Politicians, environmentalists hail ports' one-year-old Clean Trucks program

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Federal environmental officials say millions of stimulus dollars will go to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to help cut diesel emissions from moving cargo. One year ago the harbor complex began an ambitious Clean Trucks program aimed at reducing air pollution. KPCC's Molly Peterson has an update.

The program gradually forces the oldest, dirtiest diesel trucks out of port service. The fees that program collects help finance purchases of cleaner trucks.

The clean trucks program has sputtered forward since last year, when the trucking industry sued the ports over rules intended to raise drivers' wages.

Tracking systems for program fees developed late. As the global financial downturn slowed port container traffic, LA and Long Beach rolled back fees to try and save their remaining business.

The court case continues this year.

Still, federal, state and local officials, labor leaders, and environmentalists hail the program as a success.

Five thousand clean trucks are on the road; 2 thousand old, dirty trucks are gone. The Natural Resources Defense Council says the ports are 2 years ahead of the goal to cut emissions by 80 percent.

The program also has boosted truck sales in southern California. They're down around the nation.