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Assemblyman Introduces Bill to Improve Port Traffic Congestion

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By OLGA GRIGORYANTSThursday, June 23, 2016

Photo courtesy of the Port of Long Beach.

Photo courtesy of the Port of Long Beach.

In the latest attempt to combat congestion at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) introduced a bill to improve the container cargo movement.

The increasing number of containers that arrive on larger ships is putting pressure on the current gate management system, known as PierPass, which causes trucks to wait hours before they can pick up and drop off containers, generating traffic near terminals.

The bill, AB 531, calls for launching a new gate management system in response to “unacceptable” levels of traffic congestion near the ports.

“The program is not modernized to keep up with the cargo movement,” said Weston Labar, president of the Harbor Trucking Association. “Originally, there was intent to create PierPass as a traffic mitigation program, but it is becoming increasingly difficult because we have too much cargo.”

PierPass, a not-for-profit company, was created 11 years ago by terminal operators to address various issues, including traffic congestion and air pollution.

Under the program, truckers who arrive at the ports before 5 p.m. are required to pay a fee of $69.17 for a 20-foot container and $138.34 for a 40-foot container, while truckers who come after 6 p.m. can enter for no charge.

That leads to congestion as some trucks wait at the gates until the second shift, avoiding paying the entrance fee, according to John Cushing, president of PierPass.

Some say the congestion and high fees might eventually push business to East Coast sites where traffic is more manageable.

“Cargo owners pay thousands dollars for the cargo movement,” Labar said. “They might divert cargo to other ports because they don’t want to lose money.”

Mandatory Commercial Recycling regulation update

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This just in from CalRecycle:

Climate Change

As you know, CalRecycle and the Air Resources Board (ARB) had intended to address the proposed Mandatory Commercial Recycling regulations at the ARB meeting on Oct. 20-21, 2011, where ARB was to hold a public hearing to consider adoption of the proposed regulations.

However, as a result of Assembly Bill (AB) 341 being signed into law by Governor Brown on Oct. 6, 2011, please be advised that this public hearing on the proposed regulations has been cancelled.

Instead, at the same Oct. 20-21 ARB meeting, CalRecycle and ARB will present an informational item on our collaborative efforts to date, the new direction resulting from enactment of AB 341, and CalRecycle's plans to implement AB 341's mandatory commercial recycling provision. This informational item also will include discussion of opportunities to expand recycling services and recycling manufacturing in California, and of future collaboration with ARB on other AB 32 Scoping Plan measures.

AB 341 provides authority to CalRecycle to implement the mandatory commercial recycling program, and as a result, the department will commence its own rulemaking to implement the statute. These regulations will reflect the statutory provisions and provide additional procedural clarifications.

Because of the extensive stakeholder input received at eight public workshops and numerous stakeholder meetings over the past two years, CalRecycle plans to initiate the formal rulemaking with a 45-day comment period beginning in early November and a subsequent public hearing. The exact timing will depend on our ability to submit a new regulatory package to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) and receive its approval to begin the rulemaking.

We look forward to starting this rulemaking as quickly as possible and to receiving your continued input and support during the process, which will include additional public hearings and 15-day comment periods as needed. To stay updated on this, please be sure to sign up for our listserv and visit our web page at

Once the final regulation is adopted by CalRecycle and approved by OAL, CalRecycle will provide guidance to jurisdictions and businesses in the form of frequently asked questions (FAQs), workshops, and consultations as needed. CalRecycle also will provide tools such as sample educational outreach materials developed in conjunction with the Institute for Local Government, as well as CalRecycle's Commercial Recycling Cost Calculator.

For more information, please contact CalRecycle's Mandatory Commercial Recycling Team at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

AB 1178 would prohibit local government from restricting the importation of solid waste based on place of origin

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Existing law authorizes a city or county to assess special fees of a reasonable amount on the importation of waste from outside of the county to publicly owned or privately owned facilities.  AB 1178 (Ma) would prohibit cities and counties from otherwise restricting or limiting in any way the importation of solid waste into that city or county based on place of origin.

The bill expressly adds that it does not do any of the following:
(A) Restrict a publicly owned solid waste facility from limiting or restricting its acceptance of solid waste from outside the jurisdiction of the public agency that owns the facility.  
(B) Require a privately owned solid waste facility or privately operated solid waste facility to accept solid waste from outside the city or county where the facility is located.  
(C) Prevent a city or county from exercising its land use authority, including making a zoning, permitting, or other land use determination.

You can find the full text of the bill at


AB 712 would deny money to local governments that restrict or prevent supermarket recycling centers

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AB 712 would prohibit the department from making any payments, grants, or loans to a local government that has adopted or is enforcing a land-use restriction that prevents the siting or operation of a certified recycling center at a supermarket site.

You can find the full text of the bill at


AB 950 would deem independent drayage truck operators to be employees

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AB 950 would make drayage truck operators employees of those persons who arrange for or engage their services.  As a result, drayage truck drivers would be employees for purposes of state employment law, including, but not limited to, workers compensation, occupational safety and health, and retaliation or discrimination.

The bill defines a "drayage truck operator" as "the driver of, or any person, party, or entity that controls the operation of, any in-use on-road vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 33,000 pounds operating on or transgressing through port or intermodal rail yard property for the purpose of loading, unloading, or transporting cargo, including containerized, bulk, or break-bulk goods."

The Journal of Commerce reports that the "classification of drayage truck drivers is a key issue in the effort by the Teamsters union to organize harbor truck drivers, not only in California but in ports across the nation...Drivers at most ports are classified as independent contractors, and by federal law unions cannot organize independent contractors. If classified as employees, however, the drivers could be organized."  You can read more about it at

You can find the full text of the bill at


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