The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has approved $373-million in grants to bolster alternative-fuel vehicles, including fleet-eligible rebates for low- and zero-emission passenger vehicles, the board announced.

The budget for the annual Funding Plan for Low Carbon Transportation Investments and the Air Quality Improvement Program is up by $150 million over last year's budget, CARB reported. Most of this budget is subject to approval by the state legislature when it considers the proposed expenditure of cap-and-trade auction proceeds as part of the state budget. The grants cover fiscal year 2015-2016.

The majority of the funding — $350 million — comes from the funds in the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund dedicated to low-carbon transportation investments, and supports a variety of programs for a wide range of cars, trucks, and off-road equipment, according to CARB. An additional $23 million comes from the Air Quality Improvement Program.

Light-duty vehicles will receive $200 million, including $163 million for the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project that offers up to $5,000 in vehicle rebates for the purchase or lease of new, eligible zero-emission and plug-in hybrid light-duty vehicles.

Heavy-duty vehicle and freight-equipment projects receive $167.5 million, including $12 million for Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) to encourage commercial deployment of hybrid and zero-emission trucks and buses.

Also included in the funding plan are increased investments for light-duty pilot projects in disadvantaged communities, including $20 million to expand air district administered retire-and-replace pilot programs that help low-income residents afford the cleanest cars; the funding of $20 million for pilot deployment of zero-emission trucks and $45 million for pilot deployment of zero-emission buses; and the funding of $59 million for advanced technology demonstration projects for larger vehicles, CAR reported.

The Funding Plan builds on previous investments designed to benefit disadvantaged communities, including pilot programs to help owners of older, dirty vehicles move up to much cleaner, newer cars (including electric vehicles). Overall, the Funding Plan dedicates 50 percent of the low-carbon transportation funds to benefit disadvantaged communities, and 10 percent of those dedicated funds is to be invested directly in those communities, according to CARB.

Originally posted on Trucking Info