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American Shipper

SoCal port truck plan supporters warn current version will fail

SoCal port truck plan supporters warn current version will fail

Officials at Southern California's ports just cannot seem to get any love these days.

   Already facing vehement outcry from the transportation industry over a proposed $1.8 billion trucking re-regulation plan, the ports now face a new critic — the plan's main public supporters.

   The Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports, a Teamster-led collection of environmental, labor, community and religious groups, warned Long Beach and Los Angeles port officials Monday that the truck plan 'will fail if enacted as it is currently drafted.'

   Under the $1.8 billion plan being finalized by the two neighboring ports, local trucking companies would require a port-administered license to operate within the port complex. To obtain a license, trucking firms would have to meet a long list of port-defined criteria on everything from driver documentation and company finances to insurance and workers' compensation.

   Trucking firms would also have to agree to use only employee drivers instead of the current system where more than 90 percent of the 16,800 port drivers are independent owner-operators paid by the load. The trucks of port-licensed firms would also have to meet port-defined emissions standards according to a five-year schedule that would ban certain model years of truck each Jan. 1 through 2012. Dirty trucks would be charged a fee to enter port facilities, with port and state money used to replace older trucks.

   In a release, CCSP officials listed criteria that the group wants to see in the plan. These include:

   * A no-loophole environmental standard for trucks.

   * Requiring that 50 percent of the 16,800 trucks are replaced with alternative fuel vehicles.

   * Immediate transition on the plan's Jan. 1 start date to the employee driver model.

   The group, which formed earlier this year, wants to see the truck plan funded entirely by retailers and trucking companies.

   The plan must be approved by the two port commissions, with votes now expected sometime in late September or early October. An economic impact report recently commissioned by the ports is expected to be completed at the start of September.

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