Trucks-only tolling back on table, top lawmakers say

From CT Post.

Unable to secure enough support to pass a plan for widespread tolling on the state’s major highways, top Democratic lawmakers and Gov. Ned Lamont are now discussing ideas they previously rejected: tolling trucks only and placing tolls on select bridges in need of repair.

“There has been discussion back and forth where the governor has indicated his support for a consensus compromise for transportation infrastructure that would include a more limited amount of tolling,” Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said Tuesday. “The concept is tolling on a certain number of bridges that have not been specified yet and possibly returning to an earlier version of his proposal of tolling on trucks only.”

Democrats’ goal is to devise a limited tolling proposal that will win some Republican votes, kick start transportation investment and pass legal muster.

Either proposal involving tolls or bridges would represent a significant retreat from Lamont’s proposal for numerous gantries on interstates 95, 91, 84 and the Merritt Parkway.

See complete article from CT Post online.

Economist Noel Perry warns of more shutdowns after LME padlocks doors

From Transport Topics.

One of the trucking industry’s leading economists says the abrupt shutdown of New Brighton, Minnesota-based carrier LME Inc. is an indication that trucking companies that are poorly run could be in deep trouble if the economy slows.

“There is no question industry conditions are not nearly as strong as they were a year ago,” Noel Perry of Transport Futures told Transport Topics. “If you’re a carrier that was barely breaking even a year ago, despite all of the wonderfulness we had a year ago, you’re in trouble now because industry conditions are tougher. Fleets that can’t make money have run out of time and money.”

Less-than-truckload carrier LME posted an updated notice on its website July 14 that said the employees who were unexpectedly laid off July 11 would not be getting paid soon.

See the complete article from Transport Topics online.

Senators aim for five-year highway bill before August recess

From Transport Topics.

The first version of what could become the country’s next major highway policy bill will be unveiled in the Senate prior to Congress’ recess in August, surface transportation policymakers announced July 10.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee intends to consider a five-year highway bill, kicking off reauthorization of the FAST Act, a five-year highway law that expires in October of next year.

Details regarding the upcoming legislation’s proposals have not been announced. The committee’s leadership also left funding questions about the legislation to the congressional tax-writing panels.

The funding authority for a highway account that is backed by dwindling revenue from the federal fuel tax is rolled into the massive highway bill.

“It is our shared goal to advance a bill out of committee this summer,” committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) told senior transportation officials from around the country at a hearing about the upcoming legislation. “Our roads and bridges are in need of a serious investment. … If we do not pass a long-term surface transportation bill, and instead pass a series of short-term extensions, we will undermine our states’ abilities to plan for these challenges.”

See the complete article from Transport Topics online.

MTAC selects Bouvier Insurance as agent for Acadia Insurance program

The Motor Transport Association of Connecticut (MTAC) is pleased to announce that they have selected Bouvier Insurance as the sponsoring agent for their dividend-paying Safety Group insurance program, which is run in conjunction with Acadia Insurance.

“We are thrilled to have a great new partner with Bouvier Insurance,” said MTAC President Joe Sculley. “They have a proven track record of successful association insurance programs with the CT Restaurant Association, National Coffee Association, and the PGA Preferred Golf Course insurance program,” he added.

Artemis Tsagaris, Regional Vice President & Branch Manager for Acadia in Connecticut, said “I too am pleased that Bouvier will be the sponsoring agent for the MTAC program. They are a great agent for Acadia and will do well as the sponsoring agent for MTAC and their members.”

Rob Bouvier, President of Bouvier Insurance, said “We look forward to working with Acadia and MTAC to grow the program and bring value to the MTAC membership.”

The Safety Group insurance program has paid back $654,000 in dividends directly to MTAC members since its inception. Most recently, more than $494,000 in dividends were paid out in the fall of 2018.

The Safety Group program – which is open to all Acadia agents – provides commercial property and casualty insurance to any eligible MTAC member. The program includes the following coverages: Property, General Liability, Auto, Workers’ Compensation, Cargo & Inland Marine.

Connecticut diesel fuel taxes climb second year in a row

From CT Mirror.

Truck drivers and other motorists who buy diesel fuel in Connecticut began paying an extra 2.6 cents per gallon this week — their second increase in two summers.

The Department of Revenue Services set the new rate on July 1 at 46.5 cents per gallon, up from 43.9 cents one year ago and from 41.7 cents in 2017.

The new rate is still down more than eight cents from 2013, when the diesel tax peaked at 54.9 cents per gallon.

Connecticut adjusts the diesel rate annually following a complicated formula enacted by the legislature in 2008. The principal factor used to calculate the new rate involves an analysis of wholesale prices for diesel fuel and regular gasoline during the prior 12 months.

The head of the state’s largest trucking association said the tax increase over the past two years is a concern.

“Right now the diesel tax is significantly higher than the (regular) per-gallon gasoline tax,” said Joe Sculley, president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut, which represents more than 800 trucking and trucking-related businesses. “Members have noticed that.”

See the complete article from CT Mirror online.

Gasoline taxes are on the rise — just not in Connecticut

From CT Mirror.

Connecticut motorists haven’t faced a gasoline tax increase in six years and only two in the past 12. …

“The gasoline tax simply does not provide the reliable revenue we need, period,” Lamont said when he made his first pitch for tolls back in February. “Gasoline tax revenues have been flat for 10 years and are expected to begin declining as cars become more efficient, and as the sales of electric vehicles increase.”

But Joe Sculley, president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut — the state’s largest trucking association — said Connecticut’s poor track record with fuel tax receipts explains why it isn’t following the example of other states when it comes to raising gas taxes or installing tolls.

Between 2006 and 2014, about $1.3 billion in receipts from Connecticut’s wholesale fuel tax was spent on non-transportation programs.

Voters approved an amendment to the state Constitution in 2018 creating a legal “lockbox” designed to ensure fuel tax receipts are not diverted for transportation, but Sculley said skeptics of this supposed safeguard are plentiful.

“In many other states, motor fuel taxes are specifically earmarked for roads and bridges,” Sculley said, adding that many people believe “we have no such guarantee in Connecticut.”

See the complete article from CT Mirror online.

White House likely to send USMCA trade deal to Congress after Sept. 1, sources say

From CNBC.

The White House plans to send its replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement to Congress after Sept. 1, setting up a vote by the end of the year, sources told CNBC.

The White House could submit the bill to Congress as soon as this week to start the approval process. House Democrats are meeting in working groups to hammer out issues with the existing agreement.

But the White House and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative disagree over how aggressive a strategy to pursue in getting the deal through Congress, a senior administration official and two senior GOP aides said.

President Donald Trump’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short want to pressure majority House Democrats with a deadline so they cannot run out the clock on ratifying the deal. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has suggested that giving Democrats more time to consider it.

Despite those differences, the White House and USTR agree the Trump administration could benefit from another month to sell the deal to members of Congress unsure about supporting it.

See the complete article from CNBC online.

In Waterford, I-395 Southbound closures July 19 – 29

The Connecticut Department of Transportation is announcing that activities related to The Rehabilitation of Bridge No. 00255, I-395 over Route 85 in the town of Waterford are expected to cause significant delays. The work is tentatively scheduled to occur during the following period: Friday, July 19 through Monday, July 29.

Motorists are advised to avoid the impacted area during the 10-day timeframe.

Lane Closures

I-395 Southbound at Exit 2

Closure and detour is scheduled to occur between 6:00 pm on Friday, July 19, 2019 and 6:00 pm on Monday, July 29, 2019. I-395 Southbound traffic will be detoured off mainline I-395 at Exit 2. Traffic will travel across Route 85 to Exit 2 on ramp and back onto I-395 Southbound.  The intersection will be signalized with police assistance.

I-395 Northbound will not be affected during this timeframe.

Be advised

  • Signs will be posted to help guide you.
  • Work will be occurring 24 hours a day throughout the closure period.
  • Route 85 traffic will also be significantly impacted but will remain open in both directions controlled by a traffic signal at I-395 SB Exit 2 off and on ramp. 

Maps of planned closures and detours

I-395 Southbound detour route at the bridge…

I-395 Southbound diversion route prior to construction site…

I-395 & Route 85 diversion routes…

 

 

Connecticut diesel tax increases July 1

Under Connecticut law, the per gallon diesel tax may be adjusted up or down effective July 1 of every year, depending on a couple of factors. This year, the rate will increase to 46.5 cents per gallon.

The state diesel tax rate is comprised of two components. One is a base rate of 29 cents per gallon. The second component is calculated annually and is based upon the average wholesale price per gallon of diesel fuel from the period of April 1 through March 30, plus the applicable gross receipts tax rate on petroleum products. The combination of these factors has resulted in the announcement by the Commissioner of Revenue Services that the per gallon diesel tax rate will increase by 2.6 cents per gallon, to 46.5 cents per gallon, effective July 1.

Brake Safety Week is Sept. 15-21

From CVSA.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Brake Safety Week is scheduled for Sept. 15-22. Throughout that week, enforcement officials will conduct roadside safety inspections on commercial motor vehicles throughout North America. Vehicles with critical brake violations, or other critical vehicle inspection item violations, will be restricted from traveling until those violations are corrected. Vehicles without critical vehicle inspection item violations are eligible to receive a CVSA decal indicating that the vehicle passed inspection.

During this year’s Brake Safety Week, inspectors will be paying special attention to brake hoses/tubing. While checking these brake system components is always part of the North American Standard Inspection Program, CVSA is highlighting brake hoses/tubing as a reminder of their importance to vehicle mechanical fitness and safety.

Routine brake system inspections and component replacement are vital to the safety of commercial motor vehicles. The brake systems on commercial motor vehicles are comprised of components that work together to slow and stop the vehicle and brake hoses/tubing are essential for the proper operation of those systems. Brake hoses/tubing must be properly attached, undamaged, without leaks and appropriately flexible. Brake hoses/tubing are an important part of the braking system so when they do fail, they can cause problems for the rest of the braking system.

See the complete release from CVSA online.