Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed the Golden State’s multibillion-dollar transportation decarbonization bill, Assembly Bill No. 126 (AB 126), revitalizing the state’s Clean Transportation Program (CTP). Currently, the California Energy Commission (CEC) manages the CTP with a focus on accelerating the state’s transition to zero-emission transportation, having invested about $100 million annually into cleaner fuels and vehicles with demonstrable success. The CEC has mapped their investments on a geographic information system platform.
As the map shows, the CTP was invested in transformational projects statewide, from new electric charging stations on the California-Oregon border to a clean medium- & heavy-duty truck adjacent to the U.S.-Mexico border. Both projects invested in low-income and disadvantaged communities, a key focus of the bill as well. AB 126 mandates that at least half of the funds from the CTP “directly benefit or serve residents of disadvantaged and low-income communities and low-income Californians.”
The legislation’s intentional approach to environmental justice can be tracked through the mapping tool’s filters for Disadvantaged Community, CalEnviroScreen 4.0 2021 (SB535), and Low-Income Community (SB 535). In 2012, the California Legislature passed SB 535 to provide economic and health benefits to underserved populations in California.
What does this policy mean for California’s medium- and heavy-duty truck stakeholders?
By extending the CTP, California fleet operators can look forward to continued funding and incentives like the $20 million Charging and Refueling Infrastructure for Transport in CALifornia Provided Along Targeted Highway Segments (CRITICAL PATHS) program that will “support Medium- and Heavy-Duty infrastructure along designated corridors for both electric and fuel cell electric vehicles.”
The CTP programs are vital, as fleets are working diligently to meet state mandates to decarbonize.
What does this policy mean for California’s low-income and disadvantaged communities?
California’s historically disenfranchised communities will continue to benefit from further investment in their health and well-being. After all, the American Lung Association reported that 16 of the top 25 most ozone-polluted counties are in California — all but one California county comprised the top 10.
It is essential that programs like the CTP help ameliorate the state’s dire air pollution crisis in the most vulnerable communities. In Los Angeles County, “lower-income Black and Latino neighborhoods bisected by the 10, 110 and 105 freeways” suffer disproportionately from poor air quality, according to research from the University of Southern California.
Could your fleet, firm, agency, or organization use support in navigating the incentives, regulations, and policies coming to your fleet due to these new policies?
GNA, North America’s leading clean transportation and energy consulting firm and a TRC Company, is here to help. Reach out if you would like to strategize around environmental justice and clean transportation. Here’s to a season full of transformational clean transportation — and human — investment.