Stating the Obvious

The $ 1.8 billion “Clean Trucks Plan” tug-o’-war is much in the news these days. The Agricultural Transportation Coalition, the Association of the California Recycling Industry, the California Trucking Association, the National Industrial Transportation League, and the Pacific Coast Council of Customs & Freight Forwarders are the strongest voices among the many that have been raised in opposition to the scheme.

In support of the plan, the National Resources Defense Council and the Coalition for Clean Air, both members of the Teamster-led Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports (CCSP), in a joint letter to LA/Long Beach port officials, suggested that such opposition be ignored, and encouraged the ports to “stand firm on their path”. The Teamsters had already indicated their support for the plan in April.

After considering the ports’ recently published list of demands upon driver applicants, however, these supporters of the plan are having second thoughts. The CCSP, an alliance of environmental, labor, community and religious groups, warned port officials that the truck plan “will fail if enacted as it is currently drafted.”

In a release, CCSP officials listed the following criteria that the group wants included in the plan:
1. A no-loophole environmental standard for trucks.
2. A requirement that 50% of the 16,800 trucks be replaced with alternative fuel vehicles.
3. Immediate transition on the Jan. 1st start date to the employee driver model.

The group also wants the plan to be funded entirely by retailers and trucking companies.

The two port commissions will vote on this plan sometime this fall, and although everyone wants a say in the matter not many will be pleased when the initiative is enacted. Keith Higginbotham, editor of California Connection, has provided his readers with some thoughtful observations and what he’s saying makes a lot of sense. He seems to know what goes on behind closed doors.

In the following ways, he states, the re-regulation plan envisioned by the port authorities would decimate the ranks of those it promises to uplift;
• The jobs of nearly 6,150 drivers and more than 1,500 other trucking industry workers would be eliminated within the space of two years,
• An additional $ 6.6 billion in costs would be passed along directly to consumers over the plan’s first year.
• Over $ 50 billion in costs would be passed along to consumers over the plan’s five-year life.
• The current version of the plan will likely generate more smog- and ozone-creating pollution than it predicts.
• There will be longer lines of trucks at port facilities and more congestion throughout the system.

Mr. Higginbotham is merely stating the obvious.