State operators will be gathering information and support in coming weeks to counter proposed environmental rules that could potentially restrict access for large luxury vehicles at SFO and other state airports.
LOS ANGELES — A struggle over strict environmental regulations proposed by the San Francisco International Airport could well determine future levels of access for luxury chauffeured vehicles at airports statewide.
The issue has emerged as the central challenge to the GREATER CALIFORNIA LIVERY ASSOCIATION this year as it seeks to better inform pending decisions on the greener ground transportation rules by airport and state authorities.
What happens at SFO would likely set the standard at 25 state airports, including the 10 largest, that are represented by the CALIFORNIA AIRPORTS COUNCIL, GCLA President Mark Stewart told operators at a membership meeting Tuesday night in Los Angeles.
“Basically, we’d be penalized for bringing all of our vehicles into the airport,” Stewart said. “The airports have designed something we can’t adhere to.”
A California Public Utilities Commission administrative opinion a few months ago determined that SFO’s proposed rules were outside of its jurisdiction and that airport bureaucrats had overstepped their bounds. But Stewart warned Tuesday that SFO officials question the PUC decision and may try to circumvent it through a legislative measure, which of course, the GCLA would try to stop.
LCT ARTICLE ON PUC DECISION ON AIRPORT LIMO GREEN POLICIES
Under a “smart rating scale” proposed under the SFO rules, the only two so-called chauffeured vehicles that as of today would evenly qualify in terms of gas mileage and carbon emissions are the Honda Accord and Hyundai Sonata, said Alan Shanedling, former GCLA president, who spoke from the audience. Such medium-sized vehicle obviously would be unacceptable to the chauffeured clientele that pays for the quality and convenience of being picked up in larger black vehicles. A 2011 Lincoln Town Car Executive L would not qualify as green enough.
Vehicles that don’t meet SFO’s proposed standards would face triple the access fees to pick-up or drop-off at the airport, Shanedling said.
So far, most auto manufacturers have not developed large, black luxury vehicles that would meet SFO green standards while being affordable and/or profitable to most operators.
The GCLA has formed a committee that will spend the next several weeks researching future vehicle options with vehicle manufacturers and getting input from operators statewide on more specifics about green vehicles and their feasibility. The association plans to formulate a proper response to SFO’s proposal rules by mid March, Stewart said.
Background: LCT ARTICLE ON GCLA TOWN HALL MEETING
— Martin Romjue, LCT editor