CA port drayage enforcement extension isn’t for all truck owners

| 11/25/2009

The California Air Resources Board will begin to enforce its restrictive port drayage rule on tens of thousands of trucks beginning on New Year’s Day, including interstate trucks that enter certain California ports and rail yards.

Trucks approved for state-funded grants that have been frozen in the wake of the state’s budget crisis, however, will be exempt.

On Jan. 1, 2010, CARB’s port drayage rule bans trucks with 1993 model year engines and older from entering California ports. Trucks with 1994 through 2003 model year engines must be retrofitted with particulate filters that eliminate 85 percent of diesel particulate matter.

CARB recently announced it was extending the enforcement date until April 30, 2010, for a “limited subset” of drayage trucks, including trucks that are scheduled to be replaced by port and state grant monies. The agency said the postponed enforcement is needed because “delays in the availability of expected state bond funds” have slowed grant awards.

A complete list of CARB’s diesel truck rules is available here.

Joe Rajkovacz, OOIDA regulatory affairs specialist, said CARB and the ports should push enforcement back for all truck owners.

“Considering the basis of this extension has to do with delays in the financial ability of California to make available promised free money to selected winners, it would only be appropriate for the board to extend compliance for everyone else having financial difficulty in meeting the compliance date,” Rajkovacz said, “particularly those left to fend for themselves without public subsidy through port and state grants.”

Rajkovacz said the economic crisis provides sound reason for an extension of the drayage rule’s enforcement.

Limiting that extension, however, isn’t fair, he said.

“If the state of California is having financial difficulty, what the hell do they think small-business truckers are going through?” Rajkovacz said. “Fairness and equity would demand the same treatment of everyone affected by this rule.”

Rajkovacz said CARB has set precedent in bowing to pressure in order to extend enforcement dates, including last summer’s decision to move the state’s reefer rule enforcement from July to December.

“Well, guess what – the same thing is true again, but only the winners of a publicly funded lottery get an extension? That’s hypocrisy on a grand scale.”

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer