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ATA to seek port injunction review

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) will seek immediate review of US District Judge Christina Snyder’s denial September 10 of ATA’s request for a preliminary injunction against the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to halt implementation of their concession agreements.

The decision was based on pleadings and a September 8 hearing in which ATA reiterated that it opposes the concession agreements, but supports the ports Clean Truck Programs, including the phased retirement of older trucks from the port operations and their replacement with newer, cleaner vehicles. The port concession agreements that ATA opposes are simply not needed to meet the ports environmental goals, the association said.

ATA is in full support of the ports’ environmental and security goals and supports the October 1, 2008, implementation of the elements of the Clean Truck Program necessary to address those goals, including the ban of pre-1989 trucks and the clean truck fee. "Unfortunately, it is clear that the ports are now in no position to put in place the systems needed to collect the ports’ clean truck fee and administer the ban on pre-1989 trucks by the October 1 program startup date," ATA argued.

In a detailed letter to the ports, the Secretary of the Marine Terminal Operators Agreement noted that the ports’ failure to timely develop and populate the Drayage Truck Registry, which will provide the individual truck data necessary to administer the program, makes it impossible for the Marine Terminal Operators to implement the program.

The terminal operators warned the ports that "[a]ttempting to implement a program of this type without adequate preparation, testing and outreach could result in long truck lines at terminal gates, decreased productivity, and dissatisfaction among truckers, ocean carriers, and the shipping public."

To avoid those problems the operators suggested that collection of the clean truck fee be postponed until January 1, 2009, and that the ban of pre-1989 trucks be delayed until at least November 1, 2009, and begun then only if the Drayage Truck Registry was fully in place.

ATA said the inability of the ports to put in place even the uncontested elements of its Clean Truck Program underscores the current disarray at the ports. It further shows that the ports focus on the unnecessary and burdensome concession plans is distracting them from their true environmental goals.

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