Los Angeles port OKs truck cargo fee

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The Los Angeles Harbor Commission voted on Thursday, Dec. 20, to charge a fee on cargo containers moving through the Port of Los Angeles, part of a plan to reduce air pollution by replacing thousands of older trucks with cleaner-burning models. The panel voted to charge a $35 fee for every loaded container beginning June 1.

“This container fee is a fundamental step to ensuring we have the momentum and money to make the most aggressive plan to green the Ports’ truck fleet a reality,” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says. “With the financial groundwork laid, it’s now time to push forward on the rest.”

On Monday, Dec. 17, the Long Beach Harbor Commission approved a similar plan to charge fees on cargo containers moving through the Port of Long Beach. Cargo container fees from both ports are expected to generate about $1.6 billion to help pay to replace nearly 17,000 older-model trucks with ones that spew fewer harmful emissions.

The ports’ growth has raised concerns over the impact that pollution from trucks, ships and other vehicles at the ports is having on surrounding communities. The two ports combined account for more than 40 percent of all containerized cargo entering the United States annually.

The commission approved a plan last month to require that thousands of trucks hauling cargo to the port be replaced or upgraded to meet 2007 emissions standards by 2012. The plan forecasts an 80 percent reduction in air pollution from port trucks in the next five years.