The California High-Speed Rail Authority board agreed Wednesday to commit up to $35 million to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to offset the anticipated pollution created by earth-moving and construction on the high-speed rail project between Merced and Bakersfield.
The agreement with the air district is part of the rail agency's efforts "to provide near-term and ongoing benefits to this region for clean air," said Jeff Morales, the authority's CEO.
Morales said the agreement will pay for investments in clean technology, including the replacement of older diesel pumps on farms with new electric pumps, as well as upgrading older tractors and farm equipment.
The agreement is in addition to the authority's requirements for its construction contractors to "use the cleanest-burning construction fleet reasonably possible," Mark McLaughlin, the authority's director of environmental services, said in a memo to the board. "But even a clean fleet will produce emissions."