Judge Gives City the Gas to Put CNG-Powered Taxis at the Front of the Line at Love Field

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Back in March, you may recall, cab drivers at Love Field were none too pleased with the city council's decision to give compressed natural gas-powered taxis front-o'-the-line privileges at the airport. A month later, the Association of Taxicab Operators went to federal court to block the city from implanting the ordinance, and District Judge Ed Kinkeade issued a temporary restraining order.

But, for now at least, it's all over now, baby blue: Frank Librio at Dallas City Hall just sent word that Kinkeade has given the city the okee-doke to move ahead with giving CNG-powered taxis the top spots at Love Field. Says Mayor Tom Leppert, "This is an important step in our efforts to clean up our region's air. This is clearly critical from a health standpoint, helps us attract new companies to Dallas and reduces our nation's dependence on foreign oil." The full release follows.

Update: To clarify, Kinkeade denied the Association of Taxicab Operators' petition for a temporary injunction. Ultimately, he could still grant a permanent injunction after the trial.
Dallas cab drivers using compressed natural gas vehicles will soon be heading to the front of the taxi dispatch line at Love Field Airport

Dallas - Yesterday, United States District Judge Ed Kinkeade denied an attempt by the Association of Taxicab Operators to prevent the City from implementing this important clean air ordinance. The group had sought a preliminary injunction to stop the policy from taking effect.

"This is an important step in our efforts to clean up our region's air," said Mayor Tom Leppert. "This is clearly critical from a health standpoint, helps us attract new companies to Dallas and reduces our nation's dependence on foreign oil."

The ordinance, adopted last March, was designed to encourage the use of low-emission CNG vehicles to help Dallas fight air pollution and bring the City into line with federal clean air standards. It would allow the cleaner running CNG taxis to move to the front of the line to pick up passengers waiting at the airport.

The nine-county Dallas-Fort Worth ("DFW") region has been designated a nonattainment area with respect to the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") standards for ground-level ozone pursuant to the federal Clean Air Act. If the DFW region fails to come into compliance with the ground-level ozone standard as required by the Clean Air Act, the consequences may be severe, including the loss of federal highway funding and other funds. Moreover, the EPA has proposed to strengthen the ground-level ozone standard, making it even more difficult for the DFW region to come into compliance.

"This policy sends a strong signal that we're serious about the quality of our air," said Mayor Leppert.

Emissions from mobile sources, including motor vehicles, comprise approximately seventy-three percent (73%) of ozone-causing pollution in the DFW region. The City determined that providing incentives for low-emission vehicles was an important component of the City's efforts to help bring the DFW region into compliance.

The Court rejected arguments that the Ordinance created an emission standard that was pre-empted by federal law. In fact, the Court concluded that Congress intended that air pollution prevention and air pollution control are primary responsibilities of the States and local governments.

The City is now fine tuning the details to quickly roll out the policy at Love Field.

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