Thursday, July 8, 2010

Puget Sound Truck Program Scraps 200th Pre-1994 Truck

The Southern California ports are not the only West Coast areas to report success in tackling air pollution from drayage trucks.

The Scrappage and Retrofits for Air in Puget Sound, funded in part by the Port of Seattle, is also claiming some success in the reducing drayage pollution. Officials running the nearly eight-month-old program said that as of July 1, the ScRAPS program had scrapped it 200th truck with a pre-1994 engine.

The program, which offers truckers willing to scrap their pre-1994 engined trucks either $5,000 cash or the blue book value of their truck--whichever is greater--is designed to support the maritime pollution reducing goals of the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy.

"Removing 200 of the dirtiest trucks from the road is a big milestone," said Tay Yoshitani, Port of Seattle CEO. "Truck drivers have been able to invest in newer, cleaner trucks — trucks that improve air quality for our neighbors while moving cargo through our gateway to markets across the globe."

In addition to offering incentives to drivers willing to scrap their old trucks, the ScRAPS program also offers drivers grant monies to retrofit 1994 and newer trucks with pollution control devices.

The program utilizes funding from the Port of Seattle, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Drayage drivers who scrap their trucks also have the option of using their ScRAPS money to purchase a newer truck through loan assistance from Cascade Sierra Solutions, the contractor running the truck program; purchase their replacement truck from a third party; or, leave the drayage trucking industry altogether. To date, nearly 10 percent of the ScRAPS funding recipients have chose to leave the industry.

As of June--the ScRAPS program's most recent accounting period--the program has spent $1,040,000 to take pre-1994-engined trucks off the road.

“The exhaust from diesel engines overwhelmingly presents the highest health risk from airborne toxic pollution in the Puget Sound area, linked with heart problems, aggravated asthma, cancer and premature death,” said Jim Nolan, Interim Executive Director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. “Every dirty truck scrapped through this program makes a difference for our air quality, and more importantly, to the health of those who live and work in areas adjacent to the port. The two hundred trucks scrapped to date will remove 2.8 tons of toxic particle pollution from the air each year, and no doubt save lives.”

The more stringent Southern California ports' Clean Trucks Program, implemented in October 2008, led to the trucking industry investing more than $650 million to upgrade the local drayage fleet to 2007 or newer models. Upwards of 90 percent of all cargo moved by truck through the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles is now being handled by 2007 or newer model year trucks. Officials from the Southern California ports claim that, as of Jan. 1, 2010, ports-servicing truck emissions have been reduced about 80 percent from baseline pollution levels recorded in 2005. In all, more than 8,000 older trucks have been removed from the Southern California drayage industry due to the truck program, though these trucks were simply banned from servicing the ports and very few trucks were ever actually scrapped under the program.