Port authorities plan to spend most of an expected $400 million in public clean-air grants to subsidize the replacement of diesel trucks working in the sprawling San Pedro Bay port complex, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports.

The money, some of which may be available in coming months, is culled from a $20 billion infrastructure bond, Proposition 1B, passed by voters in November 2006.

"The largest piece is going to (diesel) trucks because that's where the greatest need is, but we certainly won't be ignoring other source needs," said Thomas Jelenic, a Port of Long Beach environmental specialist. "But the state has said they'll be favoring (funding) programs that achieve air-quality improvements quickly."

Jelenic was speaking at a public forum Tuesday in Long Beach as the ports prepare to apply for those state grants.

A smaller, as-yet-undetermined slice of funding will be used for locomotive replacement, fuel-saving technologies and shoreside electricity for ships, said Port of Los Angeles environmental coordinator Kevin Maggay.

Under pressure from the public to minimize health risks from diesel soot, the ports have jointly agreed to ban pre-2007 diesel trucks from port properties by Jan. 1, 2012.

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