California Gov. Signs Bundle of Clean Transportation Bills into Law

On Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown, D-Calif., signed several bills to strengthen California’s zero- and near-zero-emission vehicle markets and accelerate the state’s transition away from fossil-fuel-powered engines.

For example, Brown signed A.B.739, which requires at least 15% of specified heavy-duty vehicles newly purchased by state agencies to be zero-emission vehicle (ZEVs) beginning in 2025 and at least 30% of those vehicles to be ZEVs beginning in 2030. The bill was authored by State Assemblymember Ed Chau, D-Monterey Park.

“With the federal government rolling back environmental protections and clean air regulations, it is more important than ever for California to step up and take a leading role in the fight against climate change,” says Chau in a press release. “I want to thank Governor Brown for continuing our efforts to curb climate change by signing A.B.739 into law, which will ensure that state agencies are procuring zero-emission vehicles for our larger truck and bus fleets.”

In 2012, Brown’s Executive Order B-16-2012 called for 1.5 million ZEVs to be on the road in California by 2025, as a means of helping the state reach its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals. Included as part of that order was a requirement that called for the state government to “increase the number of its zero-emission vehicles through the normal course of fleet replacement, so that at least 10 percent of fleet purchases of light-duty vehicles be zero-emission by 2015 and at least 25 percent of fleet purchases of light-duty vehicles be zero-emission by 2020.”

However, Chau says there was no mention of larger, heavier-duty trucks and buses.

“A.B.739 builds upon the 2012 executive order by setting procurement goals for our state’s heavy-duty vehicle fleet, which will help create jobs and a market that fosters heavy-duty ZEV development, provide for more fuel-efficient vehicles, and contribute to our GHG emission reduction goals, while improving public health,” concludes Chau.

Interestingly, Brown also signed S.B.498, a bill that boosts the state’s target for its light-duty fleet. The legislation will require at least 50% of the state’s light-duty vehicle fleet to be ZEVs by 2025, up from the current goal of 25% by 2020. According to bill author State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, S.B.498 also directs the California Air Resources Board to develop policies and programs that will increase ZEVs in private-sector fleets.

“What better way to jumpstart transportation electrification than fleets,” says Skinner in a press release. “Fleet owners purchase vehicles frequently and in large numbers. S.B.498 will help California get many more zero-emission vehicles on our roads.”

Skinner notes that S.B.498 was sponsored by NextGen America, a nonprofit headed by California businessman and philanthropist Tom Steyer. “Now more than ever, Californians deserve a state government that looks to the future and leads by example,” says Steyer.

According to the governor’s office, Brown also signed the following bills on Tuesday:

  • A.B.188 by Assemblymember Rudy Salas Jr., D-Bakersfield: Strengthens California’s program to remove the most polluting vehicles from the road by allowing certain light-duty trucks to qualify as a replacement vehicle so long as the truck meets higher vehicle efficiency standards.
  • A.B.544 by Assemblymember Richard H. Bloom, D-Santa Monica: Extends California’s program to allow certain clean alternative fuel vehicles to use high-occupancy vehicle (carpool) lanes.
  • A.B.615 by Assemblymember Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove: Extends the income caps for the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project to continue providing air quality and GHG reduction benefits through programs that encourage the purchase of ZEVs.
  • A.B.630 by Assemblymember Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove: Codifies a clean-car program that benefits low-income residents by helping them replace high-polluting vehicles with cleaner and more efficient vehicles.
  • A.B.1073 by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella: Extends the requirement for funding of early deployment of clean heavy-duty trucks as part of California’s Clean Truck, Bus and Off-Road Vehicle program.
  • A.B.1082 and A.B.1083 by Assemblymember Autumn R. Burke, D-Inglewood: Authorize pilot programs to allow for new electric vehicle charging stations at state parks and beaches. A signing message for those bills can be found here.
  • A.B.1274 by Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach: Temporarily expands the smog check exemption to vehicles eight model years old or newer while increasing the smog abatement fee to strengthen air quality programs.
  • A.B.1317 by Assemblymember Adam Gray, D-Merced: Adds stationary irrigation or water conveyance engines to the list of equipment eligible for air quality incentives.
  • A.B.1452 by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance: Authorizes local jurisdictions to dedicate on-street parking spaces on public streets for the exclusive purpose of charging a parked electric vehicle, provided appropriate signage is installed.

For full text of the bills, visit leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.

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