Congressional subcommittee visits Port of Long Beach

| 8/6/2008

Several members of Congress visited the Port of Long Beach to discuss funding needs and air quality on Monday, Aug. 4.

Members of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation had a field hearing Monday at the Port of Long Beach. Attending the field hearing were Subcommittee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-MD, and Reps. Laura Richardson, D-CA, Grace Napolitano, D-CA, Hilda Solis, D-CA, Dana Rohrabacher, R-CA and Bob Filner, D-CA.

Much of the hearing focused on infrastructure needs regarding highways and bridges surrounding the ports, highlighted by testimony from each port’s executive director.

Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz and Port of Long Beach Executive Director Richard Steinke estimated that federally owned infrastructure around the ports need more than $2 billion in improvements.

Representatives also addressed Clean Truck programs approved by both ports.

Ronald Loveridge, mayor of Riverside, CA and a member of the California Air Resources Board, said the movement of goods should be tied to clean air efforts.

“We used to think about clean air and fast freight as separate enterprises,” Loveridge said. “We need to join them together, and look with faster freight at what we can do about cleaner air.”

Officials from the Port of Los Angeles issued a statement Tuesday saying that a lawsuit filed recently by the American Trucking Association won’t prevent them from barring trucks with 1988 model year engines and older on Oct. 1, even if a drayage truck registry, concessionaire licensing program and other provisions are put on hold because of the lawsuit.

“Drayage trucking companies who are serious about doing business with the port would be prudent to continue on track to complete concessionaire applications, get their trucks registered on the system, make sure their drivers have TWIC cards, and make sure they have no pre-1989 trucks in their port fleet that will be denied access on Oct. 1,” Knatz said.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer