Schwarzenegger reviews state container fee legislation
The author of state legislation seeking to impose a $30-per-TEU fee on California's three busiest ports has submitted a final version of the bill to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for review, including several dozen pages of new amendments, American Shipper has learned.
Following the governor's review, author State Sen. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, hopes to bring the SB974 container fee bill for two required votes in the Legislature by the end of August. If it passes, the bill would then head back to the governor's office for a signature.
Lowenthal's office, while declining to detail any of the specific amendments, said that the senator's office and Schwarzenegger are in daily communication on the bill.
The fee, to be imposed on all loaded containers moving through the ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles and Oakland, is expected to raise up to $500 million a year for trade-related infrastructure development and air quality projects throughout the state.
Schwarzenegger, who vetoed a previous version of the bill two years ago, struck a compromise deal last September with Lowenthal that saw the senator shelve the bill until the current legislative session. The deal, struck under threat of another veto from Schwarzenegger, reportedly sought to give the Southern California ports more time to approve two local container taxes. The governing port boards of Long Beach and Los Angeles approved the container taxes in December, adding a total of $50 to each loaded container moving through the adjacent ports.
Lowenthal returned the bill to the Assembly agenda in February, but he has yet to bring it to the floor for a vote. Sacramento insiders have said in the past that the bill is expected to pass the Legislature with little problem and Schwarzenegger is expected to sign it.