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Trucking group says they’ll sue if IL adopts CA emissions standards

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(The Center Square) – California vehicle emissions standards may be coming to Illinois. An Illinois state legislator has introduced a measure that would limit the types of trucks the trucking industry could use.

State Rep. Edgar Gonzalez, Jr., D-Chicago, has introduced House Bill 1634, seeking to have Illinois adopt the vehicle emissions standards of California. The bill has nearly 3,800 opponents and about 540 proponents.

Illinois Trucking Association Executive Director Matt Hart said the Illinois trucking industry delivers 95% of the manufactured freight in the state.

The Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association and the California Trucking Association have filed lawsuits against similar legislation. Hart said they expect to sue in Illinois if Gonzalez’s bill becomes law.

“You cannot have a state submit itself and its laws and policies to another state agency that is over 2,000 miles away,” Hart said.

According to the bill, each time California changes its vehicle emissions standards, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has six months to amend Illinois rules established by the California EPA.

“Anything you do to the trucking industry, any time you increase our costs, or any time you take away our ability to deliver, that’s going to impact every single citizen in the state of Illinois,” Hart said.

Hart said most people aren’t aware that the trucking industry has reduced carbon emissions by 98% over the last three decades.

“We will get there, and our industry is committed to closing that 2% gap but we need to do it over time and we need to do it with technology that actually exists … so that we can continue to deliver the goods,” he said.

Hart said the Illinois Trucking Association has been leading the charge against HB1634 and is hoping to educate lawmakers in the Energy and Environment Committee, where the measure sits, about how much the industry has actually reduced carbon emissions.

The measure, sponsored by state Reps. Janet Yang Rohr, D-Naperville, and Bob Morgan, D-Deerfield, would limit the types of trucks the trucking industry could use.

Hart said there are virtually zero electric trucks out there. Hart said he checked in with a truck dealership and they sold a total of four, two of which got shipped to California.

“The vehicles aren’t there, the charging infrastructure is not there,” said Hart. “The price certainly isn’t there.”

An electric truck costs about $480,000 compared to a diesel-powered equivalent that’s roughly $200,000, he said. Also, the chargers for electric trucks cost about $112,000. Hart said there’s a lot of adverse impacts that come along with forcing these types of vehicles.

“That means heavier trucks on the road. It also means we are going to have more trucks on the road. My question is: ‘Do folks really want 34% more trucks on their roadway, in Chicago … more congestion?’ We don’t think so,” said Hart.

A study by the American Transportation Research Institute found it would take 34% more electric trucks to deliver the same amount of goods that the trucking industry is delivering today.

Messages The Center Square sent Gonzalez were not returned. Morgan declined to comment.