CALSTART Sponsored Bills That Stem from Recommendations of its Blue Ribbon Transportation Energy Partnership
Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed two bills that put significant new resources behind an effort to make California a global leader in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and reducing its dependence on oil. The measures provide new funding to improve the state’s air quality and increase transportation energy efficiency, as well as set requirements to reduce petroleum consumption by the state’s fleet. Both bills stem in part from key recommendations made by CALSTART’s blue ribbon commission, the California Secure Transportation Energy Partnership (CalSTEP), whose California Action Plan set specific steps to significantly increase transportation energy efficiency and fuel diversity while growing the economy and improving the environment.
Assembly Bill 118, Alternative Fuels and Vehicle Technologies Bill, authored by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nú?ez, would provide $120 million yearly to the California Energy Commission (CEC) for a program to support the development of the next generation of clean vehicles and fuels, while also accelerating the use of the best available technology today. The funding will be focused on implementing the greenhouse gas reduction goals of AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, and securing the state’s transportation energy future.
Assembly Bill 236, State and Local Motor Vehicle Fleets, a bill authored by Assembly Member Ted Lieu, implements a recommendation from CalSTEP to require the state to establish petroleum reduction targets for its own fleet and implement a plan to meet them. AB 236 will require the Department of General Services to consider fuel cost and economy, emissions, hybrid or "Best in Class" vehicles, and alternative fuel vehicles before awarding a vehicle procurement contract to a state agency.
AB 118 would also provide $80 million in annual funding to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for measures designed specifically to cut smog and improve public health. Funding for both the CEC and CARB programs comes from increases in various vehicle and marine vessel registration and smog fees. Both programs would sunset after seven and one-half years.
“When it comes to actually putting cleaner vehicles and fuels into use to reduce our dependence on oil, reduce smog, and reduce global warming, the funding provided in this bill is going to make a significant difference. We recognize and appreciate the leadership from the Governor and the Speaker to raise the necessary revenues to support these new programs,” said Tim Carmichael, Senior Policy Director for the Coalition for Clean Air.
AB 118 was supported by a large and diverse collection of organizations including CALSTART, clean transportation technology companies, environmental groups, car companies, alternative fuel providers, and labor.
With natural gas vehicles (NGVs) already exceeding the state’s emissions goals, NGVs are expected to increase significantly under the new bills.