Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

POLA re-ups with Gephardt group on F4A issues

It happened last week instead of one night, but...the Port of Los Angeles has, for the fourth time, renewed its relationship with a lobbying firm helping it out on Capitol Hill. In doing so it puts a very interesting problem in the lap of LA's new deputy mayor, Austin Beutner.

POLA is very very very interested in amending a law called the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act. The act prohibits local authorities from regulating rates, routes and service. Specifically, they're interested in "clarifying and strengthening the rights of local public port authorities to enact essential environmental and security programs," as Philip Stanfield told the Daily Breeze.

The Gepbardt group has been:

working continuously on securing an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA), which currently prohibits state and local governments from regulating drayage truck rates, routes and services, with certain exceptions such as safety. The FAAAA has been interpreted by the courts as preempting certain essential elements of the Port’s CTP. The Port believes that its current program, as enacted, complies with current law and will continue making this case in court. While not guaranteeing any existing element of the CTP, staff believes that amending the FAAAA would strengthen the ability for any publicly-owned port to enact environmental and security programs on par with the extraordinary environmental and security challenges facing the Port.

[Other regional port authorities are also very very very interested in F4A too. But quote often they're trying to let business know they're not very very very interested in passing it. I spoke to officials at the American Association of Port Authorities last week; the AAPA's policy committee voted to oppose F4A amendment.]

LA's move, wouldntcha know, is supported by the same blue-green coalition that supports its efforts to require companies to employ drivers rather than contract with them. (More about their views here.) I haven't seen anything past anecdotal evidence about whether this issue's changing how shippers use ports. I'm not sure anyone knows yet.

I talked to Mr. Beutner about the port's lobbying efforts (more about what else he said coming soon); he pointed out he had only been on the job two weeks. Fair enough. The latest lobbying contract runs out in April.