SPECIAL REPORT: L.A., Long Beach ports to accept day pass, credit cards

| 9/29/2008

Sept. 29, 2008 – As the Port of Long Beach and Los Angeles prepare to enforce the nation’s first large-scale ban on dirty trucks at ports, the ports have quietly made a “temporary access permit” available for intermittent truck visitors.

On Wednesday, the ports are scheduled to begin phasing in the first portions of their clean truck plans, including bans on trucks with pre-1989 engines. All trucks will be required to meet 2007 emissions standards by 2012.

Both ports, however, also have their own requirements that each truck be registered and approved by the port in taxi-style concessionaires.

Long-haul drivers, including many OOIDA members, could gain access to the ports beginning Wednesday when the clean truck programs begin implementation. Both the port of Los Angeles and Long Beach announced previously that a 12-time day pass system could be used by truckers who make occasional port visits, with each visit costing $100.

On Monday, the ports’ “Clean Trucks Center” circulated an e-mail showing how drivers can temporarily access the port’s Temporary Access Permit website at www.cleanairactionplan.org/pass. A permanent permit system is in the planning stages.

When Land Line tried to verify the Web site address at press time, a message appeared indicating that the site was under maintenance. A registration process shows the licensed motor carrier how to identify which port they’ll be visiting, how to provide information on the truck being permitted, and how to pay the $100 temporary access fee.

The fee can be paid only by using Visa, MasterCard or American Express.

The ports also will have a Temporary Access Center at Pier S Avenue and New Dock Street on Terminal Island. Staff will be available there from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

The ports expect to install automated kiosks to dispense day passes early next year.

Chris Gannon, an assistant to Port of Long Beach Captain John Holmes, declined to answer questions posed by Land Line when reached on Friday, Sept. 26.

Gannon deferred all questions to port representatives.

Media relations professionals at each port didn’t return multiple phone calls and e-mails Friday and Monday seeking answers about port access for truck drivers.

The majority of trucks banned by the pre-1989 engine ban are local drayage trucks.

Research from the California Air Resources Board shows long-haul truck drivers and interstate trucks to be newer than in-state trucks.

Without the day-pass, no trucks would have been allowed to enter the ports without being licensed concessionaires. Concessionaires pay as much as $2,500 and $100 per truck, in addition to meeting port maintenance and reporting standards.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer