kicked off Friday with a showcase event at the Port of San Diego, one of 10 California communities to be included in an air quality monitoring and cleanup program through CARB's Community Air Protection Program.
Modeled after CARB's Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP), CORE provides eligible businesses with point-of-sale discounts of up to $500,000.
Additional funding is available for buyers and lessees who deploy clean technology in disadvantaged communities overburdened by pollution. CORE also provides financial support for infrastructure, such as chargers or hydrogen fueling.
"For buyers, using CORE's incentives means that equipment with no pollution will cost about the same as the polluting alternatives," said Bill Van Amburg, executive vice president of CALSTART, CORE's project administrator, in the release.
Helping users to buy clean equipment will boost earlier demand to increase volumes and reduce costs, as well as spur investment and innovation by manufacturers and keep California's clean economy growing, Van Amburg said.
In California, traditional fossil fuel-powered off-road equipment emits over five million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent every year — roughly the same amount of emissions produced by one million passenger vehicles driven for a full year.
While goods movement hubs like ports, airports, distribution centers and rail yards are economic drivers, they have heavy equipment with long operating lives that are large emitters of pollution.
"This project will reduce air pollution from goods movement equipment and benefit our residents, especially those who live and work near San Diego's ports," said Robert Kard, Air Pollution Control Officer of the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District.
Starting Feb. 3, prospective buyers and lessees — such as freight operators, cargo airlines, wholesalers and retailers with distribution centers — will be able to shop from an online catalog of eligible off-road equipment at www.CaliforniaCORE.org.
Manufacturers and dealers handle the paperwork, and CORE reimburses the vendors once equipment is delivered to customers.
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