GCLA Juggles Multiple Conflicts Over Rules At Major Airports

Posted on September 20, 2012

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COSTA MESA, Calif. — Members of the Greater California Livery Association heard a thorough update Wednesday evening on the group’s efforts to improve the regulatory climates for limousines at the state’s major airports.

GCLA consultant Paul Haney, a managing partner at the Englander, Knabe & Allen government relations and strategic communications firm in Los Angeles, updated progress and challenges at San Francisco International Airport, San Diego International Airport, and Los Angeles International Airport. The GCLA is responding to initiatives underway at California airports that could have a profound impact on the livery industry.

The updates are drawn from Haney’s prepared remarks Wednesday evening during the GCLA Vehicle Expo in Costa Mesa:

“Our first major challenge came in 2010, when San Francisco International Airport sought to implement a Clean Limousine Requirements Policy. It would have had a devastating impact on the livery industry in the Bay Area. It is not an exaggeration to say that the SFO policy would have virtually eliminated the ability of GCLA’s constituency to serve the airport.

“We successfully challenged the policy by focusing SFO’s management on three key areas of their proposed regulations that would have harmed not only our industry but, frankly, also the airport itself and the airlines serving it.  

“We reminded them that the California livery industry is already sufficiently regulated by the state of California.  As you know, our state has the most aggressive motor vehicle emission and mileage standards placed on Original Equipment Manufacturers in the nation. As such, all vehicles purchased by California limousine operators already comply with the California standards applicable to OEMs.

“Secondly, we pointed out that the EPA SmartWay Green Vehicle Program — which SFO sought to use to determine which vehicles could access the airport — was a voluntary guide for retail, private consumers. It was never intended to be the basis for a local airport program regulating commercial businesses such as ours. We were convincing in our argument that it made no sense to take federal test procedure scores for light duty vehicles and apply them to the medium and heavy duty passenger vehicles used by the livery industry.

“Finally, SFO’s proposed policy contained an unrealistic and unattainable implementation schedule. There simply were and are no available vehicles that meet both the performance requirements of the then-proposed SFO policy and the very specific demands of our industry’s clientele.

"We made a compelling case and, thankfully, we were successful i getting the policy set aside — at least for now.  We must remain vigilant to future attempts to impose onerous and costly regulations on our industry at SFO or other airports in the state.”

"In San Diego County, where the GCLA represents more than 300 charter vehicle companies, the Airport Authority is pressing to implement a so-called Ground Transportation Vehicle Conversion Incentive-Based Program. The GCLA is pushing back. We want the program as it relates to the livery industry suspended while the California PUC conducts a review of the program. General Emory Hagan, the new director of the PUC’s Consumer Protection and Safety Division, agreed to conduct a 120-day review of the San Diego program in response to a direct appeal from the GCLA.

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