In response to pressure from several members of the California Congressional Delegation to amend federal law and to expand the authority of states and local port authorities to regulate activities that have been under the authority of the federal government, NASSTRAC joined with other groups in opposing the proposed action.

At issue is an attempt to amend a federal law (the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act ˆ FAAAA) that would permit local ports such as Los Angeles and Long Beach to regulate harbor trucking as a method to address environmental, port security and other matters that have been governed by federal law.

NASSTRAC signed a joint letter to Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, as well as all of the members of that panel opposing efforts to restrict federal preemption. The group emphasized, “While we strongly support efforts to improve air quality and port security in and around America’s ports, the effort to undermine federal preemption of interstate commerce is an attempt to overturn losses in the federal courts restricting local regulation of truck drayage services. If successful, these efforts will not improve air quality or port security in and around the nation’s ports, but will re-impose a fragmented, local, patchwork regulatory structure on foreign and interstate commerce, contrary to the U.S. Constitution and acts of Congress.”

The target of the proposed amendment, the FAAAA, only permits state and local entities to enact regulations within “vehicle safety” related programs. The FAAAA was the authority successfully used by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) where a federal appellate court held the statute only permits an exception to federal law where a state or local authority acts within the narrow scope of “vehicle safety” related programs. The case concerns the Clean Truck Programs (CTP) proposed by the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach which sought to regulate trucks operating through “Concession Agreements.”

It was through these agreements that the Port of Los Angeles sought to ban independent owner-operators from serving that port.

For a complete copy of the joint letter, click here: