Cooper Continues Fight to Improve Air Quality in Disadvantaged Communities

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill 2564 is one of two bills authored by Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) aimed at addressing poor air quality in disadvantaged communities. The bill will make improvements to the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) to ensure clean vehicles are more accessible to low-income individuals and a greater number of California drivers. The bill was approved yesterday on a unanimous vote by the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources.

The CVRP provides consumer rebates for the purchase of zero-emission and plug-in hybrid passenger vehicles to accelerate on‐road deployment of zero‐tailpipe‐emission‐capable passenger vehicles – including fuel‐cell, all‐battery, and plug‐in hybrid electric vehicles to encourage clean technology.

 “By improving the CVRP, we can help combat climate change and reduce air pollution,” said Assemblymember Jim Cooper. “By increasing the rebate levels for low-income individuals, the bill will provide a greater incentive to those in disadvantaged communities to purchase electric or clean-air vehicles.”

Since 2010, the CVRP has issued more than $306 million in rebates for more than 144,100 vehicles, according to the Center for Sustainable Energy, which administers the Air Resources Board program. However, according to the UCLA Luskin Center, over 50 percent of rebate recipients’ household incomes are over $150,000 annually and over 20 percent of rebate recipients’ household incomes are over $250,000 annually. Additionally, statistics found that 88 percent of recipients are Caucasian, 75 percent are male, and 83 percent are college graduates. 

“Studies overwhelmingly show that rebates are going to California’s most affluent communities and not to the communities with poor air quality who truly need them,” said Cooper. “AB 2564 will help level the playing field and provide an improved opportunity for low-income individuals to take advantage of the program,” he added.  

AB 2564 will increase rebate levels by $500 for low-income individuals, will require outreach to disadvantaged communities, will prioritize rebates payments for low-income consumers, and will limit eligibility for high-income individuals.

AB 2564 will next be heard by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Assemblymember Cooper represents the Cities of Sacramento, Elk Grove, Galt, and Lodi.