US program awards free down payments to get dirty trucks off the road

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Declaring “We no longer want our ports to be the place where old trucks go to die,” a consortium of organizations in four Mid-Atlantic States are offering $15,000 down payments towards the purchase of new trucks to help operators upgrade to more environmentally-friendly rigs.

The program, spearheaded by the University of Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Air Management Association will target drayage fleets at major ports. It is funded by state governments as well as the ports of Virginia, Baltimore, Wilmington and Philadelphia in addition to private corporations. The organizations say they’re hoping to raise a bout $1.5 million in public and private funding which will be combined with an EPA grant. In addition to providing operators with a $15,000 down payment, they’ll also help arranging financing on new trucks.

“Businesses along the supply chain understand that they and their employees benefit by maintaining as clean a footprint as possible,” said Joanne Throwe, director of the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Centre. “Helping truck drivers – mainly from small businesses – to afford cleaner, greener trucks is a goal the private sector can embrace.”

“This is a great example of how a government and industry partnership should work. The program goals are admirable – reducing emissions from mobile sources at the Mid-Atlantic ports to promote clean air for everyone’s benefit, and the government is giving private industry the tools needed to achieve those objectives,” added Louis Campion, president of the Maryland Motor Truck Association.

The initiative is said to be the only such program using a multi-state collaboration to boost the level of financial support for truckers.

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