160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles last week gave the go-ahead to a plan to force owners of high-polluting diesel trucks to clean up their exhaust. The cost: about a penny an iPod. We like the sound of that. Also, the program will get run without sending the money first to Sacramento, where it might never be seen again. Harbor commissioners in Long Beach and Los Angeles approved a $35 fee for every 20-foot container ($70 for the more common 40-footers) coming or going through the ports. Details are yet to be worked out, but generally the tens of millions in revenue will be used to help retrofit or replace dirty old diesel trucks that haul the containers. Such a program makes sense in order to make certain that the ports eventually comply with 2007 federal emission standards. Placing the full burden of retrofitting high-polluting trucks on the drivers who make sub-par wages would have been a recipe for failure. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champOne way to accomplish the goals of the ports’ clean air plans would be to lend money, or better yet guarantee loans at low interest rates to owners of trucks who otherwise couldn’t afford cleaner engines. Trucks upgraded with port assistance could be fitted with GPS homing devices to make sure they actually got used as intended. Beginning in October, no trucks built before 1989 will be allowed on port property, and gradually the standards will be raised until by 2012, only trucks meeting the highest clean-air standards will be permitted. At that point, the container fee would be phased out. There are other important needs, such as grade crossings to make it possible for trains, rather than trucks, to provide regional service. The state must do its fair share to fund those improvements, given the importance of the ports to the state’s overall economy. Does this mean Sen. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, can proclaim success and drop his prolonged efforts to impose a container fee by state law? He’s withholding judgment for the moment, but he said this week that he is excited by the ports’ progress, and the new container fee is “wonderful.” Yes, it is.