California Earmarks $533 Million for Clean Transportation

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The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has approved a $533 million plan to fund clean car rebates, zero-emission transit and school buses, clean trucks, and other clean transportation and mobility pilot projects.

The proposed Fiscal Year 2019-20 Funding Plan for Clean Transportation Incentives, largely funded with cap-and-trade proceeds, is part of California’s comprehensive strategy for improving air quality and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions in the transportation sector. Of the $533 million total, $485 million comes from the cap-and-trade program; the remainder, $48 million, is from the Air Quality Improvement Program.

“California is backing up our tough vehicle pollution regulations with money to help individuals and businesses access the newest, cleanest technologies. It will take a mix of incentives and mandates to meet public health and climate goals,” says CARB’s chair, Mary D. Nichols said. “We need to speed up the pace of change, and these investments play an important role in assuring the state remains home to the nation’s largest fleet of advanced vehicles.”

Highlights of the plan include as follows:

  • $238 million for the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP), with a stipulation that $25 million be used to fund increased rebates for low-income consumers. CVRP offers rebates for the purchase or lease of new, eligible zero-emission vehicles, including electric, plug-in hybrid electric and fuel cell.
  • $182 million for clean trucks, buses and off-road freight equipment, including $142 million for the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) and $40 million for advanced technology demonstration and pilot projects in the heavy-duty sector.
  • $65 million for Clean Transportation Equity Projects to continue efforts to increase access to clean transportation and mobility options benefiting low-income communities and households. These include funding for existing projects such as Clean Cars 4 All, which provides incentives for lower-income drivers to scrap and replace older, high-polluting cars with zero- or near-zero-emission cars, and school bus replacements. Two new projects to increase outreach and support communities in their planning efforts also will receive funding.
  • $48 million in Air Quality Improvement Program funding to clean up heavy-duty truck emissions. Demand is expected to rise as a result of a new law that will only allow trucks that are compliant with California’s Truck and Bus Regulation to be registered by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The plan serves as a blueprint for expending funds appropriated to CARB in budget bills passed this year by the legislature and signed into law by California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Investments made in previous years’ funding plans have been “tremendously successful,” says CARB. As a result, two programs – CVRP and HVIP – have been oversubscribed. Now, changes to CVRP include a maximum base MSRP of $60,000 for vehicle eligibility. The board also took further action to limit plug-in hybrid electric vehicle eligibility to only those vehicles that achieve a minimum 35-mile electric range, as determined by CARB. The plan also graduates hybrid vehicles and 8.9-liter natural gas low-NOx engines out of HVIP.

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Steve Lund

I applaud your efforts to clean up the air in California. Your accent, however, on electric vehicles, should be reevaluated. There are presently heavy duty trucks, buses, garbage trucks, and delivery trucks that are powered by natural gas and RNG in California. RNG is actually a carbon NEGATIVE near zero emission fuel that uses captured methane from animal waste, sewage, and landfill gas that would otherwise be released to the atmosphere as Greenhouse Gases. There is NO presently commercially available heavy duty 18 wheeler electric truck. The production and disposal of the necessary batteries would be disastrous for the environment… Read more »