L.A. City Council approves port Clean Trucks Program

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer | 6/19/2008

The Los Angeles City Council approved a plan Tuesday to require all short-haul truck drivers entering the Port of Los Angeles to be employees of licensed motor carriers by late 2013.

The plan is part of the port’s Clean Trucks Program, which is designed to reduce diesel emissions at the port by 80 percent within five years. The plan also bans trucks built before 1989 from the ports beginning Oct. 1.

OOIDA has worked closely with the port on its emissions regulation, and is working to develop a day-pass system that long haulers can use for occasional port visits.

Joe Rajkovacz, regulatory affairs specialist for OOIDA, said the Association supports the Clean Trucks Program because it will ultimately lead to improvements for drayage drivers at the ports.

Not everyone feels that way.

The American Trucking Association has said it will file a lawsuit in an effort to stop the program from moving forward.

While the ATA claims the city and port officials want to regulate the industry and reduce competition by forcing companies to hire drivers as employees, Rajkovacz said large motor carriers may, in fact, be more interested in the port’s $2 billion for truck purchases and engine replacements for local drayage drivers.

“The motor carrier industry talks about free markets, yet they have not repudiated taking approximately $2 billion of port and public subsidy to make their part of the industry compliant with air quality regulations our members have to comply with without such a subsidy,” Rajkovacz said.

“Free-market sentiments from the motor carrier industry in California aren’t very endearing to the trucker raising a family in Nebraska on the same income port drivers get, yet he has to operate a compliant truck on his own dime.”

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer

Copyright © OOIDA