Coalition Urges Port Trucking Change

Coalition Urges Port Trucking Change

Supporters of the port of Los Angeles clean trucks program stepped up the pressure on House leadership on Thursday when they presented a letter signed by 113 labor, environmental, community and religious groups urging changes in the Federal Motor Carrier Act.

The letter was addressed to representatives James Oberstar, D-Minn., and John Mica, R-Fla., the chairman and ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The committee will hold a much-anticipated hearing on port trucking on May 5.

The letter says that changing the law “will provide ports with the tools they need to reduce deadly diesel pollution and public road hazards caused by the port trucking industry.” The groups seek changes in the law to give ports more authority over truck routes, rates and services, something that’s now limited to the federal government.

Last year the American Trucking Associations won an injunction against the port for a portion of the clean trucks program that bans independent dray drivers in favor of companies that receive concessions from the port for the service. Critics say the concession agreements open the door for unionization of port drivers.

A coalition of transportation and import groups opposes changing the motor carrier law, arguing that the port has met its clean air goals well ahead of schedule, and the legislative changes are unnecessary.

The letter includes the name of such well-known groups as the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Service Employees International Union.

The letter is also signed by GreenFaith, a religion-based environmental group in New Brunswick, N.J., community development groups Pittsburgh United and For a Better Bronx, the Church Council of Greater Seattle, and the Banning High School Ecology Club in Wilmington, Calif.

Contact R.G. Edmonson at bedmonson@joc.com.