CARB Lays Out Proposed Innovative Clean Transit Regulation

On Monday, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) rolled out a draft proposal of its Innovative Clean Transit (ICT) regulation, which is part of CARB’s strategy to transition the state’s heavy-duty mobile source sector to zero- and near-zero-emission solutions.

According to the agency, the long-term goal of the ICT initiative is to achieve a completely zero-emission transit system by the year 2040, seeing as transit agencies have “been leaders in addressing air quality” and have “been at the forefront in the adoption of new technology to reduce emissions.”

According to the draft ICT, the initiative would bring forth as follows:

  • A mandate for transit agencies to develop individual plans to transition to a zero-emission bus (ZEB) fleet by 2040;
  • ZEB purchase minimums at the time new bus purchases are made;
  • A waiver of the initial ZEB purchase requirements for transit agencies if statewide
    progress toward zero-emissions meets certain targets;
  • An option to use zero-emission mobility programs, as well as other options, instead of ZEB purchases;
  • Purchase of renewable fuels when diesel or natural gas contracts are renewed;
  • Purchase of low-NOx engines, if available, for conventional bus purchases.

CARB notes that the proposal focuses on transitioning to zero-emission technology while, at the same time, improving transit services. It is also designed to allow transit agencies to take advantage of available incentive programs by “acting early,” as well as adopting solutions that are “best suited for their own situation.” Notably, the proposal also includes an option for two or more transit agencies to come together to form a Joint Zero-Emission Bus Group to collectively comply with a purchase requirement.

Other highlights of the draft proposal include as follows:

  • The regulation applies to buses with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 14,000 lbs. and does not include trolleybuses;
  • Compliance depends on a transit agency’s fleet size (a large transit agency has at least 100 buses, and a small transit agency has fewer than 100 buses); and
  • By July 1, 2020, and July 1, 2023, for large and small transit agencies, respectively, each agency must submit to CARB a ZEB Rollout Plan with details on how it will transition to zero-emissions.

CARB has laid out the following yearly ZEB purchase requirements:

CARB Lays Out Proposed Innovative Clean Transit Regulation
Source: CARB

Last month, Californians for Zero Emission Vehicles (CalZEV), a coalition of public health, environmental and EV organizations, announced its support for the ICT measure and called it a “no-brainer” for California.

CARB is seeking public comments on the proposal by July 23. The full draft proposal can be read here.

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