Friday, December 13, 2019

Publication: CalMatters

... The biggest contributors to pockets of unhealthy air across the state are the planes, trains, trucks and ships that move goods around, according to the California Air Resources Board. Heavy-duty trucks spew out 25 percent of diesel particulate pollution statewide, and produce about 8 percent of the state’s total greenhouse gases. 

To tackle that tailpipe pollution, California’s clean air enforcers have proposed a rule that calls for major truck manufacturers to sell zero-emission vehicles in the state. Called the Advanced Clean Trucks regulation, it also asks major corporations and government agencies to report information about how they use their trucks — laying the groundwork for future rules to drive business toward clean truck companies.


As written, a Union of Concerned Scientists analysis estimates the rule could put 75,000 clean trucks on the road by 2030 — or about 4 percent of the state’s trucks. 


A handful of California legislators have joined the call for a tougher rule. At the end of November, Democratic assemblymembers Eloise Gómez Reyes, Phil Ting, Luz Rivas, and Marc Berman joined Democratic senators Ben Allen and Bob Wieckowski in a letter to air board chair Mary Nichols that said the proposed rule “falls woefully short of an impactful goal.” 

In their letter, the lawmakers said: “Improving local air quality and reducing California’s contribution to global warming will require more than 4 percent of trucks to be zero-emission by 2030.” 


Legislators are paying attention, too. “The hope had been that the air board would provide the leadership necessary,” said San Francisco Democratic Assemblymember Phil Ting. “But obviously if they aren’t able to then we’ll definitely consider legislative action.” 

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Publication: San Francisco Chronicle

California’s rebate program to coax more drivers to buy electric vehicles just got less generous, especially for those looking to spend on a luxury model.

Effective Tuesday, state regulators have stopped offering rebates for buyers of electric cars or plug-in hybrid vehicles that cost more than $60,000 — a move that will make buyers of high-end Tesla models dig deeper into their pockets.

The state Air Resources Board, the agency that regulates the program, has also reduced the standard rebate by $500 per vehicle, from $2,500 to $2,000 for all-electric cars, and eliminated rebates for plug-in hybrid cars with an electric-battery range of less than 35 miles.


Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, a vocal advocate for electric cars in the Legislature, criticized the changes. He said the new rules create confusion for buyers.

“The rebate program could be killed by death by 1,000 bureaucratic memos,” Ting told The Chronicle.

Ting sponsored a bill this year that could have tripled rebates, but it died in committee. He said the state should ramp up incentives and decrease them over time with a specific end date, so people have incentive to buy now.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Publication: Sacramento Bee

Newly released data from the California Department of Motor Vehicles show the state making a huge dent in the wait times customers are experiencing across the state.

In a report sent to state lawmakers last month, the DMV showed it has cut delays nearly in half. As of September, customers across the state without an appointment waited an average of 38 minutes, which represents a 48 percent decrease from the average time of 73 minutes customers experienced at the same time last year.


As of November, 6.7 million customers had gotten a Real ID since the DMV started issuing the cards in January 2018, according to Anita Gore, a spokeswoman for the DMV.

This pales in comparison, however, to the 21.5 million still eligible for a Real ID card and the 10 million the DMV expects to see come in for it between now and the Oct. 1, 2020 deadline.

“We’ll have millions of Californians coming in, in a year that they normally would not be coming,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco. “I worry when we get to July, August, and September (of 2020), we’ll have more unbearable wait times.”


Friday, November 29, 2019

Publication: Sacramento Bee

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles is asking lawmakers for a budget boost of $2.2 million to help it register voters ahead of the state’s March 3, 2020 primary.

It’s a fairly small sum, but it follows a $242 million increase in the DMV’s budget that Gov. Gavin Newsom granted the department in June.

Lawmakers and Newsom allocated more money for the department because it is handling a crunch of customers seeking so-called Real ID cards that Californians will need by October 2020 to board airplanes without a passport. The DMV’s total budget this year is $1.36 billion.


Democrats, such as Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, say the money is needed, given the importance of registering eligible Californians.

“It makes more sense to be fighting for our democracy,” Ting said. “This is a small investment to make sure more people can vote.”


Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Media Outlet: Sea Change Radio

Can you imagine how hard it must be for legislators to know where to focus their energies? The problems that require reform and improved public policy are vast and varied. But as this week’s guest explains, there’s really nothing more important than ensuring clean air and water. Today on Sea Change Radio, we speak with California Assemblymember Phil Ting about his efforts to promote recycling and cleaner cars. We look at the impediments to systemic change, breakdown his proposals, and talk about the amount of political capital required to advance the most fundamental components of life on earth: clean air and water.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Publication: San Francisco Examiner via Bay City News

Gun shows will continue to be banned from taking place at the Cow Palace in Daly City, the Cow Palace Board of Directors voted Tuesday.

The board first voted to ban the shows from happening at the fairground back in April in response to a growing movement to stop them.

Both state Sen. Scott Wiener and Assemblyman Phil Ting, both D-San Francisco, have been proponents of ending the gun shows. Earlier this year, they authored Senate Bill 281 to permanently end them. The legislation, however, has not yet passed.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Publication: Sacramento Bee

If you’ve been thinking about buying a pricey electric car in California, you’d better get on it soon if you’d like to get a rebate from the state.

Last month, the state agency that manages California’s electric vehicle rebate program announced that beginning Dec. 3, it was going to discontinue rebate programs for new electric cars that cost more than $60,000 and for plug-in hybrid cars that can only travel 35 miles on a single charge.

The agency also is reducing rebates for higher-income buyers for some hybrids, zero-emission motorcycles and vehicles with fuel cells, and limiting the number of rebates Californians can receive to once per lifetime.


Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, said he was disappointed by the changes, especially since a federal tax credit for cars such as the Chevy Volt and the Telsa Model 3 is going away, which he said will hurt sales.

He said California only has 600,000 electric vehicles on the road today, well short of the state’s goal of putting 5 million on the road by 2030.

“I think the rebates should be going up not down,” Ting said. “I think we should be bolder. Climate change is real. ... If we want clean air, we need clean cars. We have to do everything possible to move people out of dirty cars into clean cars as soon as possible.”