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Hundreds of port truck drivers hold one-day walkout over looming emissions deadline

Hundreds of diesel truck drivers took part in a walk-out Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018,  as the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma voted to enforce a new emissions standard for port trucks. (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE – Hundreds of diesel truck drivers took part in a walkout Tuesday as the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma voted to enforce a new emissions standard for port trucks.

Starting January 1, 2019, all diesel trucks serving the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma must meet the 2007 federal emissions standard.

Those who do not meet the standard will not be allowed access to either port.

Currently, of the 4,500 trucks that service the two ports, only 53 percent are in compliance with the emissions standard, according to the Seaport Alliance.

The initial deadline was January 1, 2018. The commissioners then provided a 90-day grace period to allow truck drivers time to purchase the new model trucks.

The board voted to extend the grace period for drivers from April 1 to December 31, 2018, as long as drivers prove they’re in the process of financing a newer model truck.

Hundreds of independent drivers crowded into the second floor conference room Tuesday at Sea-Tac Airport to voice their concern over the mandate to the Port of Seattle Commissioners.

Many drivers were concerned that they would not be able to afford the new trucks even with the extended grace period.

Other drivers said they are thousands of dollars in debt due to ongoing issues with the new models.

Meanwhile, other drivers were disappointed the deadline has continued to be pushed back.

The Clean Truck Program is part of a larger initiative to improve the air quality around the Puget Sound region.

According to a 2016 emissions inventory, diesel particulate matter is down 80.4 percent per ton of cargo and greenhouse gas emissions are down 19 percent per ton of cargo.

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