New York ports clean up their act

NEW YORK — The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is launching a Clean Trucks Program, similar to one already in operation on the west coast.

The Port Authority and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched the program to replace up to 636 of the oldest, most polluting trucks serving the Port of New York and New Jersey with newer models that generate less pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

The $28 million program is designed to encourage the owners of up to 636 pre-1994 drayage trucks that regularly serve the port to purchase newer vehicles. Truckers are eligible if they regularly call on the Port Authority’s marine terminals. The program is partly funded by a $7 million EPA grant, with the remainder coming from Port Authority funds.

The bi-state agency also announced a truck phase-out plan in which pre-1994 model trucks would no longer be able to call on Port Authority marine terminals beginning January 1, 2011. Trucks not equipped with engines that meet or exceed 2007 federal emissions standards will no longer be able to call on the Port Authority marine terminals beginning on January 1, 2017.

“The Clean Truck Program is the latest in our efforts to achieve cleaner air at and around our port,” says Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia. “On top of our other investments – including $600 million to build on-dock rail and $60 million to acquire and preserve environmentally sensitive property – we believe this program will help build on our legacy as good environmental stewards.”

Under the program, truck drivers will be eligible for the following assistance:
– A 25 percent grant toward the total purchase price of a replacement truck – averaging between $20,000 and $60,000 – which must be model year 2004 to 2008, equipped with an engine model year 2004 to 2007.
– Low-interest financing (5.25 percent over five years) for up to 75 percent of the total purchase price of a replacement truck.

The Clean Truck Program is similar to the program of the same name at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Parts of the west coast plan were heavily contested by the American Trucking Associations including a requirement to only company drivers access to the ports.

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