Asm. Robert Rivas Introduces Bill to Promote More Efficient Dairy Hauls & Use of Renewable Fuels for Truck Operators

Friday, February 12, 2021

SACRAMENTO – In a bipartisan effort, Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) announced today Assembly Bill 584, which establishes a pilot program within the Department of Transportation to allow diary truck operators to increase the size of the weight limit of raw milk during each haul if the vehicles use renewable fuels.

“To me, this bill is a logical measure that will help incentivize the largest and heaviest polluters, including our heavy trucking fleets, to transition to renewable fuels and electric vehicles while getting more milk out to consumers quicker,” said Asm. Rivas, who serves as the Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee. “This benefits consumers, dairies, truck operators, and the environment. In addition to helping large trucks transition to renewable fuels, AB 584 has the potential to reduce the amount of trucks on the road and minimize their impact on our heavily traveled roads and highways.”

In California, there are roughly 2,200 truckloads of milk transported from farm to plant daily. Last year, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order allowing for trucks transporting essential commodities, including milk, to increase weight limits to 88,000 pounds.  During that time, one cooperative saw its total number of loads transported decrease by 12 percent.  

“By tying these increased weight limits to renewable fuel usage, we can both cut down on emissions and move a vital resource faster and more efficiently,” said Devon J. Mathis (R-Visalia), Vice Chair of the Agriculture Committee and joint author of AB 584.  “As a former Army Sergeant specializing in logistics, it’s encouraging when policies are adapted to ensure the best use of time and resources.  I’m proud to partner with Assemblymember Rivas on this common sense measure.”

AB 584 will create a pilot program for trucks that haul raw milk to apply for a permit that will allow them to transport loads greater than 80,000 pounds without compromising safety or jeopardizing California’s roads. A permit-holder will not be authorized to operate outside of designated corridors identified by the Department of Transportation, ensuring that unsafe roads are not traveled on.

In order to be eligible for the permit, the hauler must meet the following criteria:

  • the load may not exceed 88,000 pounds
  • the truck can only carry raw milk
  • the hauler must commit to transitioning its trucks that haul milk to 100 percent renewable fuels within 6 months of obtaining the permit

Coauthors of AB 584 include Assemblymembers Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo) and Adam Gray (D-Merced), Senator John Laird (D-Santa Cruz), and Senator Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno), who serves as the Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee.