State Releases Final Plan to Transform Freight System
In response to an Executive Order issued last year by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., state agency leaders released the California Sustainable Freight Action Plan, a comprehensive document that serves as a blueprint for transforming the state’s multi-billion dollar freight transport system into one that is environmentally cleaner, more efficient, and more economically competitive than it is today.
The revised document, which was released July 29, is similar to the draft version issued in May 2016. It reflects new input provided by industry, labor, regional and local government, and community and environmental group stakeholders, who submitted more than 85 comments on the draft plan.
Developed in response to Governor Brown’s Executive Order B-32-15, which calls for a single integrated action plan for California, the Action Plan was prepared by the California State Transportation Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency, California Natural Resources Agency, California Air Resources Board, California Department of Transportation, California Energy Commission and the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, with broad stakeholder input.
“The Energy Commission appreciates the collaboration amongst our sister agencies and engaged stakeholders across the state to develop an action plan to address Governor Brown's call to action on sustainable freight,” said Energy Commissioner Janea A. Scott. “We look forward to working with our partners to refine and prioritize the strategies and actions identified in the Action Plan and to carrying out actions that will help California to meet its clean air standards and climate goals.”
The Executive Order directs the state agencies to pursue a shared vision to “improve freight efficiency, transition to zero-emission technologies and increase the competitiveness of California’s freight system.” Benefits include meeting the state’s freight infrastructure, public health, air quality and climate goals.
Currently, California is the nation’s largest gateway for international trade and domestic commerce, with an interconnected system of ports, railroads, highways and roads that allow freight from around the world to move throughout the state and nation. This system is responsible for one-third of the state’s economic product and jobs, with freight dependent industries accounting for over $740 billion in gross domestic product and over five million jobs in 2014.
The action plan includes a long term-2050 vision and guiding principles for California’s future freight transport system along with these targets for 2030:
- Improve freight system efficiency 25 percent by 2030.
- Deploy over 100,000 zero-emission vehicles/equipment and maximize near-zero by 2020.
- Foster future economic growth within the freight and goods movement industry.
Among the new additions to the final plan are placing more focus on key partnerships and a discussion of toxic hot spots. Changes have also been made throughout the document to clarify and emphasize the collaboration between the responsible agencies and other regional planning efforts, including funding.
Next steps for state agencies will include continued work with federal, state, industry, labor, regional, local and environmental and community-based partners to refine and prioritize the strategies and actions outlined in the Action Plan. The state agencies will also create collaborative stakeholder working groups on competitiveness, system efficiency, workforce developments, and regulatory and permitting process improvements.
Regular California Freight Advisory Committee meetings will continue. The state agencies will establish work plans for chosen pilot projects by July 2017.