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Supreme Court hears oral arguments in L.A. Port case today

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in ATA's long-standing challenge to portions of the Port of L.A.'s Clean Trucks concession plan.

The Trucker News Services

4/16/2013

The U.S. Supreme Court today heard oral arguments in the American Trucking Associations’ challenge to portions of the Port of Los Angeles’ Clean Trucks concession plan agreement, claiming the Port’s attempt to impose restrictions on drayage carriers conflicts with federal transport law.

ATA Deputy Chief Counsel Richard Pianka said, “We believe it is clear that in 1980 Congress established that trucking should be shaped by the competitive market rather than government regulations.

“And Congress underscored that desire in 1994 in the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA), which prohibits state and local governments from enacting or enforcing any 'law, regulation, or provision having the force and effect of law related to a price, route or service of any motor carrier.'

“Despite this, leaders in Los Angeles moved forward with a plan to shape the market for trucking at the Port by imposing a laundry list of regulations that should all be clearly [seen as being] preempted by the FAAAA,” Pianka said.

He continued that if allowed to stand, the rules would clear the way “for a patchwork of regulations that would lead to unreasonable burdens on the movement of goods.” 

The Port claims its concession plan is for the purpose of restricting harmful emissions in the port and surrounding area.

A lower court has upheld ATA’s argument that the Port couldn’t force independent owner-operators to become employees of drayage companies but excluded the Port’s off-street parking and placarding requirements.

ATA also contests the Port’s ability to deny selected carriers entry to the facility, saying it would “constitute an impermissible partial suspension of a motor carrier’s federal operating authority.”

According to the ATA, a decision is “likely” before the Court’s current term ends in June.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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