A U.S. District Court judge has ruled in favor of the Port of Los Angeles' Clean Truck Program, which seeks to ban independent owner-operators from serving the port's marine terminals.
In a decision issued on Aug. 26, Judge Christina A. Snyder ruled that the port's concession agreement, which requires independent truckers to become employees of approved drayage companies, "does not constitute an undue burden on interstate commerce" under the U.S. Constitution or federal law.
The American Trucking Associations, which sued to block the owner-operator restrictions, had argued that the port's authority in that area is preempted by the Constitution, as well by as the motor carrier provision of the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994, or the FAAA Act. Judge Snyder disagreed. She said the port has both the authority and sound market and safety reasons for controlling truckers' access to its docks.
Officials of the port and city of Los Angeles applauded the ruling. "The decision is evidence that we are making real progress on growing and greening our Port," said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in a statement. "Now we can finally move forward with our Clean Truck Program, a model for ports around the nation."
"We are extremely pleased that our concession program was upheld by the court ruling, including accountability of motor carriers," said Geraldine Knatz, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles. "Our ability to have direct enforcement of the truck bans and other important features of our concession agreements with the trucking companies that call at the Port of Los Angeles thousands of times a day will help provide a safer and secure trucking system for the long term."
The American Trucking Associations, which filed suit against the port program in 2008, said in a statement that "we are disappointed with the decision, and believe it is clearly erroneous as a matter of law. ATA intends to appeal it."
ATA added that it will ask the courts to keep in place the current injunction against the port's concession agreement, until the Court of Appeals has had a chance to review the case.
The concession agreement is also backed by the Teamsters Union, which wants to organize port truckers once they become motor carrier employees.
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