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newsrel -- $1 Billion for Clean Air Projects

Posted: 19 Sep 2007 13:23:38
Please consider the following Air Resources Board press release
announcing a draft concept paper to support the allocation of
money from proposition 1B.  You can review the release online
at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/newsrel/nr091907.htm .
Thank You
Dimitri Stanich

Release 07-37
September 19, 2007
Patricia Rey
(916) 322-2990 

ARB launches public process to implement $1 billion for clean
air projects

First $250 million to be decided by next Spring

SACRAMENTO - The Air Resources Board today released a draft
concept paper to support the allocation of the first phase of
the $1 billion generated by Proposition 1B funding, which will
fund projects to reduce air pollution associated with the
movement of goods by trucks, trains, ships and harbor craft.

After an extensive public process, ARB will convert the concept
into guidelines that the Board must approve by the end of this

"The voters spoke loud and clear when they overwhelmingly passed
Proposition 1B last November, and we aim to run an efficient and
effective process that translates into public health benefits in
communities sooner rather than later," said ARB Acting Executive
Officer Mike Scheible. "These projects will achieve air quality
improvements above and beyond anything required by current law
or regulation."

Proposition 1B was the transportation bond put on the ballot by
the Legislature and before the voters in November 2006. It was
part of Gov. Schwarzenegger's Strategic Growth Plan and included
$1 billion to accelerate badly-needed air quality improvements
from the freight transport industry. Voters approved the near
$20 billion bond which also made significant investments in
highway improvements, congestion relief, expanded public
transit, safer rail crossings, and improved anti-terrorism
security at shipping ports.

The 2007-08 Budget, signed by Governor Schwarzenegger last
month, funds the initial $250 million of the $1 billion set
aside for air quality improvement projects in Proposition 1B.
The funds will be invested in projects intended to improve air
quality related to the movement of goods along four major
transportation corridors: from the Los Angeles ports to the
Inland Empire, State Route 99 in the Central Valley, the San
Francisco Bay Area, and the San Diego border region. The Board
is focused on funding projects that reduce emissions and health
risk, incorporate simplicity and efficiency, ensure
cost-effectiveness, leverage other funding sources, and provide
transparency and accountability.

ARB is conducting an extensive public process for developing the
guidelines. Public meetings will start in early October to
discuss program development, program guidelines and staff draft

    * Long Beach (October 1)
    * San Diego (October 3)
    * Oakland (October 4)
    * Fresno (October 10)
    * Sacramento (October 11) 

The program guidelines will identify the criteria, procedures
and specific requirements to be followed by local agencies and
equipment owners to receive bond funding. The Air Board will
consider approval of the program guidelines at a public hearing
in December. Staff will then solicit applications from local
agencies and the Board will select projects for the initial $250
million by June of 2008.

The program is likely capable of reducing combined emissions of
oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and diesel particulate matter by over
250,000 tons during the life of the bond-funded equipment.
Anticipated funding for widespread application of diesel
particulate filters on trucks, the greatest reduction in health
risk will be achieved in the first five years of the program to
immediately reduce the existing health impacts.

Bond funds will flow via grants from ARB to local agencies, then
to equipment owners. At both steps in the process, there is
competition to ensure that the most beneficial projects are
funded. The key elements of the competition will be the ability
of the project to reduce emissions and the readiness of the
local agencies and the equipment owners to expedite every step
of the process to get cleaner equipment operating sooner. The
program will also need to complement ARB regulatory programs by
providing incentives to achieve faster or greater progress.

For more information, please visit ARB website here:
http://www.arb.ca.gov/bonds/gmbond/gmbond.htm .

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California
Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and
protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through
effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and
considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air
pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain
health based air quality standards.


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