Negotiators near agreement on long-delayed COVID-19 aid bill

From Transport Topics.

Top congressional leaders are closing in on an agreement on a long-delayed COVID-19 relief package, hoping to seal a deal as early as Dec. 16 that would extend aid to individuals and businesses and help ship coronavirus vaccines to millions.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a coauthor of a $908 billion bipartisan package, said leadership negotiators are nearing an agreement that would extend direct payments of $500-$600 to most Americans but would deny Democratic negotiators long-sought aid to state and local governments.

“We made major headway toward hammering out a bipartisan relief package,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky).

The negotiators are closing in on an agreement of around $900 billion, which would include a new round of stimulus checks, enhanced federal unemployment insurance benefits, and other avenues for delivering aid to states, localities, territories and tribes, according to two people familiar with the talks and authorized to characterize them. Their statement said that a GOP-sought provision shielding businesses from COVID-19-related lawsuits would be dropped.

See the complete article from Transport Topics online.

2021 UCR registration period begins Oct. 1

Registration for the 2021 UCR registration year will open October 1, 2020, at 8:00 a.m. EDT. Fees will remain the same as they are for 2020 and are currently listed on the UCR Website. Registration for the 2019 registration year (except for state audit purposes) will end September 30, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. ET

The UCR Act, established in 2005, requires motor carriers involved in interstate commerce, and other businesses subject to The Act, to submit annual fees based on fleet size to supplement funding for state highway motor carrier registration and safety programs.

More information on the UCR Agreement is available online.

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.

Save the Date: MTAC Annual Meeting Oct. 29

Save the date for the MTAC’s 2020 Annual Meeting, which will be held on Thursday, Oct. 29 at Maneeley’s in South Windsor. The meeting – which will have a different format than in recent years – will take place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Please plan to join us for a great evening of networking with fellow MTAC members. The event will feature a reception (cash bar), appetizers, dinner, and raffle prizes.

Sponsorship opportunities will be available for this event. MTAC’s allied members may be particularly interested in supporting the event with a sponsorship, because it is a great way to get recognized by your fellow MTAC members and expand your network. Contact the MTAC office if you are interested in a sponsorship.

Registration will be announced later this summer. In the meantime, mark your calendars for Oct. 29, and contact MTAC if you have any questions.

FMCSA extends, modifies HOS Emergency Declaration

From Transport Topics.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has extended and modified its emergency declaration for motor carriers that are providing direct assistance in support of coronavirus-related relief efforts.

The agency announced June 8 that the modified declaration will take effect June 15 and remain in place through July 14. This modification scales back some of the trucking operations that were covered under the earlier exemption, which previously was extended through June 14. The initial emergency declaration was issued March 13, and then expanded March 18.

Like its previous iterations, the declaration applies to all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It continues the exemption from Parts 390-399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which cover hours of service, parts and accessories needed for safe operation, and longer combination vehicles.

The modified emergency declaration allows regulatory relief for drivers providing direct assistance in support of emergency efforts related to the virus and is limited to transportation of:

  • Livestock and livestock feed.
  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
  • 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.

See the complete article from Transport Topics online.

Message from Fleet Screen to Drug and Alcohol Testing Program participants

Please be advised that members of MTAC’s drug and alcohol testing program, which is administered by Fleet Screen, will be receiving the following message. Contact MTAC or Fleet Screen if you have any questions.

Dear Valued Client,

First and foremost, we want to send our best wishes for the health and well-being of you, your loved ones and your employees.

Over the course of the past year, FleetScreen has experienced a tremendous benefit in becoming part of the DISA family of companies. DISA has made significant investments in our company to enhance your client experience, reduce turnaround times, and expand our service offerings.

We wanted to provide an update regarding our business as we navigate through these unprecedented times as we strive to provide transparency and give insight into our path forward.

Some of these improvements are less visible, while others will be more transparent. This includes an upcoming move to DISA’s AWSI platform this summer. This transition improves our ability to provide superior customer service and adapt to our industry’s changing needs. We know you will find this new platform an asset that exceeds the demands of your day-to-day business.

Please note that during this integration, your participation in MTAC’s drug and alcohol testing consortium will continue as usual. If you have any questions regarding this change, please contact us directly.

Additional information about training and your new system login will be coming soon. We are excited to work with you throughout this transition and are eager for the future of our organization. Online training for our new system will be offered both live via a webinar as well as an on-demand recorded version and one on one assistance will always be available with a Fleet Screen or AWSI team member. Expect to hear more from our client service team soon regarding all of the details.

Please know that our company remains determined to provide the very best services available, for fair and reasonable prices and with the utmost attention to detail for customer service.

Thank you for your loyalty and ongoing support. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact your FleetScreen team member in the Fort Worth office for assistance at (817) 332-0044.

Free lunch for truckers on I-95

From the New London Day.

Whelen Engineering Inc., in partnership with the Connecticut Motor Transport Association and the state Department of Transportation, provided free lunch and masks to truckers at the Interstate 95 south rest stop in North Stonington.

Food was served by the Norwich-based Rustic StrEats food truck.

Precautions to prevent fraud

From MTAC partner Acadia Insurance.

Disruption in the world has created significant opportunity for fraud in many unimaginable ways. We encourage you to take additional steps to make certain that actions you take in connection with sharing information and making payments to third parties do not result in unintended consequences. Spoofing and phishing emails, amongst other strategies by fraudsters, are even more prevalent in an environment where so many of us are working remotely. Please be careful and take the extra time to fully and completely validate any such interactions you may have with third parties, particularly prior to making payments. Please note that this is for general information purposes only, and nothing herein is intended to constitute legal advice or the provision of professional consulting services.

Although there are unfortunately many ways during the COVID-19 pandemic for fraud and criminal activities, there are few common means of being victimized electronically. Common means of cyber fraud committed against individuals and organizations are through phishing, spoofing, and ransomware attacks.

See the complete post from Acadia Insurance online.

Wilson Elser to host Coronavirus webinars

From MTAC partner Wilson Elser.

Wilson Elser is committed to keeping our clients informed of the insurance and broader business implications of the coronavirus outbreak. In addition to the information and insights available to you via the firm’s Coronavirus Resource Center, we are offering a series of webinars on related topics for which we have been receiving an especially large number of inquiries.

Topic – Employers – FAQs

Date: Thursday, April 2 at 1 p.m. ET

Join Lisa Ackerman, Bruno Katz, Celena Mayo and Yoora Pak as they provide answers to questions posed by employers who are navigating the current business environment made uncertain by the constantly changing state and federal regulations and laws.

Register online for the Employers – FAQs webinar.

Topic – Employment Law Update

Date: Monday, April 13 at 1 p.m. ET

Employment & Labor practice co-chairs Steve Joffe and Dean Rocco provide an update in state and federal employment laws.

Register online for the Employment Law Update webinar.

Visit the Wilson Elser coronavirus resource website for access to additional webinars.

Update: Overweight divisible load permits for transportation of emergency relief supplies

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) has clarified with MTAC the cost and duration of permits for overweight divisible load permits for the transportation of emergency relief supplies.

A monthly permit may be granted by ConnDOT for $100 per month. It is on a per-truck basis, as fleet permits are not available. This permit is based on a calendar month, i.e. the 1st through the 31st of the month. For applicants who are granted a monthly permit between now and the end of the month, ConnDOT will exclude the rest of this month in the fee calculation.

A single trip (including one-way or round trip) permit may also be granted for $35.

View MTAC’s original post about the new permit, including how to apply for it.