California considers fines to enforce retrofits

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California is considering levying fines on older-model trucks when they enter state ports and intermodal rail facilities if the trucks have not been retrofitted. The fines would be levied, however, only if the state receives Proposition 1B funds to pay for truck replacements and retrofits, said Karen Caesar, a California Air Resources Board information officer. “If we do not get these funds, we will have to come up with another proposal that would not financially hinder the drivers,” Caesar said in an e-mail.

Proposition 1B is the Highway Safety, Traffic Reduction, Air Quality and Port Security Bond Act, which California voters approved in November. The Legislature now must decide, however, how to apportion the money. “The details of providing financial assistance, how much, for how long, who receives it, tax implications, etc., have yet to be worked out,” Caesar said. “They are legitimate concerns expressed by a number of individuals.”

The plan would phase-in replacement trucks or retrofits over a four-year period ending in 2011. While newer trucks could be retrofitted with diesel particulate filters and other emissions control devices, trucks older than model year 1993 would have to be replaced entirely. About 175 people attended a Jan. 31 meeting in Wilmington to discuss the idea after 10,000 flyers were distributed, Caesar said. “The main concerns voiced by the drivers were who would pay for the retrofits and whether their trucks would be targeted by the regulation,” Caesar said.

Several more public meetings are expected, but times and locations haven’t been set. More information is available at www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/onroad/porttruck/porttruck.htm.