Citing cost concerns, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey announced this week that it is backing off its older truck ban for its Newark and Elizabeth seaports.
The Port Authority told northjersey.com that it had not realized that its emissions reduction plan would cost more than $150 million in grants to help vehicle owners replace the 6,300 pre-2007 trucks registered with the Port Authority.
So long as they’re currently registered, trucks predating model year 2007 will still be approved by the Port Authority. However, pre-2007 trucks not already registered will be banned from entering the ports.
The Port Authority announced last week that qualifying truck owners will receive $1.2 million from the transportation agency along with $9 million in federal aid to replace their older trucks. About 400 trucks are expected to be purchased with those funds.
The Port Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency have already provided $28 million in grants and loans to vehicle owners to replace 429 trucks.
Of the 9,000 trucks that regularly serve the ports, about 2,700 trucks have newer, cleaner engines, according to Steve Coleman, Port Authority spokesman.
The EPA is reportedly upset and surprised by the Port Authority’s decision to abandon its truck ban. The EPA plans on responding to the Port Authority in a letter this week.
Clean air advocates are fuming and claim the Port Authority has no excuse for not following through with its original plan, which it announced five years ago with the EPA.
The Port of Long Beach in Southern California, the nation’s busiest port, banned older trucks by 2012. Programs have been in place for years at ports around the nation to assist truck owners in acquiring vehicles with lower emissions.
On its website, the Port Authority advertises its Get a New Truck program. Qualifying truck owners can receive up to 50 percent of the cost for a new truck, or $25,000, whichever is less.