Connecticut DMV and FMCSA announcements on credential extensions

The Connecticut DMV has published a document which clarifies the timelines of their recent actions regarding extended credentials (CDLs, IRP registrations, non-IRP registrations, etc). Rather than having extensions that are valid for 90 days or 180 days, the new document provides dates for all credentials covered by their extensions. Specifically:

  • Credentials that expired between March 1, 2020 and May 31, 2020 remain valid until Nov. 30, 2020.
  • Credentials that expired between June 1, 2020 and Nov. 30, 2020 remain valid until Dec. 31, 2020.

A copy of this DMV announcement is available here.

Members should act to renew these extended credentials as soon as they can. Appointments to go to DMV to conduct transactions for non-IRP registrations, and other credentials, can be made online at Connecticut’s DMV web portal. To make an appointment to go to DMV and complete IRP transactions (Add/Delete a Vehicle; Change Carrier; Weight Increase; Return Plate), call the IRP unit directly at (860) 263-5281.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has also provided extensions to medical card expirations.

  • If a medical card was valid and expired between March 1, 2020 and May 31, 2020, it remains valid until Oct. 31, 2020.
  • If a medical card was valid and expired on or after June 1, 2020, it remains valid until Dec. 31, 2020.

A copy of this announcement from FMCSA is available online.

MTAC urges members who are still able, to have a physical completed by a Certified Medical Examiner (CME). Drivers should not let their medical cards expire solely because of this waiver. This waiver is meant for drivers who are truly unable to get an appointment with a CME. Members can use this FMCSA website to search for CMEs in Connecticut who are qualified to perform the physical examinations. Additionally, once the driver has obtained medical certification, the medical cards (short form) must be submitted to Connecticut DMV using this website.

Expect a ‘checkmark’ recovery, says economic expert

From Fleet Owner.

“By ending the lockdown, I think we did the right thing and we got the economy growing again,” said Dr. Jeffrey Rosensweig, director of the John Robson Program in Business, Public Policy & Government at Goizueta Business School of Emory University.

Rosensweig, provided insights on economic trends affecting the heavy-duty commercial vehicle manufacturing market during “A Global Economic Outlook” presentation at the Heavy Duty Dialogue 2020 virtual fall meeting this week.

In March and April this year, lockdowns initiated at the state and federal levels in response to the COVID-19 pandemic created a significant slowdown in the economy. Since states began reopening in late April, economic activity started to increase, but at a slower pace than the sharp decline seen in the second quarter. Instead of the common “V” shaped economy swings, the decline and subsequent recovery pattern is more like that of a checkmark, or “Nike swoosh” design, noted Rosensweig.

See the complete article from Fleet Owner online.

Compliance Alert: Issues with extended vehicle registrations

MTAC members are aware that the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has issued three separate extensions of expiring credentials, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This message is to emphasize that these extensions are separate from each other. They are:

  • A 180 day extension for credentials that expired between March 10, 2020 and June 30, 2020.
  • A 90 day extension for credentials that expired between July 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020.
  • A 90 day extension for credentials expiring between August 1 and September 30.

Registrations that were extended in the first window were NOT then extended again by one of the subsequent extensions. For example, if a truck registration expired on March 15, the new expiration date was 180 days from that point (September 11, 2020). It was NOT then extended another 90 days because the new date fell between August 1 and September 30.

There is growing concern that carriers are all waiting until the absolute end of applicable extensions to complete the renewal process. To that point, MTAC was informed that during the first full week when DMV made appointments available for carriers to go to DMV to complete IRP transactions, there were only two appointments made.

MTAC wishes to respectfully reiterate a message we have been sharing consistently for a few months: Do not wait! Registrations that are renewed after the expiration date of any applicable extension may face late fees. Additionally, carriers probably would not want to go through a weigh station, or be pulled over for a roadside inspection, while operating on a registration that is expired after having received an extension.

Finally, as a friendly reminder, MTAC members should be aware that they will not be able to make any changes to their fleet (for example, vehicle additions) until they have paid for the registrations of the vehicles that had their registrations extended.

To make an appointment to go to DMV and complete IRP transactions (Add/Delete a Vehicle; Change Carrier; Weight Increase; Return Plate), call the IRP unit directly at (860) 263-5281.

Appointments to go to DMV to conduct transactions for non-IRP registrations, and other credentials, can be made online at Connecticut’s DMV web portal.

US Treasury’s Main Street Lending Program

The U.S. Department of Commerce has invited MTAC members to participate on a conference call to learn about the US Treasury’s Main Street Lending Program. The call is on Monday, Sept. 21 at 2 p.m. ET. See information below on how to register for the call, so you can determine if your business is eligible for the program.

CARE Act Main Street Lending Program

US Government COVID Funding For the Trucking, Transport, Logistics and Warehousing Sector Companies
Critical New Information on Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
Monday, Sept. 21 at 2 p.m. ET

Join the US Department of Commerce, the Federal Reserve, and the Small Business Administration (SBA) for an update on the new Main Street Lending Program. This program will provide credit support to eligible small and medium-sized businesses that are integral to the U.S. economy and create jobs for a large share of the U.S. workforce, particularly in the trucking, transport, logistics and warehousing sector companies.

Using established lenders, Main Street will offer several types of five year term loans supported by the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department, ranging in size from $250,000 to $300 million. In addition, the SBA will give an update on the PPP.

Registration is free. You must register to join the call.

Work with TAT to put the brakes on human trafficking

As COVID-19 has increased vulnerabilities among at-risk population groups, we wanted to make you aware of some great resources TAT has available for your organization in its ongoing efforts to combat human trafficking. Please help us get the word out!

Freedom Drivers Project Virtual Tour

Experience the incredible imagery and the powerful truth TAT’s Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) conveys about human trafficking any time, any place, via your phone, tablet or computer. The FDP is a dynamic, visual tool demonstrating both the reality and devastation of trafficking through facts and survivor artifacts, as well as the critical role the transportation and energy industries are playing in combating this crime. To further enhance the experience, schedule TAT staff to host a webinar along with the tour. We can work with you to create a memorable and impactful training event. Here’s a preview of our new virtual tour.

Interested? Contact TAT to schedule your tour today!

Trucking and Truck Stop Toolkits

From factual information on the crime of human trafficking, to helpful guidance in creating policies and protocols at your workplace, as well as a step-by-step training implementation guide, TAT’s new toolkits for the trucking and truck stop industries, are an essential resource in equipping your company to combat human trafficking.

View more material from Truckers Against Trafficking online.

FMCSA Update: Modified/Expanded COVID-19 Emergency Declaration

Via American Trucking Associations (ATA)

FMCSA extended – and modified – the emergency declaration that was set to expire on Aug. 14. The modified declaration provides regulatory relief for motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in support of relief efforts related to COVID-19, and has been expanded to included emergency restocking of distribution centers and stores.

Specifically, the declaration is limited to the transportation of:

  1. Livestock and livestock feed;
  2. Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19;
  3. Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants, and;
  4. Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.

Please note, this modified declaration is not effective until 12:01 a.m. ET Aug. 15, and expires on at 11:59 p.m. ET on Sept. 14, 2020.

Under this declaration, emergency regulatory relief is provided from parts 390 through 399 of the FMCSRs, including the hours-of-service regulations. Emergency relief does not include certain FMCSR’s related to the safe operation of CMVs, such as controlled substance and alcohol testing, financial responsibility requirements, CDL requirements, operation of a CMV while ill or fatigued, size and weight requirements, and additional FMCSR’s which are outlined in the declaration.

We encourage everyone to review the applicability, restrictions, and limitations which are included in the exemption posted to the FMCSA’s website.

Mnuchin pushes for limited stimulus as stalemate persists

From Bloomberg News via Transport Topics.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin renewed a push for a more limited next-round U.S. pandemic relief package of “a little more than $1 trillion” on Aug. 12, saying that Democratic demands for spending more could be discussed down the road.

“We can always come back later in the year or January and do a sixth bill,” Mnuchin said on Fox Business Network. “We don’t have to do everything at once.”

With no plans announced for any further negotiations, Mnuchin said “I can’t speculate” about prospects for a deal between the Trump administration and Democrats led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“If the Democrats are willing to be reasonable, there’s a compromise,” Mnuchin said. “If the Democrats want to focus on politics and don’t want to do anything that’s going to succeed for the president, there won’t be a deal.”

See the complete article from Bloomberg News via Transport Topics online.

TSA approves 90-day HME exemption

TSA has announced that they have approved an extension of the HME Exemption that allowed states to issue an extension of up to 180 days for HMEs expiring between March 1, 2020 – July 31, 2020. The 90-day extension makes the new exemption period for HMEs that would otherwise expire between March 1, 2020 – October 29, 2020.

Members may be interested in this Frequently Asked Questions page from TSA that was published as part of the initial HME exemption.

Per an announcement from TSA earlier this year, if a state grants an extension, the individual with an expired HME must initiate the process of renewing his or her STA for an HME no later than 60 days before the end of the State-granted extension.

Drivers operating on an extended (expired) HME should not wait to begin the renewal process if they don’t have to. CT DMV has produced a helpful document regarding the HME renewal process.

Fed sees dim economic outlook as virus squeezes economy

From Associated Press via Transport Topics.

The Federal Reserve expressed concern July 29 that the viral outbreak will act as a drag on the economy and hiring in the coming months and said it plans to keep its benchmark short-term interest rate pegged near zero.

In a statement at the end of its policymaking meeting July 29, the Fed acknowledged that the economy has rebounded from the depths of March and April, when nearly all states closed down nonessential businesses. But it said the ongoing coronavirus pandemic “will weigh heavily on economic activity, employment and inflation.”

The Fed announced no new policies in its statement. It said it also will continue to buy about $120 billion in Treasury and mortgage bonds each month, which are intended to inject cash into financial markets and spur borrowing and spending.

See the complete article from the Associated Press via Transport Topics online.

Connecticut Resources

Connecticut’s coffers have swelled — not shrunk — during COVID

From CT Mirror.

State government’s coffers have swelled by hundreds of millions of dollars since the coronavirus struck in mid-March, despite warnings of a nearly $1 billion deficit just three months ago.

Connecticut’s rainy day fund, which stood at $2.5 billion when the pandemic struck, now approaches $2.8 billion, according to an ongoing review of thousands of state tax returns filed after July 15.

And while the legislature’s Office of Fiscal Analysis still expects Connecticut to exhaust most reserves over the next 11 months, they now project the state will maintain a modest, $250 million cushion one year from now.

That’s a far cry from two months ago, when Gov. Ned Lamont warned Connecticut might be broke by mid-2021 and potentially saddled with $500 million in operating debt. The governor hoped to avoid this debt by seeking concessions from labor unions, who declined, noting they provided givebacks in 2009, 2011 and 2017.

How has state government gotten richer since the pandemic began?

See the complete article from CT Mirror online.