It’s always a positive start when you can begin the New Year with some good news for the construction industry on the regulatory front. And we have positive reports for both the Air Quality and the Water Quality arenas.
The industry scored a big win in December when the California Air Resources Board (CARB) issued their Second Public Availability of Modified Text for the Heavy-Duty Vehicle Inspection Program.
CARB relented after considerable pressure from industry representatives and removed onerous reporting requirements for the smoke inspection program. In addition, they removed the 90-day pre-sale smoke test requirements for transfer of ownership. Now it will be enough for companies to conduct the smoke tests and maintain the records with the vehicle. This decision will prevent unnecessary enforcement action for inadvertent errors in reporting and allow CARB enforcement staff to focus on those who do not comply with the annual smoke test program. Good news for truck owners.
CARB has also agreed to discuss with the construction industry concerns about updated costs of compliance with the off-road regulation. Industry experts believe that the statewide fleet is making significant strides in reducing emissions and that the costs to do so over the next five years are considerably higher than originally estimated. The industry is requesting relief in meeting the current 2023 deadlines.
On the water quality front and following 30 days of vote counting, the voters of Los Angeles County approved by a two-third’s margin, a parcel tax last November that will provide $300 million annually to capture and treat stormwater to enhance local water supplies. Much of this money will go to the construction of retention and treatment facilities throughout LA County. Every city and nine watershed agencies, in addition to the county will have money for projects.
The Orange County Public Works Department in cooperation with the construction industry is also developing a stormwater credit trading program that will provide dollars and incentives for the construction of stormwater capture and treatment facilities in Orange County. The county does not anticipate using a special tax as was done in LA County.
For 2019, we have less reporting and more dollars for construction work. Not a bad start for the year