A bill that would give ports more authority over drayage operations has been introduced in the Senate. Among other things, the bill would clear the way for ports to ban owner-operators and require all drivers to be employees of companies.

The Clean Ports Act, introduced by New York Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer, would give ports the authority to regulate truck prices, routes and service in order to improve pollution, congestion and safety. It is designed to create a legal foundation for the type of concession plan the Port of Los Angeles attempted to set up as part of its clean-port program.

It is the companion legislation to a measure introduced in the House last February by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. That bill was referred to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which under Republican leadership is not likely to act on it.

That aspect of the LA concession plan was thrown out last October by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

In the suit brought by American Trucking Associations, the court found that the employee driver provision is "tantamount to regulation" and thus illegal. The port has since decided that it will not challenge the court's finding on the driver plan.