The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in the American Trucking Associations' ongoing challenge to the Port of Los Angeles to impose a comprehensive licensing scheme on trucks hauling freight in and out of the port.
A transcript of the argument can be read here.
"We believe it is clear that in 1980 Congress established that trucking should be shaped by the competitive market, rather than government regulations," said ATA Deputy Chief Counsel Richard Pianka. "And Congress underscored that desire in 1994 in the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA) which prohibits state and local governments from enacting or enforcing any 'law, regulation, or provision having the force and effect of law related to a price, route, or service of any motor carrier.'
"Despite this, leaders in Los Angeles moved forward with a plan to shape the market for trucking at the Port by imposing a laundry list of regulations that should all be clearly preempted by the FAAAA," Pianka said. "If these rules are allowed to stand, it would clear the way for a patchwork of regulations that would lead to unreasonable burdens on the movement of goods."
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a plan by the port to limit drayage companies to employee drivers of companies holding concessions at the port.
Steven Rosenthal, an attorney for the port, said still remaining at issue were "two provisions contained in a contract between commercial actors between commercial actors. They set forth conditions under which drayage trucks can enter the nonpublic portions of the port, and they are indistinguishable, indistinguishable from contract provisions that private parties routinely impose on those who seek to enter their property. In our view, the FAAAA does not deal with contracts, and it doesn't deal with the right of landowners to condition those seeking entry into their port."
ATA said it expects a decision before the court's current term ends in June. - Chris Dupin