Port funds could be diverted

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Aug. 22, 2008 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Money collected in Los Angeles County to clean up its polluted ports would be shared with the Central Valley under a proposal by the Schwarzenegger Administration that is drawing opposition from Southern California leaders.  SB 974 (Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach) would charge shippers about $60 a container in the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland.  Sponsors intended to use the money in areas close to those cities' ports to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution. But after the bill passed both legislative houses, the Administration proposed last-minute changes that would funnel some of the money to a statewide transportation fund and the Air Resources Board, which could use it in areas such as the Central Valley.

Lowenthal has vowed to fight the changes even if it means risking a veto by putting the bill, as passed, on the governor's desk.  However, Central Valley leaders have argued that their citizens will be helping to subsidize the mitigation efforts through higher priced products with no apparent benefits to their regions.  Furthermore, they’ve noted that pollution doesn't stop at the port; that most of the port trucks are loaded and driven through the San Joaquin Valley.

Although the Governor’s office has not commented on what he’ll do if the changes aren’t in the bill when it gets to his desk, his office has made it clear that they’ve worked with the Senator over a year on the bill.

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