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Advanced Transportation Technology in the NEWS

Air board cracks down on diesel

State regulators adopt tough rules requiring huge cutbacks in fumes from construction industry equipment.
Next up: big trucks.

By Margot Roosevelt, Times Staff Writer - July 27, 2007

SACRAMENTO - California's diesel-powered bulldozers, scrapers and other heavy construction equipment must be retrofitted or replaced over the next 13 years to reduce the air pollution that sickens tens of thousands of residents every year, state regulators decided Thursday.

Under tough new rules adopted by the Air Resources Board, California is the first state to make construction companies fix existing diesel-powered machines. Heavy equipment can last 30 years or more, so without the new mandate, it would take decades for fleets to upgrade to cleaner equipment.

Although the fumes are most often associated with big trucks and buses, 20% of California's diesel pollution comes from the construction industry. Building, mining and airport vehicles are responsible for an estimated 1,100 premature deaths statewide every year and more than 1,000 hospitalizations for heart and lung disease, along with tens of thousands of asthma attacks, scientists say.

The air board's new rules will slash diesel soot - also known as particulate matter - from construction equipment by 92% over 2000 levels. Smog-forming nitrogen oxides will be cut by more than a third. And greenhouse gases, a byproduct of fuel burning, also will drop as a result of a ban on idling equipment.

"This is a very progressive rule with a lot of flexibility," said board Chairwoman Mary Nichols. "Beginning in 2010, we will be breathing far less of the smog and fine particulates that are so damaging to our health."

The building industry hotly contested the rule, saying it would cause job losses, increase highway construction costs and damage the state's economy. Michael Lewis, a lobbyist for the industry-led Coalition to Build a Cleaner California, said industry could not afford the retrofits. "And a regulation that is not achievable will not save one life," he said.

The new regulation signaled a comeback for the powerful board, whose reputation was damaged in the wake of the recent firing of its former chairman, Robert Sawyer, by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and allegations that the governor's staff had tried to weaken proposed pollution standards.

Nichols, an environmental lawyer appointed by Schwarzenegger to replace Sawyer, took an aggressive stance during Thursday's daylong board meeting, opposing an industry proposal to delay enforcement.

The diesel rule, the result of three years of debate, drew applause from environmental groups.

"This was a great debut by Chairwoman Nichols," said Kathryn Phillips, a lobbyist for Environmental Defense. "It shows that science and public health are still the main forces that drive the agency."

The rule, which air board staff say will cost the industry up to $3.4 billion, is one of the most expensive adopted by the board. As part of an aggressive diesel cleanup, the board has also adopted restrictions on garbage trucks, buses and ships. Next on the agenda: heavy-duty trucks, which could cost even more to clean up than construction equipment.

The building industry operates 180,000 pieces of diesel machinery statewide. It costs up to $40,000 to buy particulate filters for a single million-dollar scraper.

Overall, contractors contended, the cost of the rules could reach $13 billion and boost the price of homes, highways and commercial buildings.

The discrepancy in the estimates of the cost to industry caused the board to delay action in May to allow staff to evaluate new economic data. In the last two months, air board economists and individual board members held dozens of meetings with industry groups and examined the financial records of companies.

Industry figures were based on an exaggerated rate of equipment turnover, among other factors, staffers told the board.

On a vote of 6 to 3, with Nichols leading the opposition, the board defeated an effort by industry groups to extend the compliance schedule. It maintained annual reduction targets for soot, rather than moving enforcement to a three-year schedule, which staff said could cut health benefits by as much as 12%.

In addition to an overall state standard, the board adopted a provision that will allow Los Angeles and nearby counties, the San Joaquin Valley and other particularly polluted regions to accelerate the diesel equipment cleanup schedule in their districts. 

"It's a good day for clean air," said Barry Wallerstein, executive officer of the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Wallerstein said the region must achieve twice the amount of construction pollution cuts as the overall state goal in order to meet federal standards. The region, one of the dirtiest in the country, is under a strict mandate to improve its air by 2015. The AQMD will offer construction companies $120 million in incentives to purchase particulate filters or buy new machines.

To soften the economic hardship on mom-and-pop businesses, the new rule gives small fleets until 2015 to begin compliance, while large fleets must begin in 2010.

LBCC's Cal Macy Recruited as Industry Expert to CSA

Cal Macy
LONG BEACH, CA. - Long Beach City College's Cal Macy has been selected to join an international team challenged with redesigning the national certification program for Natural Gas Cylinder Inspection. The ATT Consortium of Colleges, through its affiliation with Canadian Standards Association of America (CSA-America), the Clean Vehicle Education Foundation (CVEF), and Alternative Fuel Vehicles recently met in Cleveland, Ohio utilizing Macy's expertise as the project director of Long Beach City College's prestigious Advanced Transportation Technology Center. "LBCC is earmarked as the west coast experts of cylinder safety experts," Macy said, adding that the program is one of only five in the nation certified by the National Technical Education Foundation When completed, this model will be adopted nation-wide as the standard for training and certification in Advanced Transportation Technology (ATT), including the Cylinder Inspector's Exam, the actual inspection forms and other details regarding certification and training of cylinder inspectors and instructors. Compressed Natural Gas Cylinders, as used in CNG powered vehicles, must be inspected for damage every three years or 36,000 miles. However, there are more than 10,000 cylinders in use today on vehicles, with only a few hundred inspectors certified to perform the inspection. The CVEF received a national grant to drive the industry towards better compliance with certification of inspectors as a priority. With its affiliation to CSA and LBCC, work has begun to develop a more up-to-date program using many items created by LBCC and the ATT Colleges as a model for this training program. CVEF is providing scholarships for technicians to attend cylinder inspection training and obtain certification through the CSA exam. CVEF recently partnered with AFV and LBCC to provide Cylinder Safety Inspection training and certification to the Transit User's Group which was hosted by LA-MTA. 24 technicians and trainers from many different transit agencies attended the two day training and certification with Macy as the lead instructor. The technicians are trained in the requirements to understand and perform a detailed visual inspection of CNG cylinders including the classification of damage found and repair requirements. The text and PowerPoint used in this training was developed by Macy at LBCC in cooperation with Rio Hondo College for a contract with AQMD. Based upon concepts presented in that training, CVEF has formulated their plan to revise the overall program to better meet the needs of technicians in the CNG Industry. When completed, this model will be adopted nation-wide as the standard for training and certification. This effort is aimed at keeping CNG vehicles the safest vehicles on the road today through technician education and skills improvement leading to certification.

 

Advanced Transportation Techology's Outstanding Student

Cal Macy and Prince Barrom
Prince Barrom(left) - 2007 Outstanding Student
Cal Macy(right) - ATTC Project Director
May 4th, 2007 - Price Barron received the Outstanding Student Award from the Advanced Transportation Technology Center.

 

Non-Profit Training Consortium Receives $1.2 Million

Cal Macy, Long Beach City College ATTC Director and a longtime supporter of transit training, has been re-elected Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Southern California Regional Transit Training Consortium (SCRTTC). The SCRTTC is a nonprofit consortium of 14 transit agencies and 16 community colleges in Southern California that is dedicated towards a common training solution for all agencies, big and small. The founding Board of Directors was elected earlier this year and determined the organizational structure and applied for non-profit status. Formal elections were held in August to select the Board that will serve for the next full year term. Milo Victoria from Los Angeles MTA was elected Chairman of the Board with Cal Macy as Vice-Chairman and Ralph Merced from Santa Monica Blue Bus as Vice President.

Cal Macy (ATT) and Milo Victoria (MTA)

The ATT Consortium colleges have been key players in the SCRTTC organization with Long Beach, Rio Hondo, Cypress, Cerritos and College of the Desert actively involved as members and Board members. Other college and university members have also participated in this regional effort to provide skilled technicians for the member transit agencies. The ATT Consortium has been the strongest supporter of this effort and the hard work that the members have contributed has resulted in major accomplishments.

The SCRTTC Consortium was the brainchild of Jim Ditch from Long Beach Transit (LBT) and Rich Wong of Orange County Transit (OCTA) who saw what the colleges could offer. It all started back in 1997 with Long Beach City College providing CNG training held at Long Beach Transit. This was followed by propane training at OCTA jointly offered by LBCC and Cypress College in 1999. These visionary managers saw that the colleges were an excellent source that they could tap to provide much needed training with expertise not available within their organizations. They especially liked how the colleges collaborated as a team teaching effort to provide training for OCTA with classes held at 4:00 a.m. to meet the needs of the transit agency. This was "getting it done" at its finest.

The SCRTTC Consortium, which is now in process of becoming a corporation, began to organize in 2002 with meetings and commitments by both the colleges and the transit agencies. Its purpose is to pool resources to provide training for all agencies, regardless of size, using all available sources and resources. The ultimate goal is a common skill set of training, resulting in a certificate issued by the Consortium, for transit bus mechanics. The training for the certificate will be offered at multiple locations with both college and industrial training resources being utilized. This certificate will help to train incumbent workers as well as recruit new applicants in a field that is in dire need of new talent.

The Consortium's efforts last year resulted in a $75K grant to conduct Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) training. This training was so successful that they received a second grant for this current year. Through the resources of this grant, LBCC is hosting ITS training in October for the SCRTTC.

The most exciting development was the receipt of a $1.2M Federal Earmark through Senator Barbara Boxer to develop a regional transit training consortium pilot program for technicians. Senator Boxer saw the vision of the Consortium and sponsored the effort to obtain a 4 year funding opportunity that will enable the Consortium to be fully operational. The Board will be tasked with making this pilot program happen over the coming year.

The SCRTTC shows the value that industry places on California Community Colleges and their ability to get it done regarding training. The program is statewide and nationally available for replication, and is truly revolutionary in the way that it partners the strengths of both education and industry.

LBCC Faculty recruited as technical expert to re-write international certification exam for ASE

ASE-Certified-Logo

Cal Macy, Project Director of the ATT Center at Long Beach City College was recruited to be part of the team of experts who re-wrote the ASE Technician Certification (F1) Exam for Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicle diagnosis and repair. Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is the internationally recognized testing service for technicians, parts and service personnel in the automotive industry. They are an industry-supported but independent testing organization solely committed to the task of qualifying personnel in both the knowledge and practical experience needed for the proper servicing of vehicles. ASE certification is the benchmark everyone uses to determine who is qualified and who is not. A team of 15 industry experts from the US and Canada was assembled to review the Compressed Natural Gas (F1) Technician Task List for the purpose of determining the areas of knowledge base and level of difficulty for this international certification exam. Cal Macy played an integral part of this process providing his technical expertise to the committee over a 4 day process and influencing the committee regarding the industry as it applies to the California technology base and market. This prestigious honor of being recognized as one of the experts in the field shows how the ATT Consortium is doing its part to support the Economic Development of California and the Advanced Transportation Technologies it represents.

City Magazine: "French Fried Fuel Source"

French Fried Fuel Source

Article-by Sean-Belk

Natural-Gas-Cylindes

 

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