American Trucking Associations officials say they are pleased that the US Supreme Court agreed on January 11 to hear ATA’s petition to review the Port of Los Angeles' attempt to impose a comprehensive licensing scheme on carriers using the port under the guise of environmental improvements.

“The port's rules challenged by ATA, which range from a requirement that carriers display port-mandated information on the sides of trucks entering and leaving the port, to a requirement that trucks conform to the port’s off-street parking rules even when not on port property, have nothing to do with improving air quality,” ATA President and chief Executive Officer Bill Graves said. “We are pleased the Supreme Court will review the erroneous decision of the appellate court.

“ATA has challenged these provisions because we believe they are incompatible with Congress’ command that state and local governments may not regulate motor carrier decisions relating to prices, routes and services. Our objections to the Port's program have always been business-related, and not, as certain reactionary groups have asserted, out of a desire to cling to polluting ways.”

The port's Clean Truck Program, without these onerous restrictions, has improved air quality, a fact environmental groups have repeatedly conceded.

“Under the Clean Truck Program, industry and the port have succeeded in working together to replace outdated equipment with new, efficient trucks,” Graves said. “We are proud to have participated in a program that improved air quality. That success means there is no need to interfere with Congress’ intention that the motor carrier industry be shaped by the forces of competition, under a uniform federal regulatory environment, and not by state and local governments that have their own ideas about how the industry should be structured. ATA is confident that the Supreme Court--which has repeatedly instructed that Congress’s deregulatory and preemptive intent is to be construed broadly--will agree.”