FHWA Gives Out First Trucks-in-Ports Emissions Reduction Grants

The Federal Highway Administration this week announced $148 million in grant selectees for the first two rounds of funding for the new Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities Grant Program created by section 11402 of the 2021 IIJA infrastructure law.

“When truckers spend hours idling at ports, it’s bad for drivers, bad for supply chains, and bad for nearby communities that feel the brunt of more polluted air,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The investments we are announcing today will save truck drivers time and money and help ports reduce congestion and emissions, while making the air more breathable for workers and communities.”

Section 11402 created a program “to reduce idling at port facilities” under which DOT shall fund projects “that reduce port-related emissions from idling trucks…including through advancement of port electrification.”

“Including” does not mean “limited to,” so battery-electric heavy vehicles are not the only thing eligible. Hydrogen fuel cell-electric vehicles (and their fueling structures) are also eligible, as are reduced-emission liquid fuels that run in internal combustion engines.

The largest grants include:

  • $34.8 million to the Port of Long Beach (container terminal) for purchasing 155 electric vehicles (149 trucks and six shuttle buses) and installing a charger for each.
  • $25.1 million to the Port of Houston for a mixed fleet of 30 zero-emission Class 8 trucks, along with 15 portable electric chargers and one portable hydrogen fueling station.
  • $16 million for the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma for a fleet of 38 to 58 technology-agnostic “zero-emission, heavy-duty trucks” and their related charging/fueling infrastructure.
  • $9.1 million for another grant to the Port of Long Beach (outside the container terminal) for 40 Class 8 electric trucks, which works out to $225 thousand per unit.
  • $8.3 million to be split between the Port of Jacksonville and the Port Everglades Terminal in Fort Lauderdale, to include “replacing diesel-powered trucks with electric utility tractor rigs and installing high-power DC fast chargers.”
  • $7.8 million for a large-scale electric truck charging project at the Port of Savannah.
  • $7.5 million for another project at the Port of Savannah, to “replace petroleum diesel fuel used by 621 trucks with renewable, low-emission diesel fuel.”

This left $39 million to be split amongst 12 smaller projects, the smallest of which was $642,258 to the Maryland DOT to “replace one diesel-powered street sweeper with one zero-emission unit to be used at the Port of Baltimore for moving cars and light trucks. Funding also will be used to research and develop the adoption of electric Power Take Off (ePTO) devices on carrier trucks, which average two hours of engine idling per trip while loading or unloading. Wider adoption of ePTO’s will significantly reduce truck idling and emissions at ports.”

(Ed. Note: The street sweeper has to be yellow. Per the legendary, late Maryland blues musician Root Boy Slim who, as recounted in his excellent Washington Post obituary, once stole a street sweeper in Atlanta and drove it into the side of a city building, and wrote the song “Big Yellow Streetsweeper” about it.)

(Further Ed. Note: And Root Boy Slim, whom I met a few times in college, has a real connection to federal transportation policy, because Root Boy’s maternal grandfather was a Congressman who chaired the Ways and Means Committee 1933-1953 and who was responsible for levying the first-ever federal tax on driving your own car or truck, as a World War II emergency revenue measure, which I wrote about here.)

The full list of grants in this FY 2022-2023 round of the program is here.

Search Eno Transportation Weekly

Latest Issues

Happening on the Hill