Bills to Improve Air Quality Advance

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

AB 2336 prioritizes replacing old school buses; AB 2492 includes work trucks for clean air programs

SACRAMENTO – The Assembly Committee on Transportation approved with bi-partisan support two bills authored by Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) that will help improve air quality and environmental health in communities most afflicted by poor air quality. Assembly Bills (AB) 2336 and 2492 are measures that would incentivize and prioritize investments in clean-air technology to replace high-polluting vehicles, specifically for school buses and medium-sized work trucks.

“Funding for air pollution programs should go to programs that provide the greatest immediate air quality benefits for communities with the worst air pollution,” said Assemblymember Salas. “These measures will protect kids from exposure to dangerous pollution emitted by old, dirty school buses and will help workers purchase new, clean trucks.”

Children are especially vulnerable to poor air quality and emissions from older, polluting school buses on their way to and from school. The Lower-Emission School Bus Program (LESBP) is a grant program administered by the Air Resources Board (ARB) that provides funds to purchase new buses to replace old, high-emitting public school buses, and to equip existing diesel school buses with retrofit devices that significantly reduce toxic particulate matter (PM) emissions. AB 2336 would require the ARB to prioritize the retrofit or replacement of high-polluting school buses that operate in regions in the state where air pollution is the worst, also known as “federal extreme non-attainment areas.” In California, the South Coast and San Joaquin air basins are both designated as extreme non-attainment areas.  

While existing vehicle retirement and replacement programs help repair and replace light-duty trucks and passenger vehicles, they fail to capture a number of medium-duty trucks—including flatbeds and box trucks such as tow trucks, cement trucks, box vans, dump trucks and delivery trucks. The Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program (EFMP) is a voluntary vehicle retirement and replacement incentive program that is limited to vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). AB 2492 would establish a pilot program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from medium-duty trucks that are between 10,000 and 14,000 GVWR administered by air districts designated as federal extreme non-attainment areas. The program would incentivize those who depend on medium-duty trucks in areas with the worst pollution to replace their vehicles with newer, cleaner technologies.

Together, AB 2336 and AB 2492 are key measures that would target the most vulnerable populations and communities for reducing air pollution. The two bills now advance to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations.  

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Assemblymember Salas represents part of the City of Bakersfield, the cities of Arvin, Avenal, Corcoran, Delano, Hanford, Lemoore, McFarland, Shafter, Wasco, and the communities of Armona, Buttonwillow, Home Garden, Kettleman City, Lamont, Lost Hills, Stratford and Weedpatch.