Overdrive Staff | April 01, 2010

The trial in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles will consider ATA’s request for a permanent injunction to block the port program that would require all independent truckers to become employees of approved trucking companies. Under its Clean Trucks program, the port contends the concession plan is the only way to help drivers buy and maintain new lower-emissions trucks.

ATA counters the plan violates federal interstate transport laws and makes it easier for the Teamsters to organize the drivers. The association also contends the port’s concession plan requirements don’t act to clean the air of pollutants, which is the stated goal of the Clean Trucks program.

Last month, a three-judge federal panel expanded an ATA request for a temporary injunction against a port provision that required drayage trucks to display information on placards other than that required by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Separately, a U.S. District Court judge ruled against an ATA request for a permanent injunction against most of the port’s truck concession plan. The judge also ruled against a port request to dismiss the suit and dismiss the temporary injunction.

— Staff reports

Port starts clean truck program

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency March 10 launched a program to replace up to 636 of the oldest, most polluting trucks serving the port with newer models that generate less pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

The $28 million program is designed to encourage owners of pre-1994 drayage trucks that regularly serve the port to buy newer vehicles. The program is partly funded by a $7 million EPA grant, with the remainder coming from Port Authority funds.

The agency also announced a truck phase-out plan in which pre-1994 model trucks would no longer be able to call on Port Authority marine terminals beginning Jan. 1, 2011. Trucks not equipped with engines that meet or exceed 2007 federal emissions standards will no longer be able to call on the terminals beginning on Jan. 1, 2017.

Under the program, trucks drivers will be eligible for the following assistance:

• A 25 percent grant toward the total purchase price of a replacement truck – averaging between $20,000 and $60,000 – which must be model year 2004 to 2008, equipped with an engine model year 2004 to 2007.

• Low-interest financing (5.25 percent over five years) for up to 75 percent of the total purchase price of a replacement truck.

Information and pre-applications for grants and financial assistance to cover the cost of a new truck will be available at the Truck Replacement Center in Elizabeth, N.J., or online at www.replacemytruck.org or in Spanish at www.cambiamicamion.org.

The program is modeled after the Clean Trucks program under way at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

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