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American Shipper

State trucking association opposes SoCal truck plan, wants alternative

State trucking association opposes SoCal truck plan, wants alternative

The California Trucking Association is calling on Southern California port officials to abandon a controversial $1.8 billion truck re-regulation plan and adopt a new strategy to obtain the clean air goals of the plan.

   The association, calling the current version of the ports' truck plan 'unfeasible' and 'unacceptable,' is asking officials at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to work with the industry to devise an alternative plan that would still meet the ports' emission goals, but wouldn't severely impact the port-area trucking industry.

   The ports' truck plan, introduced in March and still awaiting full approval by the two neighboring ports' governing boards, would determine who can and cannot operate a truck in the ports. By issuing operating licenses to port-area trucking firms, the plan would use ports-defined criteria to limit the number of trucking firms accessing the Southern California port facilities.

   Through the use of a rolling ban introduced each Jan. 1 over the next five years, older trucks would be banned outright from operating in the ports. The plan would also charge a terminal access fee to all pre-2007 model year trucks with port-licenses that have not been banned. These funds, in conjunction with port and taxpayer funds, would be used to provide funds to the same licensed trucking firms to replace or retrofit their truck fleets with 2007 or newer model year vehicles.

   The CTA, which believes the ports' planned Jan. 1 implementation date threatens to seriously destabilize goods movements in and out of the ports, is asking port officials to set a date for voting on the plan at a port public meeting scheduled for Oct. 12.

   The truck plan was originally to have been voted on by the ports in July, but this date and several rescheduled attempts have not come to fruition.

   The CTA, which represents more than 2,300 trucking industry firms, is also citing an economic impact report conducted for the ports as evidence that the plan should not move forward.

   “Based on the findings in a study conducted by economist John Husing, the plan that is now under review has serious problems, particularly recognizing that local carriers won’t remain in the industry should the employee provision stand. The impact of a large loss of drivers that move goods into and out of the ports would be immediately felt and negatively impact the local and state economies,” said CTA spokesperson Julie Sauls.

   In opposing the plan, the CTA is also asking the two ports' boards to work jointly with industry members — including the CTA, the California Retailers Association, the California Furniture Manufacturing Association and the chambers of commerce for California and Los Angeles — to devise an alternative plan that still attains the environmental goals of the ports.

   “We want to be a partner in creating solutions, but the trucking industry refuses to be continually mischaracterized as a primary source of emissions at the port and have the public sold on a port truck plan that, in reality, only focuses on a small part of total emissions,” Sauls said.

   The CTA position is only the latest in a string of industry broadsides at the trucking plan. The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, the National Industrial Transportation League, and the American Trucking Association have all taken public action against the plan in recent weeks, with the ATA indicating it would sue to stop the plan from being implemented.

   Port insiders now say that while the plan will be voted on by the boards before the end of the year, implementation — barring legal injunctions — is not likely before next summer.

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