San Diego/ Politics & Govt
AI Assisted Icon
Published on May 18, 2024
Port of San Diego Pledges $1.55 Million to Fight Industrial Smog, Backing Greener Practices for Barrio Logan and National CitySource: Google Street View

To clear the industrial smog, the Port of San Diego is doubling its commitment to greener practices by upping the ante for its Maritime Industrial Impact Fund (MIIF). The Board of Port Commissioners has unanimously agreed to boost the annual contribution from 2% to 4% of its gross maritime industrial revenue, with an estimated $1.55 million set to bolster the fund in fiscal year 2025, as the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The decision has been influenced by the needs of communities like Barrio Logan and National City, which feel the brunt of nearby marine terminals and shipyards.

Previously, the port had contributed a leaner 1% of its revenue to counteract the industrial fallout confronted by local neighborhoods. According to the Port's press release, the fresh round of funding will now cover maritime electrification efforts, including electric trucks and infrastructure investments. The expanded scope of the MIIF aims to combat various impacts, including air pollution, noise, and other community disturbances stemming from maritime activities.

Proactive, the MIIF is a testament to the port's conscientious neighbor efforts. "The Maritime Industrial Impact Fund is one of the many ways we deliver on our promise to be good neighbors," said Chairman Frank Urtasun of the Port's board in a statement obtained by the port's press release. The port has also dropped nearly $120 million on clean air projects, demonstrating a robust commitment to environmental justice in portside communities.

The MIIF's beneficiaries are not just theoretical constructs but real-world endeavors with tangible benefits. The funds have already been utilized for various projects, such as the Free Ride Around National City electric shuttle and air filtration systems for schools in heavily affected areas. These initiatives are part of a larger vision as laid out in the port's Maritime Clean Air Strategy, with the prominent goal to electrify all trucking operations by 2030, a target emphasized by Kyle Heiskala, policy co-director at the Environmental Health Coalition, during a port commissioners' meeting.

In a complex dance of politics and policy-making, these developments come as state Assemblymember David Alvarez proposes reforms that may affect how the port allocates its funds. However, the port has stated that some proposed measures might be illegal under current statutes. Nevertheless, Alvarez has shown a willingness to amend his bill to support the codification of the MIIF, as he told the San Diego Union-Tribune