State issues draft plan for freight system of the future

New technologies to deliver cleaner air, increased efficiency, competitiveness

May 3, 2016

SACRAMENTO—State agency leaders today released the Draft California Sustainable Freight Action Plan, an ambitious document that lays a foundation for modernizing California’s multi-billion dollar freight transportation system.

Developed in response to Governor Brown’s Executive Order B-32-15, which calls for a single integrated action plan for California, the Draft Action Plan was drafted by the California State Transportation Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency, Natural Resources Agency, California Air Resources Board, California Department of Transportation, California Energy Commission and Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development with broad stakeholder input.

The Executive Order directs the state agencies to pursue a shared vision to “improve freight efficiency, transition to zero-emission technologies and increase the competitiveness of California’s freight system.” Benefits include meeting the state’s freight infrastructure, public health, air quality and climate goals.

The Draft Action Plan responds to the Governor’s Executive Order by articulating one shared vision to improve the efficiency of California’s freight system while reducing its pollution, all the while bolstering the competitiveness of California’s goods movement system nationally and internationally.

Key components of the Action Plan include:

  • A long-term 2050 vision and guiding principles for California’s future freight transport system.
  •  Targets for 2030 to guide the State toward meeting its long-term vision:
    • Improve freight system efficiency 25 percent by 2030.
    • Deploy over 100,000 zero-emission vehicles/equipment and maximize near-zero by 2020.
    • Foster future economic growth within the freight and goods movement industry.
  • Identified opportunities to leverage State freight transport system investments.
  • Actions to initiate over the next five years to make progress towards the Draft Action Plan’s vision and target.
  • Pilot projects to achieve concrete progress in the near-term.
  • Additional concepts for further exploration and potential development.

“Future investments of public dollars in freight require a smart approach that accounts for both environmental stewardship and the need for new infrastructure to accommodate a growing freight sector,” said CalSTA Secretary, Brian P. Kelly. “While some may see these as competing priorities, this Draft Action Plan suggests we don’t have to choose between these important objectives, but can achieve both through more prudent planning and investment. I look forward to perfecting the document with input from our many stakeholders in the days ahead.”

Achieving the Draft Action Plan’s objectives will require strategic partnerships and well-coordinated investments in new technologies and major infrastructure upgrades. The plan provides an opportunity for leveraging new federal, State, local and private investment for these freight transport system improvements.

California’s freight system is the most extensive and interconnected freight system in the United States and is composed of several deep water seaports, cargo airports, border crossings, and a vast warehousing and distribution sector, all connected by a network of over 11,000 miles of railroad track and Interstate and state highways. Each component is critical and the system depends on these interconnected facilities working in concert to move freight in and out of California to the rest of the nation and across the globe. California’s freight-dependent industries account for more than $740 billion in revenue and more than 5 million jobs in 2014.

“This is an unprecedented effort to partner with the freight sector to help bolster the competitiveness of California’s freight industry,” said Governor Brown’s senior jobs adviser Mike Rossi. “The freight sector has already invested heavily in modernization and the Action Plan helps advance those efforts while reducing emissions through commercially viable and affordable technologies.”

While freight transport in California is a major economic engine for the state, emissions from ships, harbor craft, trucks, locomotives, cargo equipment, aircraft and other freight participants account for about half of toxic diesel particulate matter (PM 2.5), 45 percent of the emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) that form ozone and fine particulate matter in the atmosphere, and 6 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in California. Many of these pollutants are emitted in close proximity to communities and pose health risks to nearby residents, highlighting the need for additional steps to protect public health.

“The draft we are releasing today represents an unprecedented collaboration among government agencies, in keeping with the importance of the freight sector to our economy and our environment,” said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols. “The plan commits to include all stakeholders at every step in the process, from refining goals and selecting pilot projects through implementation into the coming decade. Our challenge is to deliver both public health and economic benefits at our ports, on our highways, and in our communities throughout the state.”

The Draft Action Plan builds on existing State agency strategies, including the California Freight Mobility Plan, Sustainable Freight Pathways to Zero and Near-Zero Emissions Discussion Document and the Integrated Energy Policy Report. Broad stakeholder input provided over the past several months, including 11 workshops across the state, inform this Draft Action Plan.

The Draft Action Plan is available now for stakeholder and public feedback through July 6, 2016. Additionally, agency staff will present it as an informational item at public meetings of the California Freight Advisory Committee, the California Transportation Commission and California Air Resources Board in May.

“The Energy Commission is pleased to work in partnership with our sister agencies and engaged stakeholders across the state to develop this draft action plan,” said Energy Commissioner Janea A. Scott. “Reducing pollution from the freight sector will help California to meet its clean air standards and climate goals.”

The Governor’s Executive Order on Sustainable Freight can be found at:

The Draft Action Plan is available for public review and comments at:

The State Agencies are requesting comments by July 6, 2016. Comments can be submitted electronically at:


Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GOBIZ)
Brook Taylor, 916-322-0667

California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA)
Nancy Vogel, 916-653-9402

California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA)
Alex Barnum, 916-324-9670

California State Transportation Agency (CaLSTA)
Melissa Figueroa, 916-445-3545

California Air Resources Board (CARB)
Karen Caesar, 626-575-6728 Stanley Young, 916-956-9409

California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)
Tamie McGowen, 916-654-5782

California Energy Commission (CEC)
Linda Rapatonni, 916-654-4989 Albert Lundeen, 916-654-4989