A coalition, including the ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland and another 34 organisations, has sent a request to the state of California seeking a state investment of US$2.25 billion on emissions-free freight hauling.
Supply chain and environmental groups sent their request to Sacramento this month, seeking surplus state revenue to finance zero-emission trucks and cargo handling equipment, infrastructure such as electric charging stations, and training to operate and maintain the equipment.
“The need for state investment to accelerate zero-emission vehicle adoption has never been more urgent, nor has the state ever had the means, as it does today, to enact change,” said the letter from 37 organizations. “The state surplus presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to lay the strong foundation for an accelerated and equitable transition to a zero-emission freight transportation system.”
The letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders follows projections of a US$75.5 billion 2022 state surplus and it aligns with commitments from ports in Oakland, Los Angeles and Long Beach to move containerised cargo emissions-free, according to a Port of Oakland's announcement.
“We’ve got an obligation to minimise the impact of our operations on the community and the state can help us achieve our objective,” pointed out Port of Oakland executive director, Danny Wan.
The request to the state calls for funds to help supply chain operators electrify equipment, said the Oakland port, which reports reports a 98% drop in harmful diesel truck emissions over the past decade through clean truck programs.
The next step, according to the port, is a switch by freight haulers to electric big rigs. Oakland and other ports want California to provide US$1 billion in financing for truckers ready to convert, while an electric truck can cost up to US$500,000.
The state has also been asked for US$1 billion to fund electric charging stations at California ports, while they are considered a prerequisite for electrifying trucks and cranes that move containerised cargo through marine terminals.
“We share your goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality and public health, and transitioning to zero-emission vehicles and cargo handling equipment,” said signatories to the request for state surplus revenue. “Our commitment to this goal is evident in our collective global leadership to innovate and implement cutting-edge emission reduction practices. To continue this trajectory, it is imperative that the state’s policy leadership be accompanied by major fiscal investments to achieve these goals.”
In addition to California’s largest ports, other signers of the letter to Gov. Newsom included The Bay Area Council, The Sierra Club, The Environmental Defense Fund and Earthjustice.