Padilla Applauds First-Ever National Strategy to Accelerate Deployment of Zero-Emission Heavy-Duty Vehicle Infrastructure

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) applauded the Administration’s announcement of its National Zero-Emission Freight Corridor Strategy to guide the national deployment of zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty freight transportation vehicle (ZE-MHDV) charging and fueling infrastructure. Developed by the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the landmark strategy will build on California’s leadership and industry progress to develop the infrastructure necessary to decarbonize the movement of freight and goods across the country. The strategy guides infrastructure deployment to meet growing market demands; boost strategic public and private investment; and support utility and regulatory planning and action at local, state, and regional levels.

Today’s announcement follows Padilla’s efforts to call on the Joint Office to prioritize the deployment of zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty infrastructure as part of its core mission. Previously, the Joint Office almost exclusively focused on light-duty vehicles despite the fact that heavy-duty vehicles more significantly contribute to poor air quality in communities along roadways and near goods movement facilities. Padilla’s effort was supported by 14 other Senators and a broad range of stakeholders, including industry partners such as the Engine Manufacturers Association and CALSTART, as well as environmental organizations such as Evergreen Action and the League of Conservation Voters.

“This landmark national strategy builds off California’s leadership and brings us one step closer to achieving a zero-emission transportation sector that provides clean air for communities, creates market certainty for industry, and strengthens our supply chains,” said Senator Padilla. “I’m grateful to the Administration for advancing this whole-of-government effort and heeding my calls to launch a national strategy to accelerate the build-out of zero-emission freight transportation infrastructure. This all-hands-on-deck approach from the federal government and industry partners will enable us to realize California and the Administration’s zero-emission goals. I am hopeful that the EPA can build on this progress to soon finalize strong Phase 3 greenhouse gas emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles that are aligned with California’s rules.”  

“For over a century, petroleum-fueled freight has transported vital food and resources to American families but at the same time, these vehicles have also contributed to lower public health, especially in densely populated communities,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “The Biden-Harris Administration is addressing this issue head-on with innovative strategies to transform freight so it not only supports American families and businesses, but also protects the environment for future generations.”

Last July, the California Air Resources Board and the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA) reached a historic agreement to achieve 100 percent zero-emission heavy-duty vehicle sales in California by 2036. As part of this agreement, EMA committed to increase their efforts to sell clean trucks and support zero-emission vehicle infrastructure in California and in other states that adopt California’s ambitious rules. As Padilla called for, the Joint Office is now building on this collaboration between California regulators and truck manufacturers and accelerating the nationwide deployment of the infrastructure that is critical to achieving a zero-emission commercial vehicle future across the country.

Despite making up only 10 percent of all vehicles on the road, heavy-duty vehicles produce over a quarter of the transportation sector’s greenhouse gas emissions, almost half of its nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, and over half of all particulate matter emissions. Providing ubiquitous and convenient access to electric vehicle charging and hydrogen refueling along our nation’s freight corridors and at intermodal freight facilities and high-usage ports is key to achieving U.S. goals to promote at least 30 percent ZE-MHDV sales by 2030 and 100 percent sales by 2040. The goal of the strategy is to align public policy and investments by prioritizing infrastructure deployment along the National Highway Freight Network (NHFN) and complementary roadways in phases to accelerate the adoption of ZE-MHDVs. 

The National Zero-Emission Freight Corridor Strategy will prioritize, sequence, and accelerate infrastructure along key freight corridors and hubs in four phases:

  • Establish priority hubs based on freight volumes (2024-2027)
  • Connect hubs along critical freight corridors (2027-2030)
  • Expand corridor connections initiating network development (2030-2035)
  • Achieve national network by linking regional corridors for ubiquitous access (2035-2040)

In addition to the Joint Office’s National Zero-Emission Freight Corridor Strategy, the Federal Highway Administration is announcing the designation of Freight EV Corridors along the National Highway Freight Network and other key roadways. The designations, which are required by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will help guide federal, state, regional, and private-sector investment into the infrastructure needed for zero-emissions transportation of goods and supplies among key hubs such as ports, intermodal centers, and warehouses. Electric and other zero-emission forms of freight transport have considerable potential to save Americans money on consumer goods thanks to reduced fueling and maintenance costs associated with transport, all while delivering significant health benefits for historically disadvantaged populations that suffer the worst impacts of pollution from freight emissions and helping achieve national climate goals.

This is an all-of-government approach to aligning investments and accelerating sustainable and scalable deployment of reliable ZE-MHDV infrastructure. Deployment factors include corridor segment usage by freight volume, port usage by annual freight tonnage, projected ZE-MHDV volumes, disproportionate environmental and air quality burden from MHDV transportation and non-attainment for criteria air pollutants, states with ZEV deployment-enabling policies, and “on-the-ground” planning through DOE’s commercial ZEV corridor planning grants.

A coalition of 19 environmental groups expressed their strong support to the Administration for a National Strategy for Freight Electrification.

Senator Padilla has consistently fought for emissions reductions in the transportation sector, including through his letter to the Joint Office last October. Last November, Padilla, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and leaders from the heavy-duty vehicle industry called on the EPA to finalize the strongest possible Phase 3 heavy-duty vehicles emissions rule by early 2024. Earlier this year, Padilla and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) applauded the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service for releasing guidance to significantly expand access to the 30C Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit, heeding their calls to finalize guidance that broadens access to 30C Credit.

He has also led a series of letters advocating for strong vehicle greenhouse gas emissions standards, including for heavy-duty trucks. In March 2022, he and the late Dianne Feinstein successfully pushed the Administration to revise emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks, which had previously not been revised in 20 years.

A complete strategy and maps are available here.


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