Last week, California regulators approved a bill that will fund more fleet purchases of zero-emissions vehicles while setting up a network of hydrogen refueling stations throughout the most populous US state.

Assembly Bill 8, which is expected to be signed by Governor Jerry Brown, will provide more than $2 billion of funds for clean-vehicle incentives. The bill will also set aside about $20 million a year specifically for hydrogen station deployment through the end of 2023, with a goal of at least 100 publicly accessible stations installed during the next few years, according to Green Car Reports. Last year, the California Fuel Cell Partnership said 68 stations is the magic number needed to supply fuel to the early fuel cell vehicle market.

Meanwhile, the Modesto Bee says that the state will also approve Senate Bill 359, in which $20 million worth of rebates will be provided for buyers of plug-in vehicles in California. The state may enact a $3 fee on state vehicle registrations to help provide these funds.

Of the 10 publicly accessible hydrogen refueling stations in the US, all but one are in California (the other is in Columbia, SC), according to the US Department of Energy. This is a far cry from the "Hydrogen Superhighway" once envisioned for hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Part of the reason is that each hydrogen refueling station costing about $1 million to build, much more than what a publicly accessible plug-in vehicle charging station costs to install.

Clean-vehicle advocate and non-profit Calstart put out a press release outlining parts of Assembly Bill 8. Check it out below.
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California Legislature Passes Historic Clean Transportation Funding Bill -- Increases Chances State Will Meet Air Quality and Climate Targets

Assembly Bill 8, Co-Authored by Assemblymember Henry Perea and Senator Fran Pavley, Now With Governor Brown; Measure Would Extend California's Clean Transportation Incentive Programs Through 2023, Help California Meet Clean Air Goals, and Create Tens of Thousands of New Jobs

PASADENA, CA--(Marketwired - Sep 12, 2013) - On a bipartisan vote, the California State Senate and Assembly yesterday approved a measure that would continue the state's clean vehicle and fuel incentives through 2023. Assembly Bill 8, authored by Assemblymember Henry T. Perea, with Senator Fran Pavley as Principal co-author, would provide more than $2 billion in funding to help fleets and consumers purchase clean and low carbon cars, trucks, buses, and construction equipment. It is now with Governor Jerry Brown for his signature.

"This legislation authored by Assemblyman Perea and Senator Pavley is historic. It represents an unprecedented commitment by the state to help fleets and consumers transition to cleaner and lower carbon fuels and vehicles. If signed by the Governor, this legislation will create tens of thousands of jobs in California's clean transportation tech industry and set us on a course to meet our clean air and climate goals," said CALSTART President and CEO John Boesel.

The programs that would be extended include the AB 118 clean fuel and vehicle programs and the Carl Moyer and AB 923 local air district funds for diesel emission reduction. By extending the programs through 2023, AB 8 would provide more than $2 billion in clean air and transportation funding in California. The bills also dedicate funding, in lieu of regulatory action, to construct the minimum fueling infrastructure necessary to support the impending introduction of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The Senate voted to pass AB 8 on a bipartisan 29-6 vote. The bill went back to the Assembly for concurrence, where it garnered the required a 2/3 majority.
In addition to CALSTART, the other two co-sponsors of the Perea-Pavley bill are the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association (CAPCOA) and the American Lung Association in California.

About CALSTART
CALSTART is a non-profit organization that works to accelerate the growth of the clean transportation technology industry. CALSTART has more than 150 member companies and manages an array of high-impact programs with its industry and government partners. For more information, visit www.calstart.org.


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