TRALA Fights Diesel Vehicle Prohibition in DC

TRALA and several of its allies are together fighting District of Columbia (DC) legislation that would effectively bar new diesel-powered commercial vehicles from entering DC after the year 2017. Section 211 of the "Sustainable DC Omnibus Act of 2013" would not allow diesel-powered commercial vehicles to be registered in DC unless the vehicle had previously been registered in DC, effective January 1, 2018. In theory, this prohibition, in combination with proposed tax credits for businesses that convert to alternative fueled vehicles would improve air quality in DC. However, due to the way the International Registration Plan (IRP) for heavy duty interstate commercial vehicles functions, as well as the trucking industry's compliance with federal mandates that have significantly reduced emissions, this proposed Act is both unnecessary and counterproductive. TRALA, American Trucking Associations (ATA), American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA), Maryland Motor Truck Association (MMTA), and Virginia Trucking Association (VTA) explain why in a joint letter to the DC Council Chairman.

The letter to Chairman Phil Mendelson explains that under the IRP, "a vehicle registered under the Plan is actually registered in and by each IRP member in which it is authorized to travel." So not only could a new diesel-powered commercial motor vehicle not be based in DC, it could not have DC on its IRP cab card even if it is based in another state. The only other option in lieu of having DC on the cab card, the letter explains, would be to purchase trip permits, but that is also considered official registration in DC. The result would be that no new diesel vehicles, after January 1, 2018 would be allowed to enter DC, even if they were just passing through on one of the busiest interstates in the nation and not stopping to do business. Interestingly, older diesel vehicles would still be allowed to operate in DC. The letter also points out that many new diesel-powered trucks are equipped with advanced safety technologies such as anti-rollover and stability control systems, lane-departure warning systems, and collision avoidance systems. Legislation that would prevent trucks equipped with these technologies from operating in DC, but would still allow older trucks to operate in DC, will adversely impact safety in the city.

There are a number of other problems with the legislation which are discussed in great detail in the joint letter, which can be seen here. For questions, contact TRALA's Joe Sculley at or by calling (703)299-9120.
For questions, contact TRALA's Joe Sculley at or by calling (703) 299-9120.