SAN DIEGO一 On Feb. 11 the San Diego Board of Port Commissioners heard an update on the Maritime Clean Air Strategy.
MCAS is an extension of the port’s climate action plan and a complementary effort of AB 617 Community Emission Reduction Program, requiring “new, community-focused actions that utilize statewide and regional strategies to reduce high cumulative exposure in California’s disadvantaged communities,” said the California Air Resources Board on their website.
MCAS is a subcommittee that meets bi-monthly to focus on the port’s efforts to transition to zero and near-zero emissions.
“MCAS is about…drilling down on the work we started with the climate action plan to say what are we going to do as the port to specifically address clean air issues,” said Michael Zucchet chairman for the Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners.
Part of AB 617 is identifying neighborhoods that are negatively impacted by air pollution, several portside communities in San Diego were identified, Barrio Logan, Logan Heights, Sherman Heights, and western National City. According to a Nov. 18, 2020 report to the Air Pollution Control Board, these communities experience higher levels of diesel pollution and more emergency room visits due to asthma.
Zucchet acknowledged the role that the harbor plays, saying that the harbor “plays no small hand” in the air pollution in National City and Barrio Logan.
Part of the port’s solution was creating a “haul road” as part of the revitalization plan. “Harbor Drive 2.0” will do a number of things but is mainly meant to drive truck traffic out of the neighborhood onto a dedicated haul road.
The port is also looking to replace a few trucks with electrical options to limit truck emissions.
“If you look at all the truck trips that are associated with the 10th avenue terminal a substantial number are a handful of vehicles making a ton of short-haul trips just replacing 3 or 4 trucks could have a huge impact by cutting the diesel truck trips,” said Zucchet.
The project would be $40 million but Zucchet is hoping to have a line of funding that could push the project into the design phase.
MCAS is still identifying goals, priorities, costs, and development scenarios for the further transition of the port.
The port is planning to post the MCAS discussion draft on their website for a 30-day review period sometime in the next two months, they are also looking towards a virtual MCAS workshop. The board is planning to return with a Draft MCAS sometime in May.