Fleet Management

Bill Would Expand States’ Ability to Regulate Ports

August 12, 2013

By Oliver Patton

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Two New York legislators are pushing a bill that would allow states to regulate port trucking in ways similar to the Port of Los Angeles program that was rejected by the Supreme Court.

The bill offered by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., would let a state or a local authority set up a program “reasonably related” to cleaning up pollution or easing congestion.

They said their intent is to change the law so that ports can “enact simple measures, such as the requirement that motor carriers use off-street parking, or that a truck display a placard with a phone number for the public to call regarding truck safety.”

The Port of Los Angeles attempted these measures as part of its Clean Truck Program but was reversed when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a challenge by American Trucking Associations.

“The Clean Ports Act will update federal law to ensure that ports can enact and enforce Clean Truck programs,” Gillibrand and Nadler said in a statement.

As they note in their statement, the Los Angeles program has been successful.

“In just one year, the program reportedly replaced nearly 6,000 dirty diesel trucks with clean diesel and alternative energy vehicles,” they said.

“This eliminated 30 tons of diesel particulate matter which will reduce diesel particulate pollution by an estimated 70% and is equivalent to removing 200,000 automobiles from the road.”

But they want states and local governments to have the legal authority to impose additional regulations.

The Port of Los Angeles attempted to impose placarding and parking requirements as part of a drayage concession plan that was generally supported by trucking interests.

ATA challenged this aspect of the plan on grounds that the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act exempts carriers from the off-street parking and placard provisions of the agreement.

The issue turned on whether or not the requirement is an act of regulatory authority, which the FAAA would forbid.

Siding with ATA, the Supreme Court said that the port was exercising regulatory it did not have.

The Clean Ports Act has been referred to the Senate Commerce Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

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