Commercial airports are sources of high levels of economic activity and emissions. Sources of air pollution at airports are broad-based: aviation, and ground activities on the airside (ground support equipment, airfield operations, aircraft fueling, emergency operations, etc.) and on the landside (taxis, shuttles, parking operations, passenger pick-up/drop-off, cargo delivery, etc.).
Since airports are under strict federal control, opportunities to address facility-wide air pollution are often guided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Emissions from aviation sources are controlled solely by the FAA and are outside the purview of the airports themselves. Therefore, any efforts to reduce air pollution at airports must focus solely on ground sources.
Over the past five years, the major commercial airports in California (Los Angeles International, San Francisco International, San Diego International, Oakland International, Minetta-San Jose International, Sacramento Metropolitan, Orange County, Burbank, Long Beach, and Fresno-Yosemite) have met informally to address common problems and share best practices as they relate to environmental issues. The group asked CALSTART to advise and assist them in matters relating to cleaner ground transportation options.
In 2008 CALSTART spearheaded a group submission of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) proposal. This proposal sought grant funds to retrofit and/or replace vehicles that are used in airport operations and by firms that are licensed to operate at the airports.
In February 2009 the group was successful in winning a DERA grant in the amount of $895,827. CALSTART administered the grant funds to the participating airports, monitored participant performance, and collected data for project reporting purposes.