TRALA Fights Loading Zone Proposal at DC DOT Meeting

In a meeting today at the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT) headquarters, TRALA again questioned several aspects of the District's proposed Commercial Curbside Loading Zone regulation. This proposal would regulate the parking of commercial vehicles in loading zones and at metered curbside parking spaces in areas zoned as commercial or industrial, or at the usual delivery entrances of hotels, condominiums, or apartment buildings. The original proposed rulemaking, released about two years ago, would have required payment of fees for carriers to obtain an annual commercial parking permit based on the carrier's entire fleet size, rather than on the amount of vehicles a carrier reasonably expects to operate in the District. The revised rulemaking dials that plan back a bit, but still would require excessive payments of more than $24,000 per year for fleets with 75 or more trucks that want to purchase a commercial parking permit annual pass for their entire fleet (Click here to see a copy of the revised proposal.)

In addition to the revised rulemaking retaining the plan for excessive fees for both annual and day passes, the latest draft did next to nothing to address concerns raised by TRALA in its April 13, 2011 comment letter. (Clickhere to see the joint letter submitted by TRALA, the American Trucking Associations, Maryland Motor Truck Association, Virginia Trucking Association, and American Moving and Storage Association.)

In the proposed rulemaking, there are still no references to rented and leased vehicles, which represent about 20% of all commercial trucks in operation. The proposal also contains a provision which would allow a company who purchases 75 or more permits to use their company logo instead of the decal. In the April 13, 2011 comment letter, TRALA and its allies asked for elaboration on how the Department's approval is to be obtained or how enforcement personnel would know which carrier logos were authorized to be used instead of decals, but the revision did nothing to address that. At today's meeting, TRALA pointed out that a company who may have approval to use their logo to show proof of payment for the annual parking pass might be in a situation where they need to utilize rental trucks. In that case, the rental trucks would be marked with the rental company's logo, and would likely be ticketed for lack of credential display. A DDOT spokesman did not have any response to that hypothetical problem, other than to say that each truck "must have some form of identification," which basically means additional permits would have to be purchased.

TRALA still believes that the display requirements are a violation of federal statute (49 USC 14506) which preempts state and local requirements for interstate motor carriers to display any form of identification in or on a commercial motor vehicle, save for a few exceptions. Case law also suggests that the entire proposal is a violation of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, because of the nature of the unapportioned flat charges that discriminate against and burden interstate commerce.

TRALA plans to submit formal comments to DDOT by the March 10 deadline. For questions on this proposal, please contact TRALA's Joe Sculley at or at (703) 299-9120.