Connecticut’s road to truck tolls goes through Rhode Island

From CT Post.

Rhode Island’s early success with electronic truck tolls on several highways may offer a road map for Governor-elect Ned Lamont’s plan to generate revenue in Connecticut.

Since two toll gantries were installed over a section of I-95 in June, Rhode Island has exceeded revenue projections, bringing in $1.9 million in the first quarter from big rigs — almost $87,000 more than expected.

The state plans to eventually place12 overhead toll gantries on six highway corridors to generate $450 million over 10 years. The gantries use overhead cameras to read license plates and send bills to the registered owner.

Democratic leaders who hold a majority in the Connecticut House and Senate said they are open to Lamont’s campaign pledge to install truck tolls on the state’s highways and major routes.

The new Democratic governor predicted truck tolls could generate a $100 million a year for road, rail and bridge repairs.

“I’m sure he will introduce [truck tolls] and I will support that,” said Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven. “If the governor wants to begin with that as an incremental step, I would support that.”

Read the article from CT Post online.

Joe Sculley Interview on Lee Elci Show

On Monday, Nov. 11, MTAC President Joe Sculley was a guest on the Lee Elci Show. They discussed infrastructure, tolls, taxes and fees paid by the trucking industry, the prospect of a mileage tax, and how road tax money is spent, among other things.

An archived version of the interview can be found below. Joe Sculley’s segment begins at the 1:29:55 mark.

First grants awarded under Connecticut diesel emissions mitigation program

Message from CT DEEP.

On November 14, 2018, Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced that the State of Connecticut is making available $12.2 million dollars from the Volkswagen (VW) settlement to fund ten clean air projects in the state. Connecticut is one of the first states in the nation to make these funds available for a variety of diesel mitigation projects.

DEEP received 56 grant applications requesting over $32 million of funding to reduce diesel emissions under this program with total investments exceeding $77 million.  Notifications of award status were sent to all applicants by email and postal mail.

A list of all applicants for this funding round, summaries of each awarded project and other relevant documentation is available in the Administrative Archive at www.ct.gov/deep/vw.

DEEP will begin the design process for the next round of funding with a goal to announce a new round in 2019.  Program requirements and forms for any subsequent round of funding may differ from the first round.

Note from MTAC: Congratulations to MTAC members Bozzuto’s, Eder Brothers, H.I. Stone & Son, John DeGrand & Son, and USA Hauling & Recycling for receiving grant funds. Be on the lookout for future alerts, as this program will continue.

Connecticut Resources

Surging tax receipts dramatically shrink hole in next Connecticut budget

From CT Mirror.

State tax revenue projections surged again Tuesday, shrinking the projected shortfall in the upcoming two-year budget — and leaving Connecticut with nearly $2.1 billion in reserves to combat the deficit.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget staff and the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis upgraded revenue projections for the upcoming biennium by $880 million.

The latest consensus revenue report also found tax receipts for the current fiscal year should approach $16 billion — $87 million more than anticipated.

Even with Tuesday’s good news, Connecticut’s red ink still exceeds its reserves and any potential additions by a little more than $1.4 billion over the two-year cycle — or about $700 million per year or nearly 4 percent of the General Fund.

And it still remains unclear whether Governor-elect Ned Lamont and the 2019 General Assembly will choose to tap all of those reserves to close the remaining shortfall.

“These new consensus revenue estimates reflect the strong recent growth we have seen in our economy and demonstrate that policy changes … are working and helping taxpayers,” Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes, Malloy’s budget director, said Tuesday. “Governor-elect Lamont and the next General Assembly will have a difficult task ahead in balancing the budget and keeping it under the spending cap, but the economic performance we are experiencing has made the task more manageable.”

Income tax receipts, which frequently have fallen short of state officials’ expectations since the last recession, have been doing the opposite over the past 12 months.

See the complete article from CT Mirror online.

Preventive maintenance helps stop rust due to road salt

From Transport Topics.

Winter weather brings one of the trucking industry’s greatest simultaneous friends and foes: road salt.

Salt prevents and melts ice, making road surfaces safer for travel, but it also significantly speeds corrosion of a truck. If left unchecked, corrosion can create dangerous conditions within key truck components, such as the electrical system. But preventive maintenance can help stop rust before it becomes unwieldy and eats away components past the point of repair.

The electrical system and the batteries are the “heart” of modern trucks, and therefore require special attention, said Brett Wacker, vice president of maintenance for Dart Transit.

Corrosion can occur on electrical components themselves, on wiring or at connections. That can lead to a plethora of faults including with door locks, windows and wiper blades.

Even greater concern lies with high-risk safety failures such as headlights or anti-lock braking systems.

“Because of how sophisticated our trucks are, everything goes haywire” once portions of the electrical system corrode, Wacker said.

Overall, corrosion consistently ranks as a top fleet concern — both from safety and financial perspectives.

See full article from Transport Topics online.

Voters overwhelmingly ratify transportation ‘lockbox’

From CT Mirror.

Voters overwhelmingly ratified two amendments to the state Constitution Tuesday, including a new legal “lockbox” to safeguard funds earmarked for Connecticut’s transportation program.

Voters also ratified a second amendment that would prohibit the legislature from selling, conveying, or swapping state land or buildings without first holding a public hearing.

Though final numbers hadn’t been tallied late Tuesday, unofficial results showed more than 80 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of each amendment.

“The voter support for the transportation lockbox is a step in the right direction for Connecticut,” said Don Shubert, president of the Connecticut Construction Industry Association and one of the founders of Move CT Forward — a coalition of construction businesses, trades and other transportation advocates. “It is a signal of fiscal restraint and an indication that improving mobility is a priority.”

“This is an enormous victory for our state’s future as Connecticut desperately needs investment in transportation infrastructure,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a staunch advocate of the amendment, wrote in a statement late Tuesday. “While surrounding states have made real investments, Connecticut has allowed our roads, bridges, tunnels, and rails to fall into a state of disrepair, hurting our economy and making our infrastructure less safe for the traveling public. … This constitutional lockbox is a necessary step forward to strengthening our state’s economy and improving the quality of life for our residents.”

Read the full post from the CT Mirror online.

Connecticut Resources

General Assembly: Democrats capture State Senate and increase majority in House

From Hartford Courant.

With Democrat Ned Lamont winning the race for governor, Democrats also captured a stunning victory in legislative races, seizing a solid majority in the state Senate and potentially increasing their majority in the state House by a dozen seats, unofficial election results showed Wednesday.

The results signaled a growing rout for Republicans in Connecticut, with Democrats winning or leading virtually all statewide races. Democrats celebrated victories around the state, making inroads into GOP strongholds in the suburbs and, particularly, Fairfield County. One Senate District along the state’s Gold Coast saw its first Democrat elected in nearly 90 years and one House District in Greenwich in more than a century.

In the state House, Democrats also could pick up as many as 12 seats in the 151-member legislative chamber, giving them a commanding 92-to-59 majority, dealing a setback to GOP gains in recent elections. The exact political composition of the House will not be known until three recounts play out.

House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, of Hartford, said Wednesday the strong showing by Democrats to addressing tough issues — the state’s budget woes, transportation — and not leaning solely on opponent attack ads.

See the full story from the Hartford Courant online.

Class 8 order surge is 12 months old

From Fleet Owner.

One year after Class 8 truck orders started to surge, preliminary North American order data for October surpassed 40,000 units for the eighth month in a row, according to two research firms that track orders.

FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 orders for October at 43,000 units and ACT Research reports the number at 43,600 units. FTR notes that this is the eighth straight month that Class 8 orders surpassed 40,000 units. October 2018 orders were the 10th best on record, according to FTR — 2% above a strong September and 19% better than a year ago. ACT’s October Class 8 orders are up 1.9% from September, which is 21% more than the 2017 October numbers.

“October marks the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the current cyclical surge for Class 8 orders, making year-over-year comparisons narrow appreciably,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “Through year-to-date October, Class 8 orders totaled 440,700 units.

In the 12 months ending October, a 12-month record 510,900 units have been booked. In 2018, October had the third strongest order seasonal factor. As such, actual data receives a substantial haircut when seasonally adjusted. On that basis, October’s order intake drops to 37,800 units, down 26% from September.”

See the full story from Fleet Owner online.

MTAC Dump Truck Christmas Party Dec. 6

The 64th Annual Dump Truck Association Christmas Party will be held for members and their guests at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6 at Maneeley’s in South Windsor. The Christmas Party committee has planned a holiday feast with all the trimmings.

All requested tickets for the event must be paid for in advance. Payments shall be made through the MTAC office by using Mastercard or Visa. The price is $55 per person – including tax and tip – and guests are welcome if they have a ticket. A cash bar will be available.

You can purchase tickets from any committee member, by completing the online form below (preferred), or calling the MTAC office at (860) 520-4455. Tickets must be purchased no later than Nov. 30. Tables may be reserved in advance for groups of 10.

Help spread the cheer by donating quality items including small hand tools, electronic gadgets for our holiday raffle. Hats and T-shirts are also welcome, but nothing beats a new drill!

Special thanks to the Christmas Party Committee including: Chairman John Vasel III, Alan Baumert, William Mitchell, Dustin Mitchell, Chris Russo, Philip DeSiato, Dennis Botticello, Hal Pierce, Mike Covensky and Herb Holden.

Maneeley’s is located at 65 Rye Street in South Windsor. (Map)

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MTAC members receive insurance dividends from Sinclair Risk & Financial Management

Sinclair Risk & Financial Management, one of the largest independent insurance agencies in New England, was proud to present the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut (MTAC) with a dividend check for $494,000 during the MTAC Annual Meeting on October 25.

“We are very pleased to be able to present this check to the MTAC,” said Marty Shea, senior vice president of sales for Sinclair Risk & Financial Management. “This shows how much our Safety Group is growing, and at the same time improving safety.”

The amount was paid directly back to participating members as part of MTAC’s Insurance Safety Group, which provides commercial property/casualty coverage (including workers’ compensation) to qualified members through Sinclair and Acadia Insurance. These dividends are paid when loss ratio thresholds are met.

“This is terrific news, and this number is far bigger than anything we expected,” said MTAC President Joe Sculley. “This is a testament to MTAC members’ focus on safety, as well as the great risk management policies that Sinclair provides for businesses in the group.”

The MTAC/Sinclair/Acadia Safety Group is open to eligible new participants. To be eligible, a business must be a MTAC member and be approved by Acadia underwriters. For more information on Sinclair and how to get involved with the group, visit srfm.com.