Fleet Management

Truck Groups Take Issue with California Sustainable Freight Plan

August 08, 2016, by David Cullen

Image: California State Transportation Agency
Image: California State Transportation Agency

The release of the final version of California’s Sustainable Freight Action Plan has been met with harsh criticism by two groups representing Golden State’s truck-fleet operators.

According to the California Air Resources Board, the revised document is similar to the draft issued back in May. However, CARB claims it “reflects new input provided by industry, labor, regional and local government, and community and environmental group stakeholders.”

The plan is important to trucking as the agency regards it as a “blueprint” for making the state’s freight transport system environmentally cleaner, more efficient, and more economically competitive.

However, key trucking stakeholder associations in the Golden State argue that the plan doesn’t take into account the realities of the trucking industry, especially the billions truckers already spend to eliminate harmful emissions from the vehicles they operate in California.

“We listened to stakeholders, incorporated changes, and we will continue to consult with them as we put the Plan into action,” said California Air Resources Board Chair Mary D. Nichols. “This dialogue -- and a commitment to shared responsibility for and ownership of this plan-- is the underpinning for the successful transformation of our freight transport system and the multiple benefits it will bring to our environment, communities and our economy.”

Developed in response to an executive order issued by Governor Jerry Brown, the plan was prepared by no fewer than seven state agencies. Governor Brown’s senior jobs adviser Mike Rossi noted that the plan “builds upon ongoing efforts to modernize the freight industry while reducing emissions and keeping it competitive through commercially viable and affordable technologies." 

The ambitious plan includes “a long term-2050 vision and guiding principles for California’s future freight transport system” along with these slightly more near-term, albeit arguably vague targets: 

  • Improve freight system efficiency 25 percent by 2030
  • Deploy over 100,000 zero-emission vehicles/equipment and “maximize near-zero” by 2020
  • Foster future economic growth within the freight and goods movement industry

Per CARB, the plan also identifies opportunities to leverage freight transport system investments made by the State of California; “pinpoints actions to initiate over the next five years to meet goals and lists possible pilot projects to achieve concrete progress in the near term.”

The agency said the final plan also puts more focus on partnerships and includes a discussion of “toxic hot spots.”  

Changes have also been made “to clarify and emphasize” collaboration between the responsible agencies and other regional planning efforts, including funding.

CARB said that, going forward, state agencies will continue working with federal, state, industry, labor, regional, local and environmental and community-based partners “to refine and prioritize the strategies and actions” outlined in the plan.

State agencies have also been charged with creating “collaborative stakeholder working groups on competitiveness, system efficiency, workforce developments, and regulatory and permitting process improvements.” All these efforts will lead to state agencies establishing work plans for “chosen pilot projects” by next July, CARB stated.

In statement on the finalized action plan, Shawn Yadon, CEO of the California Trucking Association, said that for California to “spur innovation” in zero and near-zero emission technologies, the state “must make a business case for new investment from the trucking industry, which is already spending $1 billion a year to bring about a more sustainable freight system. Broad expansion of regulations targeting freight facilities will impede this progress by discouraging the investment needed to achieve California's environmental and economic goals.”

Yadon told HDT that CARB and other air-quality agencies in the state “continue to signal that they intend to expand regulation to cap emissions at freight hubs, which they contend are [toxic] ‘hot spots’ despite the billions the trucking industry is spending to eliminate emissions throughout the state

“If the true intent of this program is to advance zero and near-zero emission technology, then California must make the case for billions of dollars of new private investment in the state,” he added. “Continuing to signal that draconian new rules are on the horizon will only hurt this effort.”

Joe Rajkovacz, director of governmental affairs and communications for the Western States Trucking Association, reacted even more vehemently to the final plan. “Despite what the news release from CARB states about the ‘inclusive’ nature of the process, as usual it is nothing but gross hyperbole,” he told HDT. “The whole document is really a manifesto outlining future interference in the goods-movement marketplace by bureaucrats intent on maintaining their command and control over a sector of the economy. It’s newsworthy to the point that it telegraphs the direction of future policy decisions by CARB.”

Rajkovacz also said that WSTA has known for “quite some time” that California move forward with “inducements” towards the adoption of zero-emissions technology in heavy duty trucks. “I have been told by CARB bureaucrats they never wanted a repeat of ‘forced’ mandates similar to what occurred with the Statewide Truck and Bus rule. The roadmap here will be financial inducements to adopt zero- emissions trucks in specific market segments.”

That being said, he added that “all the news of Class 8 electric trucks ‘possibly’ entering the marketplace in some commercially viable way is going to be interesting if it really happens. Those as yet ‘fantasy trucks—I haven’t seen any being beta-tested on highway yet, just concepts-- will be exactly what CARB wants in the California marketplace. At least until some public researcher comes up with a theory that even those trucks somehow are contaminating the environment.”

Related: California Aims to Regulate Sustainability into Freight System


  1. 1. Dennis [ August 09, 2016 @ 08:04AM ]

    If California is serious about emission reductions why aren't they doing something to eliminate the millions of automobiles sitting in near gridlock with one person in them?

  2. 2. Tom [ August 09, 2016 @ 08:41AM ]

    The way CARB handled the Bus and Truck regulations was despicable. They forced perfectly good trucks from the highways and forced thousands of owner operators out of business. They forced the truck engine manufacturers to comply by an unreasonable deadline and now the new trucks are a disaster. They are MUCH less dependable than the older trucks. I have seen some of them in the shop over and over again and still not fixed. I think anyone who has experienced this with their new MANDATED truck by CARB should join forces and file a class action law suit. CAT was the only one that could see the writing on the wall, pulled out of the truck market and now they just lost a class action suit regarding their emissions system. Personally I think CAT should sue CARB for restitution, I know ALL the engine manufacturers told CARB their timeline was unreasonable and now they and truck owners are paying the price for CARB's flippant don't give a rat's azz about reality, they set a deadline meet it or get out of business.

  3. 3. Paul [ August 09, 2016 @ 09:15AM ]

    Wonder why you didn't print my comments....too truthful??

  4. 4. Norman [ August 09, 2016 @ 04:55PM ]

    This state is clear out in left field they need to work on the things that matter for a change what are they going to do for water and food for all the people that just some how walk in! they don't drive class 8 trucks around they drive jazzed up junk spewin out raw fuel!!! anyone knows in the first place you cant blow pollution from the ocean over top the mtns. some comes all the way from china this has always been a scam anyway to sell cars and trucks! Also how do you go about starting an org like carb then get the state to enforce your ideas as laws??

  5. 5. TAK [ August 09, 2016 @ 07:17PM ]

    I am being serious when I say this: truckers should just no longer do business in California. How long would it take before the legislature rolled this all back? Wait until the grocery stores start to empty. In a flash!

  6. 6. Matt Mecum [ August 11, 2016 @ 12:01PM ]

    I sold my house in California and moved to Nevada. I have 5 carb legal trucks that I'm trying to sell. I let 5 good drivers go and closed my trucking biz down. Cummins emission engines nearly bankrupted me! These new trucks last around 300,000 miles and then start costing around $30,000 to $50,000 a year in repairs. The freight rates in California are so low. The only drivers operating within California are immigrants. These immigrants will haul freight so cheap they go out of business and are replaced by new immigrants and the freight rates continue a downward spiral.simple solutions is to not haul freight to California.... That's what I did and I'm back to making money.
    Ps split speed limits are dangerous, calif fuel prices are extremely high, roads are in disrepair and traffic is horrible!
    Addios California

  7. 7. Michael Galorath [ August 14, 2016 @ 07:04AM ]

    The Panama canal widening could have not happened at a better time. Eventually the ports will be full of freight that can be moved because there will be no one to move it. Lets face it California does not want this type of business in their state anymore. Let the cargo ships move to the south and east coasts. Then the freight can be either trucked to California or moved by rail and left left in Nevada state line, then they can use horses to move the freight into the state.

  8. 8. Dennis Conrad [ August 15, 2016 @ 07:16PM ]

    C'mon noting we could say or show Jerry Brown or CARB will change anything now. They have absolutely no common sense I was at a b'day party last Sat. everyone was complaining about t price of food , has , houses going up in price for a young couple try in to get a starter home ,clothes for their kids . Let them buy their Teslas both parents work in silicon valley ,pay millions for a run of the mill home and when the big quake does hit whose going to haul the debri haul the new materials to rebuild homes fix roads and overpasses and everything else they need to survive food water everthing . I have personally hauled materials to fix a landslide in Yosemite so they could drive thier. Now I say let them walk or ride a horse from SF Bay Area or LA to hug a tree The Governments head is so far up thier ass they could never find thier way thier anyway

  9. 9. Bob [ August 16, 2016 @ 07:52AM ]

    Just stop trucking in California! Let the whole damn state float out into the ocean without a single truck on it or a single candie bar on the shelf of their stores! This is what happens in a democratic state, now let's all go vote for Hillary so the whole damn country can be screwed! Oh, wait, it already is because of another democrat called obamah bin laden.


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