FHWA to Start Funding Program to Lower Truck Emissions at Ports

Port of Los Angeles
Trucks wait to be loaded at the Port of Los Angeles. (Nick Ut/Associated Press)

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The Federal Highway Administration soon will open fiscal 2022-2023 grant applications for its new Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities program, according to a Feb. 8 announcement by the Department of Transportation.

FHWA will make $160 million available to test, evaluate and deploy projects that reduce port-related emissions from idling trucks, which included promoting port electrification and operational efficiency improvements.

The new program was established under President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law, which tasked DOT, in consultation with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency, to administer the program.

It calls for the federal government, through the transportation secretary, to study emerging technologies and strategies that could reduce port-related emissions from idling heavy-duty trucks.

Through FHWA, the reduction of truck emissions at ports program allocates $80 million per fiscal year starting from 2022 through 2026. The release of $160 million combines funding amounts for the first two fiscal years of the program into one lump sum.

According to the terms of the program, federal grants that are awarded cannot exceed 80% of the total cost of a proposed project.

In addition, every project funded under the program is to be treated as if it were located on a federal-aid highway to ensure the applicability of the Department of Labor’s Davis-Bacon mandate that construction workers must be paid local prevailing wages on federally funded construction projects.

This development in the program for truck emissions at ports was part of a statement by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg about the Maritime Administration concerning $662 million available for fiscal 2023 in MARAD’s Port Infrastructure Development Program to modernize ports and strengthen the national supply chain.

Last March, the White House unveiled a fact sheet and announcement by Vice President Kamala Harris about its major actions to accelerate the deployment of clean heavy trucks and buses.

It stated that heavy-duty vehicles, such as trucks and buses, are responsible for nearly 25% of all U.S. transportation greenhouse gas emissions. “Neighborhoods near highways, ports and other congested areas are especially impacted by health problems and premature deaths associated with dirty diesel exhaust,” it added.

Lowering emissions at ports through electric vehicle charging infrastructure for drayage trucks and cargo equipment has been a top priority in the Biden administration’s plan for a zero-emission future and green economy.

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