CALSTART Asks Governor Newsom and Legislative Leadership to Support to Prioritize Clean Transportation Program Funding

PASADENA, CA, May 11, 2021 – CALSTART joined Advanced Energy Economy in issuing a letter asking California Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Senate Budget Chair Nancy Skinner and Assembly Chair Phil Ting to support the Senate’s cap-and-trade spending plan on low-carbon transportation and zero-emission vehicle strategy and the addition of the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project in the Senate’s proposal.

The letter notes that a two-year funding proposal for HVIP and CORE is included, but that equity and clean truck and bus programs need additional investment as the Senate considers the general fund surplus and how to best stimulate the California economy, create in-state jobs and address air quality in highly impacted communities.

The full text of the letter:

May 10, 2021

The Honorable Gavin Newsom
Governor of California
The Honorable Toni Atkins
Senate President Pro Tempore
The Honorable Anthony Rendon
Speaker of the Assembly
The Honorable Nancy Skinner
Senate Budget Committee Chair
The Honorable Phil Ting
Assembly Budget Committee Chair

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Dear Governor Newsom, Pro Tempore Atkins, Speaker Rendon, Chair Skinner and Chair Ting:

On behalf of Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), CALSTART and our members, we want to express our strong support for the advancement of clean transportation funding in the Senate Democrat’s “Build Back Boldly” plan, and the “Budget of Opportunity” Blueprint document released by the Assembly Democrats on April 28th. We request prioritization of clean transportation program funding in the Governor’s “May Revise” Budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. Due to the Federal relief funds and state’s projected budget surplus, California has an incredible one-time opportunity to fund the critical programs that will dramatically reduce transportation emissions while creating significant economic development opportunity throughout the state. Recent analysis1 suggests every dollar invested in California’s clean transportation and energy activity yields a seven-fold return resulting in increased state gross state product, jobs and local economic activity. Many manufacturers and suppliers have come to California because of the state’s leadership and clean transportation programs, and we urge you to adopt a budget that will bring further growth.

AEE is a national association of businesses that are working to make our energy and transportation system more secure, clean and affordable. AEE’s members span the broad range of clean energy and transportation technologies and services and are focused on achieving a 100% clean grid and transportation system in California. CALSTART is a 501c3 clean transportation technology consortium,[i] with over 270 members comprised of vehicle manufacturers, zero-emission technology suppliers and alternate fuel producers, fleets, and more—all committed to transforming transportation.

Together, our diverse memberships, reflected in the perspective shared in this letter, include many leaders in the ZEV and advanced energy industries, public fleets, and beyond. The Governor and Legislature’s support of expanding the State’s clean transportation programs is necessary and critical if we are to meet our climate goals, including Executive Order N-79-20. Transportation remains California’s highest emitting sector and it is critical the state has the right rules and incentives in place to accelerate the transition to a zero-emission transport system. Acting now to dramatically reduce transportation emissions and incentivizing faster action will result in greater benefits for all Californians. The current budget surplus creates opportunities to make smart investments that will pay huge dividends in cleaner air, improved mobility and economic activity.

Our organizations are focused on the need for a multi-year funding mechanism that will predictably meet demand from consumers and fleets who want to purchase ZEVs. Multi-year funding would give manufacturers certainty that buyers will be able to afford the new models they are bringing to market, thus allowing them to ramp up their investments and production, and lowering vehicle costs over time, reducing the need for subsidies.

We were encouraged to see the prioritization of ZEVs and ZEV infrastructure in Senate Leadership’s plan and the Governor’s proposed budget, and we encourage the legislature to move quickly to supplement the budget for those programs traditionally funded by the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) with surplus general fund monies, as follows:

Allocate $890 million for Clean Trucks, Buses and Off-Road Equipment. CARB’s medium and heavy-duty vehicle and off-road equipment programs have been unfunded since 2019. Meanwhile, fine particulate matter produced by diesel trucks sickens Californians, especially in low-income and disadvantaged communities. We ask that the Governor and Legislature allocate $890 million to this suite of programs, supplementing the Governor’s proposed GGRF budget with surplus general fund. The presence of sufficient funding for multiple years will allow CARB to provide a strong signal to the ZEV manufacturing industry that they should ramp up production for the California market. This funding amount would also allow CARB to fund previously approved pilot and demonstration projects in the central valley, and beyond. This funding amount is consistent with CARB’s Long-Term Heavy-Duty Investment Strategy.

Allocate $600 million to the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) and increase the “plus up” incentives for low- and moderate-income families. We support the Senate’s proposal to fund the CVRP for three years, and encourage the Governor and Legislature to supplement GGRF funding with general fund monies, so that the CVRP can increase the “plus up” incentives offered to low- and moderate- income Californians.

Allocate $500 million for Clean Cars 4 All and other Transportation Equity Projects. Expanding clean transportation for all Californians is a vital component in reaching our climate goals. The Governor’s proposed budget included $150 million in total GGRF funding to programs such as “Clean Cars 4 All” and the Clean Mobility Options Program. These programs are perpetually over-subscribed, and the amounts in the Governor’s budget do not come close to meeting the need. Supplementing this allocation with surplus revenue would allow for program expansion, such as the newly launched Clean Mobility Options (CMO). CMO is improving underserved communities’ access to safe, reliable, convenient and affordable transportation while improving local air quality, increasing zero-emission vehicle adoption, reducing vehicle miles traveled and advancing workforce development.

Finally, we ask for your support for the reauthorization and securitization of $1 billion from the California Energy Commission’s Clean Transportation Program for ZEV infrastructure, which can provide essential funding as California aims to convert all vehicles and off-road equipment to zero-emission over the next 15-20 years. By fully utilizing this program, the state will directly benefit from the economic, public health, and environmental improvements that will be seen through more rapid development and deployment of ZEV technologies. Re-authorizing the suite of “AB 8/ AB 118” programs is critical to driving private investment in infrastructure and clean vehicles by providing funding certainty for the vehicle and infrastructure incentives funded through these fees.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of our perspectives and please feel free to reach out directly with any questions.

Meredith Alexander
Policy Director
CALSTART
malexander@calstart.org
Amisha Rai
Managing Director
Advanced Energy Economy
arai@aee.net

Cc: Hazel Miranda, Office of Governor Newsom Kip Lipper, Office of Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins Randy Chinn, Chief Consultant, Senate Transportation Committee Joanne Roy, Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee Marie Liu, Office of Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon James Hacker, Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee Christian Griffith, Assembly Committee on Budget

[i] Hibbard, P. (2020): Economic Impact of Stimulus Investment in Advanced Energy https://info.aee.net/hubfs/AEE_CA_Econ_Stim_Rpt_9.28.20.pdf

About CALSTART  

A national nonprofit consortium with offices in New York, Michigan, Colorado and California and partners world-wide, CALSTART works with 280+ member company and agency innovators to build a prosperous, efficient, and clean high-tech transportation industry. We overcome barriers to modernization and the adoption of clean vehicles. CALSTART is changing transportation for good.