I don't have anything against trucks, per se, ... but as for the guy that drove his 18 wheeler into my car today, without leaving a note (though a conscientious by-stander did, complete with description, the name of the trucking company - FDR Trucking - licence plate number and truck#) ... that's another story. Nice!
Surprisingly, the subject of trucks has been on my mind, and I was thinking, couldn't Red Hook's Container Port do with a "clean truck program"? Such a plan is being instigated (despite some resitance) in the port of Los Angeles as part of that city's Clean Air Action Plan which aims to reduce port-related emissions at least 45 percent by the year 2012, cutting pollution from trains, ships, trucks and equipment used to move cargo. The Los Angeles truck plan has 5 elements, as explained by Arlene M. Roberts in the article, "Clean Trucks and Green Collar Jobs".
- "Dirty trucks" are not allowed. All pre-1989 trucks are banned. By the year 2012, all trucks must meet 2007 level standards or will be prohibited from entering the port.
- Environmental Cargo Fee was introduced -- $35 per container -- generating about $40,000 annually in revenues. The only exemptions allowed are post-2007 diesel trucks or trucks that utilize alternative fuel.
- Implemented Transportation Worker Identification Card as a matter of national security, even in advance of the federal government's schedule.
- Installed "concession program" which allowed the port and trucking company to transition into an employee-based program.
- Self-financing scheme was established wherein the fund cleans trucks in the port. The port will pay up to 80 percent of the cost of a new, environmentally friendly truck, but owners must also turn in old trucks so that they are not reintroduced elsewhere.
When they earn higher wages and benefits, port truck drivers can contribute more to their local economies while performing the necessary maintenance on their vehicles to keep their surrounding communities healthy and free of hazardous emissions."
In the piece, the authors further state,
"[the current] structure of the trucking industry passes off huge labor and environmental costs to the rest of us. Ordinary citizens are paying for the environmental effects of diesel emissions, for the health care of drivers and their families who can't afford insurance and for the congestion on freight routes that often run through residential neighborhoods"
I think we know a bit about that in Red Hook.
Wouldn't it be a good result to have a plan that promotes less pollution and better quality jobs? That's the kind of "2-fer" I like.
Maybe the plan could insist on a few driving lessons as well!