Judge sides with L.A. port on truck plan
A federal judge ruled Thursday that contentious components of the Port of Los Angeles Clean Truck Program — including an employee-driver mandate for drayage companies — were legal.
It is a huge victory for the port and a major defeat for the American Trucking Association, which had filed suit against the port in 2008, alleging the clean truck plan violated the interstate commerce clause and the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994, which deregulated the motor carrier industry.
The port's proposed program mandates that trucking companies secure concessions from the port for any truck to maintain access to the port's container terminals. Aside from requiring that companies employee salaried drivers (rather than independent owner-operators), the concession also requires that companies prepare a maintenance plan for trucks and post placards on trucks referring members of the public to a phone number to report concerns regarding emissions, safety and security compliance. Finally, the concession requires that trucking companies make arrangements to ensure trucks are parked off-street when not in service.
Federal Judge Christina Snyder handed down the decision Thursday, reversing a decision in March by a federal appeals court, which had itself overturned an earlier District Court decision that found in favor of the port.
'We are extremely pleased that our concession program was upheld by the court ruling, including accountability of motor carriers,' Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz said in a statement. 'Our ability to have direct enforcement of the truck bans and other important features of our concession agreements with the trucking companies that call at the Port of Los Angeles thousands of times a day will help provide a safer and secure trucking system for the long term.'
ATA had initially filed suit against the Port of Long Beach as well, but that suit was dropped when Long Beach removed the driver mandate and off-street parking provisions of its similar plan.
ATA is expected file an appeal of the decision. ' Eric Johnson