California Transit Association

Advocacy

Association Action

Since 2015, the Association has worked to: 1) influence the development of the proposed Innovative Clean Transit regulation; and, 2) secure greater state and private sector resources to address the barriers to transit electrification. 

To further this first goal, the Association established a Transportation Electrification Subcommittee, comprised of 9 members of our Executive Committee and representatives from the California Association of Coordinated Transportation, charged with assessing the shortcomings of the proposed regulation, as presented by ARB in December 2017; and, developing a counterproposal – in concert with the Association’s broader membership and sister Associations – which would provide transit agencies with flexible pathways for electrifying their fleets. This counterproposal was formally submitted to ARB in April 2018

When it became evident that ARB’s leadership would not support the adoption of our counterproposal, we pivoted strategically to developing specific evidence-based recommendations for communication to ARB that would improve the mechanics of the ICT regulation and ultimately limit its impact on transit operations. Throughout 2018, we met frequently with ARB members and staff to advocate for the inclusion of these recommendations in the ICT regulation. These recommendations were formalized and submitted to ARB in July 2018 and restated in September 2018.

The success of these strategies became clear with the release of the final regulation order — the ICT regulation — in December 2018. The final regulation postpones the aggressive ZEB purchase mandate once proposed for large agencies from 2020 to 2023 and for small agencies from 2023 to 2026. The ICT regulation also institutes a mechanism for possibly postponing the ZEB purchase mandate even further, until 2025, if transit agencies collectively show significant progress on deploying ZEBs. These postponements to the ZEB purchase mandate would allow agencies to claim unfettered access to incentive funding until 2024 or 2025. The ICT regulation also creates a series of off-ramps, which could be exercised by transit agencies for temporary relief from the ZEB purchase mandate, and would exclude cutaways, over-the-road coaches and articulated buses from being subject to the purchase mandate until at least 2026. 

In addition to the Association’s work influencing the development of the ICT regulation, we have continued to fight to secure greater state and private sector support for transit agencies that have elected to implement ZEBs. This work has included advocating before the State Legislature and ARB for additional funding to support the procurement of ZEBs and related infrastructure in the 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2019-20 Cap and Trade Expenditure Plans as well as the VW mitigation trust. We also continue to participate in the California Public Utilities Commission’s SB 350 proceeding on Transportation Electrification.

Ultimately, these advocacy efforts resulted in the following outcomes: 

2016-17 Cap and Trade Expenditure Plan

$180 million for the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP): HVIP provides point-of-sale vouchers to offset the incremental cost of zero- and near-zero emission buses and trucks as well as charging/refueling infrastructure.  This appropriation included a $35 million set-aside for zero-emission buses. 

2017-18 Cap and Trade Expenditure Plan

$125 million for the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP): HVIP provides point-of-sale vouchers to offset the incremental cost of zero- and near-zero emission buses and trucks as well as charging/refueling infrastructure.  

$165.4 million for the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP): ARFVTP provides grants, loans, and loan guarantees to support the development and production of low-carbon fuels, expand charging/refueling infrastructure, and establishing workforce training programs. 

$245 million for Community Air Protection: Created by AB 617 (C. Garcia) [Chapter 136, Statutes of 2017], this funding provides financial incentives to reduce mobile and stationary sources of criteria air pollutants or toxic air contaminants consistent with community emission reduction programs. This funding can be used for the purchase of cleaner technologies with a priority on zero-emission equipment and zero-emission charging infrastructure with a priority toward infrastructure that supports medium and heavy-duty vehicles. 

VW Mitigation Trust

$130 million for Zero-Emission Buses and Related Infrastructure: The VW mitigation trust allows transit agencies to claim up to $180,000 for a new battery electric bus and up to $400,000 for a new fuel cell electric transit bus. Funding can be used to invest in supporting infrastructure. 

SB 350 Transportation Electrification Proceeding 

$52.5 million-$227.7 million for Investment in Electric Bus Charging Infrastructure: These programs will fully fund the construction and installation of the electric vehicle (EV) service connection and supply infrastructure –often referred to as “make-ready” infrastructure – which is required for the installation of an electric bus charger. This infrastructure and equipment includes every component from the distribution circuit up to the stub for the bus charger. As part of this investment, Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric will also offer transit agencies rebates for the purchase of electric bus chargers, at a value of up to 50% of the cost the chargers.