House wants to scrutinize truck leases
Congress is seeking information on truck leases being used in the ports, following a May 5 hearing that looked at the clean truck programs instituted at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, The National Industrial Transportation League reported.
Representatives James Oberstar, D-Minn., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Peter A. DeFazio, D-Ore., chairman of the subcommittee on Highways and Transit, have sent letters to companies that lease trucks to owner-operators and others in the ports requesting detailed information on the leases, the NIT League said in its Notice newsletter.
A copy of the letter is posted at the NIT League’s Web site.
“During the hearing, several witnesses described vehicle leasing practices that are of concern to the subcommittee and this letter is to request information to help us continue our further review of these issues,” the letter said.
Fred Potter, port division director for the Teamsters, complained that “we conducted a survey of the lease agreements with the companies operating the largest clean fleets in the L.A.-Long Beach ports and uncovered an Orwellian nightmare. Drivers are now bound to their employers through a nexus of poverty and one-sided legal obligations.”
Joe Rajkovacz, director of regulatory affairs for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, complained drayage motor carriers are widely ignoring federal leasing regulations.
Among the data requested:
' Spreadsheets including specific vehicles leased.
' Identification of all individual employees or owner-operators who have entered into agreements.
' Copies of lease agreements since the inception of the Los Angeles-Long Beach Clean Air Act Program.
' Copies of executed lease agreements.
The hearing was held to discuss a number of issues, including a proposed ban on owner-operators operating in the Port of Los Angeles, as well as proposals that federal law be amended so that local ports would be able to regulate port trucking.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., told American Shipper last week that following the hearing he is more determined than ever to introduce legislation to allow ports to regulate trucking locally and expects to submit a bill in coming weeks.
That kind of regulation has been widely opposed by trade and transportation groups who feel it will lead to a patchwork of trucking regulation around the country and is not needed to improve air quality.