California expands anti-idling, anti-queuing effort at ports

| Monday, October 18, 2004

A proposal to expand the list of who can be fined for making truckers wait at port terminals in California is now law.

The bill, AB1971, modifies AB2650, which became law in September 2002. That law requires every marine terminal in California to operate in a way that keeps trucks from idling any more than 30 minutes while waiting to load or unload. The new bill expands those fines to include port operators.

The law applies only to facilities at ports that handle 100,000 or more containers a year.

With the old law, marine terminal operators who tried to divert trucks to freeways or staging areas away from the ports to avoid the fine faces an additional fine. That still applies, and the new law also prohibits the terminals from passing the cost of the fines on to truck owners and operators.

Terminal operators could face a $250 fine for every truck left idling more than 30 minutes; if the terminal diverts the idling trucks, that fine expands to $750.

The law also requires each of the state’s air quality districts to determine the level of monitoring and enforcement necessary, based on truck idling problems within each district.

Under the new law, fines expand to include terminals that make truckers “queue,” or wait in line. It also expands the duties of air-quality districts to cover queuing trucks as well as idling ones.

AB1971 received final approval from the Senate and Assembly in August. It was signed recently by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and is now law.