According to Associated Press reports, the expanded program stems from a bill by Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, that allocated $50 million for the Sacramento region program and $25 million for the San Joaquin Valley. Sacramento officials are chipping in another $20 million.
The programs will offer grants to owners of trucks and buses to help replace older engines, install catalytic converters, make mechanical changes needed to use cleaner-burning fuel or buy new vehicles with engines that are cleaner than currently required.
Both regions are facing federal sanctions in the form of lost highway construction money if they don't meet clean air requirements
Tom Swenson, a program coordinator for the Sacramento Metropolitan Air
Quality Management District, told the AP that the Sacramento program hopes to eliminate 3 tons of oxides of nitrogen by 2005 by reducing emissions from up to 6,000 vehicles.
Alan Lloyd, chairman of the state Air Resources Board, said the Sacramento-San Joaquin program would complement a new CARB program requiring soot-catching filters, also called particulate traps, on diesel engines.
"We need both the carrot and the stick approach," Lloyd said. "This is a wonderful example of the carrot."
The Diesel Technology Forum praised the program. "The new ... incentive program is an extraordinary opportunity to clean up Sacramento Valley truck emissions and will assist truckers in improving air quality, and public health while maintaining the benefits offered by diesel engines in providing the most cost-effective clean-air solution," said forum spokesman Allen Schaeffer.