California Lawmakers Reach Agreement to Keep Clean Transportation Funding

Statement by Daniel Barad, Western States Policy Manager, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Sep 12, 2023

SACRAMENTO (Sept. 12, 2023)—California lawmakers are set to vote on a bill that would continue using a portion of vehicle registration fees to fund zero-emission vehicle incentives, electric vehicle chargers and hydrogen fueling stations.

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Assembly Bill 126 was amended last night to extend the more than $170 million in existing clean transportation funding annually for the next 10 years. The bill includes language championed by Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyes and Senator Lena Gonzalez that prioritizes funding for zero-emission vehicle incentives and infrastructure in disadvantaged communities.

Voting on the bill is expected on Thursday night, Sept. 14.

Below is a statement by Daniel Barad, Western States policy manager at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Extending these vehicle registration fees is a no-brainer. Fossil-fueled cars and trucks contribute significantly to climate-changing emissions and smog-forming nitrogen oxides. Replacing these polluting vehicles with zero-emission ones will help California meet its climate goals and comply with federal air quality standards, with which much of the state is out of compliance.

“The beauty of this approach is that this funding won’t be subjected to boom-and-bust budget cycles.

“We can all agree that more charging stations are needed across the state. Most importantly, the bill ensures that people overburdened by air pollution will have access to zero-emission technologies that will result in cleaner air in their communities. The funding can also be spent on swapping heavy-duty diesel trucks for zero-emission models in disadvantaged communities, which will have massive public health benefits.

“It’s great to see the legislature and governor come to an agreement on preserving these common-sense solutions to air pollution and climate change.”