Port of L.A. Pays to Clean Up Trucks That Don't Use Port of L.A.


Awful nice of them, one supposes, but perhaps not the wisest use of local public money. Details from the Los Angeles Business Journal:

The plan began in 2008 when, under pressure from environmentalists to improve air quality, the port created the Clean Trucks Program requiring all trucking companies doing business there to aggressively reduce big rig emissions. The old fume-spewing diesel trucks were replaced with cleaner burning models, such as those fueled by clean diesel or liquefied natural gas.

Fearing there wouldn't be enough low-emission trucks to go around, port officials went a step further. They committed $44 million in public funds as a financial incentive for truck companies to upgrade their vehicles, each of which can cost $150,000.

Specifically, each company participating in the program was given $20,000 for each low-emissions truck it bought. Each of those trucks was committed to make at least 300 pickups or deliveries annually at the Port of Los Angeles over the next five years. (The nearby Port of Long Beach also has a Clean Trucks Program, which is separately managed and has a different incentive program.) All told, officials say, about 100 companies were given subsidies for some 2,100 trucks.

With the end of the program's first year looming, however, it appears that the companies' promised goals are far from being met. To date, officials say, only about a third of those given money are expected to deliver on their promise of 300 port trips by the fiscal year's June 30 end.

"What that means is that about 70 percent will not make the required number of trips the first year even though they've signed a contract," [the port's director of operations John] Holmes said.

Rather than demanding any of the public money back, which the port could try to do, they are going to finagle with the terms of the agreement to let the recession-hit shipping companies off the hook, the story goes on to say. And a predictable detail from a planet called Earth where government subsidies and regulations have a tendency to hobble the small rather than the large: "Small truck companies have long complained the program favors big truck companies because Los Angeles requires that truck drivers be employees, not independent owner-operators."

NEXT: Obama Is Not Beholden to Big Corporations. He Is Beholden to the Executives of Big Corporations.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. God made deep-water ports in Long Beach and Port Hueneme just to fuck with Los Angeles.

  2. Oh wow, OK that makes a lot of sense. LOL


  3. . They committed $44 million in public funds as a financial incentive for truck companies to upgrade their vehicles, each of which can cost $150,000.

    But it is a bargain! Now that the environmentalist successfully got everything that they ever wanted, they will just politely go away.

    1. Those trucks leaving the Port of LA only drive to Vernon where the cargo it is put on rails or to the Inland Empire where it is broken up and sent on its way with other carriers.

      There is a big Plexiglas dome covering Los Angeles that only certain smart people see.

  4. California is a petri dish for if you have enough planners, bureaucrats and union bosses “working” together; any hair-brained scheme can become a reality.

  5. A California earthquake would break a lot of windows. They could use the “stimulus”.

  6. So what, exactly, is the stupidity here? That the PoLA should worry about air pollution in the LA area from trucks? That if they mandate some expensive change, they offset some of the cost with taxpayer money, inasmuch as it’ll be the local taxpayers more than the truck’s customers who get the benefit of cleaner air? Or are you just making fun of them because they couldn’t predict the future and decided to be flexible about things instead of just mindlessly insisting on their contract and sending a few $million down lawyer ratholes?

    If this were some canonical “green jobs” quack science boondoggle, I’d be the first to heap scorn on it. But only a moron doesn’t realize LA does have a problem with diesel exhaust, which is really really nasty stuff to breathe in, and there is obviously a collective-action problem with cleaning it up — so this is one of those odd cases where local government action actually makes perfect sense — and that, on pure justice grounds, it’s not a bad idea at all to shift some of the cost of cleaning up the air in Los Angeles from the shipping companies’ customers (presumably spread all over the country) to LA taxpayers.

    If you can’t think of anything reasonable to write, Doherty, go pull a standard Reason broadside against the “War on Drugs” off the shelf instead of embarassing yourself like this.

    1. $44 milllion buys you a lot of asthma inhalers.

    2. Fail.

    3. Well, Car, even granting that the goal is laudable, this program has all the earmarks of local boondoggling:

      (1) Corporate favoritism, as taxpayer funds are being channeled to the big operators.

      (2) Lowering standards. Hey, so the recipients of taxpayer largesse haven’t done what they said they would do. Whatever. We’ll let ’em keep the money.

      (3) Necessity. The article says that the taxpayers paid for $20,000 out of each $150,000 truck. That’s around, what, 15%? Are we supposed to believe that these bog operators wouldn’t have made the changes without a 15% subsidy? Really?

  7. “…Los Angeles requires that truck drivers be employees [and most likely union members whose wages are tithed and given the the Democratic Party], not independent owner-operators.”

  8. Los Angeles requires that truck drivers be employees, not independent owner-operators.

    WTF? Really.

    For some reason this is the only bit that made my blood boil.

  9. Los Angeles requires that truck drivers be employees, not independent owner-operators.

    I agree with robc.

    Why does Los Angeles America hate entrepreneurs?

    1. Because they don’t vote for democrats.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.