Waterfront Coalition, PMSA denounce California legislation
In a letter sent Thursday to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Waterfront Coalition Executive Director Robin Lanier denounced a bill making its way through the California legislature that would assess a $30-per TEU fee on each container passing through the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to pay for infrastructure, security and environmental projects associated with goods movement.
Lanier said the bill is unconstitutional because it would unlawfully call on the state to assess taxes on international commerce.
'These proposals are guaranteed to result in litigation that would take years to resolve and would very likely end up before the U.S. Supreme Court,' she wrote. Schwarzenegger would have veto power over the bill if it passes through the legislature.
Meanwhile, John McLaurin, president of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association also implored state leaders to refrain from passing Senate Bill 760. Echoing Lanier's concern over the legality of the bill, he also said the industry has little confidence that the state will direct all of the proceeds of the fee — expected to be about $800 million annually — to the projects it is designed to fund. California's general fund is billions of dollars in debt.
'Perhaps most troubling of all, SB 760 requires just 13 private sector terminal operators to do what state and local governments have failed to do — pay for strategic investments in our infrastructure,' McLaurin wrote Sunday in an op-ed piece.