Court refuses to block L.A. port truck concessions
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday refused to grant a preliminary injunction to block various elements of the Port of Los Angeles’s concession plan for port truckers.
In denying the American Trucking Associations' request, the circuit court said it agreed with a district court that eight provisions in the concession plan fell within an exception of the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAA Act) that allows local governments to regulate trucking safety.
“We reject ATA's contentions that the provisions are not safety-related simply because they duplicate already-existing federal laws. Duplication of existing policies does not negate POLA's intent in adopting these requirements,” the Ninth Circuit wrote in its decision. “Evidence in the record from POLA officials establishes that POLA adopted these provisions out of concern for safety at the Port. Although we do not merely take POLA at its word ' upon close scrutiny of the provisions, we conclude that the provisions are genuinely responsive to motor vehicle safety and are not preempted by the FAAA Act.”
The court said ATA argued the FAAA Act's motor vehicle safety exceptions do not cover concession agreement provisions that:
' Concessionaires be licensed motor carriers in good standing.
' Concessionaires use only 'permitted trucks.'
' Motor carriers are solely responsible for their drivers and employees.
' Motor carriers prepare a truck maintenance plan and are responsible for vehicle condition and safety.
' Motor carriers keep records of driver enrollment in the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program.
' Motor carriers must ensure trucks entering and leaving port property be able to verify Clean Trucks Program compliance.
' Motor carriers comply with federal, state, municipal and port security laws.
' Motor carriers update and maintain accurate data in the drayage truck registry, concession registry, and driver registry and allowing POLA to inspect motor carriers' property and records regarding compliance with the concession agreements.
The court did agree with the ATA that the district court erred in concluding that an additional requirement, that drayage trucks display identifying placards with a telephone number, fell within the motor vehicle safety exception.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the “ruling to allow concession agreements to continue at the Port of Los Angeles is good news for all of us who live and work in Southern California. The concession agreement with hundreds of trucking companies has helped put more than 6,000 clean trucks on the roads around the port, reducing port truck emissions by at least 70 percent. We are hopeful that the trial court will uphold the full concession agreement to provide full accountability and sustainability of the Clean Truck Program in the future.”
“While we look forward to our day in court, this decision allows the Port of Los Angeles to continue to be the driving force of change in the San Pedro Bay,” said Geraldine Knatz, the port’s executive director. “It's commonly known that the majority of the trucking companies in our program serve cargo terminals at both ports. The enforceable agreements Los Angeles has forged with these companies is the best guarantee that this port complex and the communities of San Pedro, Wilmington and Long Beach will enjoy significantly lower truck emissions well into the future.”