The letter to legislative leaders follows projections of a $75.5 billion 2022 state surplus generated despite the ravages and shutdowns of the pandemic. The transportation partners are now seeking a share of that surplus state revenue to finance three goals: zero-emission trucks and cargo handling equipment; infrastructure such as electric charging stations; and training to operate and maintain that 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 including Oakland and five other California ports. “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 scale of marine freight operations at California ports is large, with more than 6,000 big rigs now registered to transport cargo containers in and out of Oakland alone, as well as dozens of pieces of cargo handling equipment used to lift those heavy boxes at its four marine terminals. Nearly all of those vehicles run on diesel, but clean technology pilots have already been shown to be effective at reducing their pollution. The Port of Oakland reports a 98% drop in diesel truck emissions over the past decade through clean truck programs.
“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.”