Tuesday, October 20, 2009

NYC, Newark Mayors Join LA Port in Fight Against Trucking Deregulation

The mayors of the nation’s second largest port complex have joined with Los Angeles and Oakland officials in a lobbying effort to rescind federal deregulation of interstate trucking.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker on Sunday jointly announced their support of the LA port’s Clean Truck Program and called on Congress “to support legislation that will empower ports to implement the LA Clean Truck Program.”

The New York/New Jersey port complex is the second busiest in the nation behind the Long Beach and Los Angeles complex.

Bloomberg and Booker join Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, who last week in calling for changes to the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994, or F4A, to allow local governmental authorities, such as port authorities, to regulate interstate trucking. Detractors of the F4A, which provides that the federal government has authority over interstate trucking, refer to the 1994 legislation as “obsolete” and “arcane.”

The F4A states in part, “a State, political subdivision of a State, or political authority of two or more States may not enact or enforce a law, regulation, or other provision having the force and effect of law related to a price, route, or service of any motor carrier.”

Portions of the Port of Los Angeles Clean Truck Program required that drayage trucking firms servicing the port hire per-hour employee drivers instead of per-load independent owner-operators who represent more than 80 percent of the LA port drayage drivers. This employee mandate was injuncted by a federal court in part on the basis of the F4A language that gives authority for regulation of interstate trucking to the federal government. Previous legal cases have found that containerized cargo is considered interstate commerce.

The Clean Truck Program, enacted 13-months ago by the adjacent ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, was developed jointly by the two ports but approved in two differing versions. The Long Beach port version had no employee mandate. This week, Long Beach port officials reached a settlement with the American Trucking Associations that is expected to remove the Long Beach port from ongoing litigation over the truck program. The ATA plans to continue legal action against the Los Angeles port.