Washington, D.C./ Politics & Govt
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Published on April 24, 2024
Biden-Harris Administration Puts the Pedal to the Metal, Unveils $1.5B Plan for Emission-Free FreightSource: Google Street View

The Biden-Harris administration has announced an ambitious plan to make the nation's freight industry emission-free, rolling out an unprecedented national goal. In a serious move towards a more sustainable future, the White House is pushing a strategy to eliminate harmful emissions from heavy-duty trucks and other large vehicles that have long contributed to air pollution and associated health risks for millions of Americans living in proximity to freight corridors.

Under the new initiative, nearly $1.5 billion will be invested to transition heavy-duty vehicles towards zero-emissions technology. This move, part of President Biden's broader Investing in America agenda that has already sparked significant private sector investments, seeks to address the considerable environmental and health impact of freight transportation, especially in communities burdened by high levels of air pollution. According to a White House statement, the transportation sector is the biggest climate polluter in the U.S., with trucks and buses amounting to nearly a quarter of this pollution.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is stepping forward with a significant funding opportunity reaching nearly $1 billion as part of this agenda, to replace heavy Class 6 and Class 7 vehicles with zero-emission alternatives. This includes a range of vehicles from school buses to trash and delivery trucks. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has also announced its own $400 million Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities Grant Program designed to cut down on emissions at ports, notorious for their negative impact on local air quality.

Along with the funding strategies, today’s announcement also included the launch of a new “SuperTruck: Charged” program by the Department of Energy (DOE), which comes with a $72 million investment. This initiative is geared towards developing advanced technology that supports affordable and reliable charging options for the nation's burgeoning fleet of electric trucks. The Administration is taking a holistic approach by bringing together a multitude of stakeholders to turbocharge the development of necessary infrastructure for this revolutionary shift in the freight sector.

President Biden and Vice President Harris have actively associated these efforts with a broader objective – ensuring that no American community is left to suffer the disproportionate consequences of industrial pollution. The Administration’s efforts continue to underline the importance of environmental justice, aiming to provide communities of color and low-income families with the same quality of air as wealthier neighborhoods. In doing so, they do not only look to fulfill their commitment to a 40 percent benefit flow to disadvantaged communities through federal environmental investments but also strive to make good on promises for an equitable and healthy future for all citizens as stated in the Executive Order 14008 signed by President Biden in his first week in office.