The California Air Resources Board and the California Pollution Control Financing Authority, part of the State Treasurer's Office, hit the $100 million mark in financial assistance to small-business truckers so they can buy cleaner-burning vehicles.

The funding is provided through a program that provides small businesses with financial assistance to obtain loans or lease-to-own arrangements so they can purchase newer, cleaner trucks ahead of schedule for state clean truck and bus regulations.

"The success of this program means that truck owners are serious about using the financing options available to them to prepare for the truck regulations we have in place," said CARB chairman Mary D. Nichols. "California residents get to enjoy cleaner air and more hardworking truckers are prepared to comply with CARB's clean air regulations."

"Reaching the $100 million mark represents a milestone in providing truckers with an affordable way to reduce emissions, increase fuel efficiency and save themselves money," said State Treasurer Bill Lockyer. "We have helped diesel truck owners through our loan guarantee program who may not have otherwise received financing to upgrade their vehicles. It's a win-win for truckers and the environment."

The loan assistance program provides loans and lease-to-own opportunities (known as Terminal Rental Adjustment Clause or TRAC leases) to the small business owner that has 100 or fewer employees and generates $10 million or less in annual revenue primarily in California.

The program, officially known as "Providing Loan Assistance for California Equipment" or PLACE, provides additional funding opportunities to small businesses in today's tight credit market. So far the program has been instrumental in issuing 1,511 purchasing loans and 88 leases, totaling 1599 financing agreements. These funds helped purchase 1,671 clean trucks and 183 exhaust retrofits (installing special filters on older trucks that capture 85% of the soot in the exhaust.)

The loan guarantee programs are designed to assist truckers who are prepared to comply ahead of schedule for two separate California regulations: the statewide clean Truck and Bus regulation; and the Heavy Duty (Tractor Trailer) Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Reduction regulation. Both were adopted in 2008 and are part of the state's overall commitment to cut toxic diesel emissions 85% by 2020.