Voice: Worrying about new regulation

My family’s small trucking company, Calexico Freight Lines, has been in business since 1970. Through hard work and fortunate business opportunities, we have been hauling goods for our customers, including the world’s leading baked goods supplier, throughout California, Arizona and Mexico.

But today’s record high diesel prices and unstable economy forced us to add a fuel surcharge to our rates, as many trucking companies have had to do. Since then, we have lost over half of our business to a trucking company based in Mexico.

Until our recent fiscal woes, our company had grown to the point where we had 31 employees and a fleet of 23 trucks. Recently, I was forced to let go of 24 of my valued employees, some whom had worked with us for more than nine years, and now I must sell 13 trucks just to stay afloat.

Yet even worse financial struggles may still lie ahead. The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has proposed new diesel emissions regulations that may further cripple my business and many others like mine.

This new regulation would require that every diesel truck or bus operating in California meet a stringent new emissions standard. It would require every diesel truck and bus operating in California to be replaced or retrofitted over the next five to seven years, at a cost of over $5 billion.

While I am uncertain of the exact costs my company would have to endure in order to meet these new standards, I am certain we cannot afford these extra expenditures to replace or retrofit our already struggling fleet. We cannot even apply for state bond funds because we haul out of state.

It is clear that this new proposed regulation will have a devastating affect on small businesses in California, especially those that must compete with out-of-state companies.

The effects of this regulation would also spill over into our homes. High fuel costs have already raised prices in the supermarket. This new regulation would add to transportation costs, making household products even less affordable.

As general manager/director of a small business and as a concerned citizen, I fear that this new regulation does not take into account the financial impacts on households, employees and small businesses like my family’s trucking company. Our wallets have already taken hard hits. This may be the final blow.

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