Port fee bill is sidelined for now

first_img“Our ports are an integral component of goods movement in and out of California,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement. “I support the concept of SB 974 and want to work together with Sen. Lowenthal on the bill so it addresses the future of goods movement while also reducing environmental impacts.” Environmental groups, including the Coalition for Clean Air, said they plan to continue watching the bill’s progress and hope it doesn’t stray from Lowenthal’s original intentions. “This is the first time the governor has expressed support for this bill, and that’s huge, but we remain cautiously optimistic because a lot can happen between now and January,” said Rafael Pizarro, senior campaign associate for the Coalition for Clean Air. “We’re going to make sure the environmental groups that have brought the bill this far stay engaged and make this a reality,” he said. “We really can’t afford to let another year go by without some sort of relief for our air.” The bill appeared to be in jeopardy last week, when Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa refused to support the measure unless it was amended to include funds to replace the Gerald Desmond and Commodore Schuyler F. Heim bridges, which serve the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Villaraigosa’s plan was not mentioned by Schwarzenegger, according to Lowenthal. “I just want to see this bill signed,” Lowenthal said. “I’ve worked so hard to make sure we have a steady stream of funds to reduce air emissions related to goods movement.” [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! CONTAINERS: The governor says that he’ll support the legislation with some changes. By Art Marroquin STAFF WRITER State legislation that would have placed a $60 fee on 40-foot containers passing through the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland was shelved Wednesday but gained tentative support from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Senate Bill 974, carried by Sen. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, called for raising $394 million annually for projects aimed at reducing air pollution, railroad improvements and grade separation. “I met with the governor for about a half-hour yesterday, and he asked me to hold the bill until January so we could work on some specific items he was concerned about,” Lowenthal said, declining to go into specifics. “He said he supports the concept of the bill, which is a tremendous step forward,” Lowenthal said. “He just wants to make sure it passes without any threats of litigation holding it up.” A similar bill was approved by the state Legislature last year but was vetoed by Schwarzenegger. The state Senate approved the revived measure in June, and the Assembly was scheduled to take up the matter this week. last_img read more