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Port's Clean Trucks Program to Begin Oct. 1

Dirty truck ban, concessions, security requirements to start

September 26, 2008

The Port of Long Beach Clean Trucks Program, a critical environmental initiative to reduce air pollution from the truck fleet by 80 percent by 2012, will kick off as scheduled October 1, 2008. 

On that day the Port will begin enforcing the central component of the program, a ban on old, dirty trucks. As of October 1, model year 1988 and older trucks will not be allowed to access Port terminals. The Port will begin distributing window stickers this week that will temporarily allow access for compliant trucks, identified through the Port's concession agreements. In a few weeks, the Port will roll out an electronic system for compliance oversight.

"The Clean Trucks Program is a critical clean air program and we need to move forward with it as quickly as possible," said J. Christopher Lytle, the Port's Deputy Executive Director. "The Port must address its environmental and community impacts now if we are to continue to move cargo, create jobs and provide economic benefits to the region."

On September 9 a U.S. District Court judge, ruling on a legal challenge by the American Trucking Association, formally refusing to halt the Clean Trucks Program, clearing the way for the October 1 start date and immediate improvement of the region's air quality.  

In addition to complying with the truck ban October 1, all trucking companies doing business with the Port must have a Port-approved concession. The concession agreements cover the rules that trucking companies must follow if they wish to do business with the Port. As of Monday, September 23, nearly 500 companies had applied for concessions, representing more than 6,000 trucks. 

Security improvements, another major component of the program, will also begin October 1. All truck drivers are required to have a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) as part of their concession agreements or show evidence that they have applied for the TWIC.

Meanwhile, the Port is developing a computerized PortCheck system -- similar to the existing PierPass system -- that will enable the collection of Clean Trucks Fees from cargo owners. The fees will help finance leases and loans to assist truckers in obtaining clean trucks. The Port will begin collecting the fee as soon as the computer system is operational, which is expected to be a few weeks after October 1. (Cargo owners are encouraged to register with PortCheck or PierPass immediately in order to claim their cargo when the Port begins assessing the fee.)

"The PortCheck system is a major undertaking," Lytle said. "We are fully committed to making it a success."

 About the Clean Trucks Program

The landmark Clean Trucks Program will dramatically modernize the port trucking industry and slash truck-related air pollution by 80 percent by 2012. The Clean Trucks Program is outlined in the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan. Diesel-powered harbor short-haul (drayage) trucks are a major source of air pollution.

The Clean Trucks Program calls for drayage truck owners to scrap and replace old, polluting trucks working at the Port, with the assistance of a port-sponsored grant or loan subsidy. The Port of Long Beach program includes truck concession requirements to identify "clean" trucks, ensure reliable short-haul service, and improve air quality, security and safety. Trucks that meet the federal 2007 emission standard produce 80 percent less air pollution than older trucks. Most of these older, polluting trucks would remain on the public roadways for many years, even decades. Therefore the Port is offering generous financial incentives to encourage truck owners to scrap and replace the older trucks. The Port will provide one-time financial assistance to accelerate the transition to clean trucks, offering optional financing plans. 

The Port of Long Beach program offers flexibility and choice for the trucking industry. LMCs will be allowed to use employee drivers, independent contractor drivers or a combination of employee and contractor drivers -- as they do now. 

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