Assembly Vote Detours Proposed L.A. Truck Ban
Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley’s efforts to impose fees on trucks using city streets suffered a setback Thursday as trucking interests won approval of a bill that would make it easier for them to challenge the fees in court.
Ignoring an impassioned plea from Assemblywoman Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) to kill the measure, the Assembly voted 47-28 to pass legislation devised by trucking interests to stop local governments from restricting truck traffic and imposing local license fees.
Although Los Angeles had been exempted from some provisions of the bill after Bradley made a rare appearance before an Assembly committee last month, trucking interests were able to reverse some of his gains on the Assembly floor.
The amendment by Assemblyman William P. Baker (R-Danville) said nothing in the bill could be construed as permission for cities or counties to levy new fees on trucks. Since current law is silent on the subject of local trucking fees, lawmakers said the amendment would pave the way for truckers to immediately challenge in court any fees imposed by the city.
As part of his plan to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution, Bradley has proposed to ban 70% of all trucks from city streets during rush hours and to require truckers to register with the city, pay a $60 annual fee and prove that their vehicles are in safe working order.
Trucking interests, acknowledging that they wanted to torpedo Bradley’s plan, won a promise from legislative leaders several weeks ago that they would push the trucking bill in return for the truckers’ support of an $18.5-billion transportation plan considered by many lawmakers as a hallmark of this year’s session.
The transportation package, which cannot go into effect unless voters approve modifications in the state spending limit at a June, 1990, election, includes an increase of 9 cents per gallon in the state’s gasoline tax and significant hikes in truck weight fees.
“They (local governments) want to levy an individual fee on truckers,” Baker said. “The truckers said ‘no, if you do that we can’t support additional fees at the state level.’ ”
At Bradley’s request, Los Angeles was exempted from the provisions in the trucking bill that limited local governments’ ability to restrict truck traffic. Lawmakers also agreed to let cities impose local truck fees with the proviso that the fees could not remain in effect after Dec. 31, 1990, if voters approve the June ballot measure.
But with the latest amendment, lawmakers said, trucking interests would probably be able to use the courts to prevent any fees from going into effect.
The bill, by Sen. William Campbell (R-Hacienda Heights), still must go back to the Senate for approval of the latest amendment.