California bill seeks faster port truck traffic

| 4/25/2002

On Monday an assembly transportation committee approved legislation aimed at pushing semis through the Port of Los Angeles. The measure is being backed by labor unions and the trucking industry, but is opposed by port terminal operators.

Under AB2650, by Assemblyman Alan Lowenthal (D-San Pedro), truckers would have to reach the outside gate of a terminal within 30 minutes of getting in line. If they exceed the time limit, terminal operators could be fined up to $250. The bill also makes it a misdemeanor for the owner or operator of a terminal to pass that fine on to an owner-operator. If the owner of a terminal sends an owner-operator to a staging area outside the terminal, they would be subject to a $750 fine. Exemptions would be granted for terminals that stay open during non-peak hours.

In a release, Lowenthal called the amount of smog emitted from idling rigs "terrifying" and warned truck traffic at local ports is expected to more than double within the next few years. "Something has to be done," he said.

The transportation committee approved the measure 11-1. The bill now moves on to the full Assembly.