The federal gasoline tax has lost much of its effectiveness for funding freight transportation projects, and US Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif., is suggesting again that a tax on surface freight transportation is needed if the country is to meet its huge infrastructure development needs. Lowenthal, a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, represents the district in which the Port of Long Beach is located. He has introduced the National Multimodal and Sustainable Freight Infrastructure Act, which would impose a 1 percent excise tax on ground transportation of freight. The bill, which includes provisions for a grant program, would deposit all revenue into a freight trust fund, and a lock-box feature would ensure the money is used only for designated purposes for freight moving by truck and rail.
Daily Breeze – Community advocate Lucia Moreno-Linares was confirmed Wednesday as the first Wilmington resident in nearly a quarter century to take a seat on the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners. In a unanimous 13-0 vote, the Los Angeles City Council approved the appointment by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to replace Patricia Castellanos, who recently stepped down from the commission overseeing the Port of Los Angeles to pursue a new career opportunity.
Fleet Owner – As the “traditional” make-up of the U.S. truck driver population is rapidly aging and heads for retirement, new efforts must be made to attract younger and “non-traditional” candidates to the job of piloting commercial vehicles for a living. That’s according to a panel of trucking executives at the McLeod Software 2017 User Conference in Atlanta this week. It’s going to require new approaches to driver recruiting and retention by motor carriers – especially in terms of higher pay, more personal outreach, plus more family and spousal contact to help alleviate the stress created when drivers spend long stretches away from home on the road.
The Sacramento Bee – From family leave and clean-air cars to job applicants and the construction industry, organized labor left its stamp on the just-completed California legislative session. Unions’ efforts sent to Gov. Jerry Brown measures that give their leaders access to employees’ emails, restrict ports from expanding automation that could displace workers and expand prevailing wage requirements for housing construction.
Carson-based Pacific 9 Transportation Inc. no longer counts Costco Wholesale Corp. as a customer as of late August. Alan Ta, chief operating officer of Pacific 9, declined to give specifics but confirmed that Costco is no longer a client. Costco declined to comment. The retail giant is the first known to have taken action after a push in early August by four Democratic U.S. senators, including Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris of California, who wrote a letter questioning Costco and 15 other retailers about “mistreatment of workers” in their supply chains. “Port trucking companies’ brazen disregard for federal transportation safety standards and workers’ safety and rights is shameful,” the senators wrote.
New York Times – September 12, 2017: The head of the 1.4-million member International Brotherhood of Teamsters union is mounting an aggressive effort to convince Congress to reject new rules to speed the deployment of self-driving trucks, warning they could lead to the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs and reduce road safety. James P. Hoffa, who has headed the union since 1999, said on Tuesday that Congress could help major trucking companies ultimately get rid of drivers by automating vehicles, which would also pose serious risks to American drivers. Read more.
Long Beach Press Telegram – Dozens of part-time dockworkers who have been waiting for years to land a full-time job protested outside their Wilmington union hall Friday, demanding they be given benefits and more work. “They are frustrated,” said Paul Trani, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 63, representing marine clerks. “They have been sacrificing their family. Many have two jobs.” Read more.
The land repurposing would help to alleviate issues surrounding chassis availability that are a perennial problem. The port of Los Angeles and Long Beach are responding to the urging of the harbor trucking community to repurpose surplus properties as near-dock yards for container dray-offs and chassis storage to boost productivity. Read more here from Journal of Commerce: LA-LB ports repurposing land to aid truckers
Random Length News – On July 20, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach released the draft of their new Clean Air Action Plan, opening a two-month comment period. The first public comment was a resounding rejection from the Teamsters, because the plan would tacitly allow the continued exploitation of individual truckers, misclassified as independent owner-operators. These truckers were saddled with the lion’s share of the costs of the Clean Trucks Program in the initial plan — hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Read more.
Trucking info – A bill newly proposed in the House would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to change the classification of employers and employees. “Currently, it is difficult and overly complicated for businesses to use independent contractors, which limits companies’ growth and individuals’ work,” said Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN), who introduced H.R. 3396 on July 25. He added that this legislation “provides clarity and guidance for businesses so they know they are properly classifying independent contractors without fear of IRS penalties.” Read more.