On Monday, June 20, a joint meeting of the Assembly Transportation Committee and the Select Committee on Ports held a hearing to discuss on the draft California Sustainable Freight Action Plan.  The plan is in response to Executive Order B-32-15 issue by Governor Brown in July 2015, which directs a myriad of state agencies to develop a plan to improve freight efficiency, transition to zero-emission technologies, and increase competitiveness of California’s freight system.

Although a wide swath of diverse industry groups have participated in stakeholder groups working on the plan, there is concern that not many of the suggestions provided have been incorporated into the plan.

As the California freight industry faces new shipping alliances, the widening of the Panama Canal, megaships, and out-of-state gateway ports pursuing California importers, among various other factors, the discussion centered around policies and funding to support stronger economic vitality and system efficiencies.

While the greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan is more developed, the dialogue focused on how the three pillars can be coequal.  Overall, the discussion was robust, and as anticipated based on meetings with the Chair, quite pointed toward agency representatives.

CBPA, however, worries that a freight plan that increases goods-movement costs while doing little to improve efficiency or competitiveness will only hasten the diversion of cargo from California to neighboring states that is already underway.  The economic harm this creates is not just around our ports—warehouses and distribution centers that are major job centers across California will follow this cargo as it moves to competing states.  We are continuing to work with the state agencies tasked with devising the plan and legislators tasked with reviewing the plan, and hope we can come to agreement on a sustainable plan that also strengthens California’s economy.

For more information about the Sustainable Freight Plan, click here.

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