A bill that continued California’s
battle against ports that force trucks to wait – and idle – suffered a blow
April 5 when a Senate committee voted against the measure.
Under current state law, port
terminals that cause trucks to wait – and idle – for more than 30 minutes can
face fines. But under the new bill, SB761, those same terminals would face
further penalties if they cause trucks to spend more than 60 total minutes
while doing business with the terminal.
The Senate Transportation and
Housing Committee voted 7-6 against the bill after a hearing April 5. However,
the committee left the door open for the bill’s sponsor – Sen. Alan Lowenthal,
D-Long Beach – to bring it back before the committee; that could occur when the
panel meets April 19.
However, an official with
Lowenthal’s office said he was not certain whether the senator would ask for
“I don’t think we’ve decided
either way,” Lowenthal aide Josh Tooker said. “The hearing is not till next
Tuesday (April 19), so we have a little bit of time.”
If Lowenthal does bring the bill
back, it will be considered by the same panel that rejected it. However, Tooker
said he was not aware of any changes being planned for the bill before the
April 19 committee meeting.
SB761 would change a number of
requirements faced by ports in the state. For example, it would start the clock
on the so-called 60-minute “turn time” from the moment a truck enters the first
gate or queue at the terminal. It does not stop the clock until that truck
leaves the exit gate.
It also requires the terminals to
set up an appointment or scheduling system – something that was voluntary under
previous law – and requires trucks and motor carriers that do business with the
port to use those systems.
Lowenthal represents many
residents near the sprawling Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, one of the
largest ports in the nation. Several measures in the past few years – some of
which have passed, and some which did not – have taken aim at diesel-related
air pollution around the ports by placing more requirements on the port
terminals, where long lines and waits have been common.
– By Mark H. Reddig, associate editor