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PORTERVILLE - On Friday, June 2, the State of California and the south San Joaquin Valley city of Porterville celebrated the award of $9.5 million that will bring 10 zero-emission battery-electric buses and supportive infrastructure to serve disadvantaged communities in the region. In addition to the buses, the project also includes installation of charging stations and solar panels. Funding is from the California Climate Investments (CCI), the state’s climate change-fighting, cap-and-trade program.
The special event included presentation of a giant check and groundbreaking ceremony for GreenPower’s planned manufacturing facility, which is bringing much needed jobs and on-site job training opportunities to the area.
“Thanks to proceeds from the cap-and-trade program, California is on a roll to put zero emission cars, trucks and buses in the communities that need them the most,” said CARB Chair Mary Nichols. “And the City of Porterville is a dynamic leader in the Central Valley, taking the first step to a fully zero-emission transit fleet over the next decade.”
”This exciting project in Porterville delivers fully on the promise of California’s efforts to fight climate change,” said CARB board member Alex Sherriffs M.D., who also serves on the board of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. “It clears the air with zero-emission buses in a community that faces serious air quality issues. It supports the deployment of breakthrough clean technology that cuts carbon pollution. And it provides employment-- and perhaps most importantly -- on-site job training for the young people in this and other San Joaquin Valley communities who have all too often been left out of the clean tech boom in California.”
Manufactured by GreenPower Motor Company and expected to arrive by early 2018, the 10 new GreenPower EV350 40-foot zero-emission all-electric transit buses and the charging infrastructure will service all nine of the Porterville Transit routes in the disadvantaged communities of Porterville, East Porterville, Strathmore and the Tule River Indian Reservation, all heavily affected by air pollution. GreenPower will build a manufacturing facility for all-electric buses and batteries, expected to open in 2018. Southern California Edison will support the installation of infrastructure and provide special rates for high-voltage bus charging.
“With sincere gratitude for the support of the California Air Resources Board and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, and in partnership with GreenPower, the City of Porterville is excited at the unique opportunity for fleet-wide implementation of the latest in electric transit technology in service to our community,” said Milt Stowe, Mayor of Porterville. “We are thrilled by the commitment by GreenPower Motor Company to establish its manufacturing facility in Porterville and the hundreds of local jobs it will generate, in addition to the economic and technological benefit to the greater San Joaquin Valley.”
“We are excited to be working with the City of Porterville on a system-wide deployment of our all-electric transit buses and charging infrastructure,” said Fraser Atkinson, Chairman of GreenPower. “The Porterville project will serve as a model for other operators in the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and across North America who are seeking to deploy not just a zero-emission vehicle, but a zero-emission solution.”
The $9.5 million award to the City of Porterville was one of only nine awards from the highly competitive Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Pilot Project solicitation. In addition to the grant amount, the project partners – GreenPower, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, and Southern California Edison -- are contributing more than $7 million in a combination of cash and in-kind matching funds.
The award is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities. The cap-and-trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution. California Climate Investments projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable agriculture, recycling and much more. At least 35 percent of these investments are made in disadvantaged and low-income communities. For more information, visit https://arb.ca.gov/caclimateinvestments.