Capitol Improvements: A Policy Review

Monday, October 18, 2010

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California recently wrapped up a legislative session that included good news for the clean transportation industry. Most recently, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill (AB 1507, Lieu) that is intended to increase state funding support for advanced transportation projects that achieve both criteria and greenhouse gas emissions reductions.  CALSTART was the sponsor and primary supporter of the bill.

Two other bills recently signed into law (AB 1500, Lieu and SB 535, Yee) extend HOV lane access for clean vehicles, providing an important incentive for the purchase and use of advanced technology vehicles.
 
Earlier this year, Governor Schwarzenegger signed another CALSTART-sponsored bill - SB 71 (Padilla) – which allows the state to provide a sales tax exemption for manufacturing equipment used to produce clean transportation and alternative energy technologies in California.  The SB 71 program is moving forward, with final regulations in place and the first round applications for the exemption currently under review.

In addition to pushing for new programs and funding to support the clean transportation industry, CALSTART has worked diligently over the past several months to protect the state’s $200 million per year AB 118 program from raids and legislative hold-ups. Our efforts have paid off, as the final budget compromise signed this month by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger included full funding for the program.

A major California election issue is the fight over Proposition 23, which would indefinitely suspend AB 32, the state’s landmark climate change legislation. CALSTART is actively working to defeat this proposition. The Proposition, which is primarily supported by Texas oil companies, Valero and Tesoro, and Kansas-based oil and gas giant, Koch Enterprises, is behind in the polls as of this writing.

At the federal level, comprehensive climate legislation appears, for now, to be dead.  However, targeted regulations are moving forward.  U.S. EPA and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) are officially beginning work on federal vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel economy regulations for model years 2017–2025. EPA and NHTSA are also working on emissions and fuel economy standards for medium and heavy duty trucks, with a proposed regulation expected in the next few weeks.