The Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles are on the verge of establishing a joint grant program that would give dozens of truck drivers up to $100,000 each to buy newer, less-polluting rigs.

Under whats being called the Early Adopter Truck Incentive Program, a total of $14 million is being earmarked by the ports to give to goods-hauling drivers to help them pay for new lower emission, natural gas-powered trucks. Of that amount, $8 million is coming from grant program funds provided by the California Energy Commission, while the two ports and South Coast Air Quality Management District would each provide $2 million in funding.

Truckers successfully applying to the ports incentive program would receive $100,000 each toward the purchase of low-emission natural gas-powered trucks. To receive the funds, applicants would already have to be part of the ports truck registry, which lists what trucks are authorized to enter the port complex. Grant recipients would also have to agree to scrap their existing truck in order to receive money toward the purchase of a new one.

The average cost of the new, low-emissions trucks is $200,000, which is about $50,000 more than a standard container-hauling truck, according to the ports.

According to the ports, the program is designed to incentivize wide-scale deployment of low-emissions, heavy-duty freight-movement trucks throughout the area.

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Matt Miyasato, SCAQMDs deputy executive officer for science and technology advancement, said the newer trucks are 90 percent cleaner than the standard commercial trucks on the road today and emit near-zero emissions.

“We suffer from the worst air quality in the nation,” Miyasato said Nov. 15. “The only reasonable way for us to get attainment for healthy, clean air for the region is to replace, among other things, about 200,000 on-road heavy duty trucks. We think the port is a great place to start.”

The SCAQMDs governing board approved the program during an October meeting, and the Port of Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners did the same on Nov. 15. Next up is Long Beachs harbor board, which is expected to ratify the agreement during its Nov. 26 business meeting.

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