All grant money to help truckers meet new Port of Oakland air quality standards has been dispersed. Unfortunately, 1,000 truckers were still waiting for the assistance when the money ran out.
The funds were made available to help truckers replace or retrofit their rigs to meet the strict new guidelines on emissions, and thus be allowed to still operate at the port when the Jan. 1 regulations take effect.
Under the strict new rules, trucks manufactured in 1994 and earlier will be barred from the port. Truck models made between 1994 and 2002 must have special filters for diesel particulate matter, a toxic emission that has been linked to a tripled cancer risk in the West Oakland area. Drayage trucks were considered the top particulate emitters, said Kristine Roselius, a spokeswoman for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), which managed the grant funds.
Of the grants that were distributed, 191 allotments went for truck replacement. Another 817 grants provided funds to help retrofit rigs to meet compliance, with the grants paying for the filter, and truckers footing $800 to $1,000 of sales cost.
But that doesn’t mean those remaining thousand truckers will be shut out yet, though no funds are expected for 2010 grants. Roselius said the district was “working very hard” on the private loan front to help truckers get the needed replacements or retrofits. State officials are also working with truckers in areas of private low-interest loans and career assistance, said the report. California Air Resources Board (CARB) may allow truckers continued access to the port for a limited time, if they have grant contracts to upgrade their equipment.
Several lending facilities are willing to loan funding to truck owners, said district and port representatives, including City National Bank, One California Bank and Cascade Sierra Solutions. Those with lower credit scores may find help from Diesel Emission Service by calling (503) 241-3950.
Those who don’t seek funds for the upgrades can still haul within California, said port spokeswoman Marilyn Sandifur.