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California releases draft Sustainable Freight Action Plan

4 May 2016

California state agencies released the Draft California Sustainable Freight Action Plan, a document that lays a foundation for modernizing California’s freight transportation system to “improve freight efficiency, transition to zero-emission technologies and increase the competitiveness of California’s freight system.”

Developed in response to California Governor Brown’s Executive Order B-32-15, which calls for a single integrated action plan for California, the Draft Action Plan was drafted by the California State Transportation Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency, Natural Resources Agency, California Air Resources Board, California Department of Transportation, California Energy Commission and Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development with broad stakeholder input.

Key components of the Action Plan include:

Achieving the Draft Action Plan’s objectives will require strategic partnerships and coordinated investments in new technologies and major infrastructure upgrades—said the state agencies in a press release. The plan provides an opportunity for leveraging new federal, State, local and private investment for these freight transport system improvements.

California’s freight system is the most extensive and interconnected freight system in the United States and is composed of several deep water seaports, cargo airports, border crossings, and a vast warehousing and distribution sector, all connected by a network of over 11,000 miles of railroad track and Interstate and state highways. The system depends on these interconnected facilities working in concert to move freight in and out of California. California’s freight-dependent industries accounted for more than $740 billion in revenue and more than 5 million jobs in 2014.

While freight transport in California is a major economic engine for the state—said the state agencies—emissions from ships, harbor craft, trucks, locomotives, cargo equipment, aircraft and other freight participants account for about 50% of diesel particulate matter (PM2.5), 45% of the emissions of NOx that form ozone and fine particulate matter in the atmosphere, and 6% of all greenhouse gas emissions in California. Many of these pollutants are emitted in close proximity to communities and pose health risks to nearby residents, highlighting the need for additional steps to protect public health.

The Draft Action Plan builds on existing strategies, including the California Freight Mobility Plan, Sustainable Freight Pathways to Zero and Near-Zero Emissions Discussion Document and the Integrated Energy Policy Report, as well as on stakeholder input provided over the past several months, including 11 workshops across the state.

The Draft Action Plan is available for stakeholder and public feedback through July 6, 2016.

Source: California ARB