At last Saturday’s Port of Houston Drayage Truck Fair, drivers learned about new vehicle funding opportunities while I learned that they really do appreciate the win-win aspects of getting newer trucks making them more marketable to employers, while also helping the environment.
Representatives from the Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC), Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and the Port of Houston offered information and answered questions about regional and statewide Clean Truck Programs aimed at giving Port of Houston truck drivers grants and low-interest loans to help in the purchase of newer, cleaner vehicles. These programs are among many efforts by EDF, HGAC and the Port Authority to tackle one of the largest sources of air pollution in the port area: short-haul trucks.
The Drayage Truck Fair featured new trucks on display, truck dealers offering special discounts, meet-and-greets with program representatives, and family fun with background music from a local radio station and food being cooked up around the field. Thanks to media and blog interest from The Journal of Commerce, The Baytown Sun, Overdrive.online, and RoadProServices.com, more than 150 truckers and their families attended the event.
I was there as an EDF representative and served as a translator for another staff member. We spoke to several truck drivers and their families who had questions about how the program worked and details about the application process. There were many questions about credit, grant amounts and what kinds of trucks were eligible for replacement through the program. Truckers seemed excited when they learned the details and agreed that if a new truck was in their future, the Clean Truck Loan Program was the way to go – with up to 70% of the price of the new truck covered by a grant, and the remainder to be paid with a low-interest loan at around 4.5%.
I found it personally rewarding to be able to help spread the word about such a great program, which currently is one of the most successful in the country. The Clean Truck program not only benefits Houston truck drivers by way of grant money and increased hirability, but also benefits all of Houston as it helps to clean the air we breathe.
For more information about this program, visit the HGAC Air Quality Programs website.