New brake training classes

Brake training classes that will be held at the MTAC building have been scheduled for spring of 2018. Federal regulations require that any employee responsible for brake inspections, maintenance, service, or repairs on any commercial motor vehicle must understand the brake service or inspection task to be accomplished. The best way to do that is through “participation in a training program sponsored by a brake or vehicle manufacturer or similar commercial training program.” (FMCSR 396.25).

Ray Martinez confirmed as FMCSA administrator

From Transport Topics.

The Senate on Feb. 13 easily confirmed Ray Martinez to lead the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as the Trump administration promotes a comprehensive infrastructure funding proposal.

As the country’s top trucking regulator, Martinez will oversee a revamp of a safety performance scoring program agency-wide, as well as advancements in autonomous vehicle technology.

The Senate Commerce Committee had advanced Martinez’s nomination Nov. 8, 2017, garnering bipartisan support. Martinez had told senators at an Oct. 31 hearing he would “have an open-door policy to work with all stakeholders to meet with them and hear their concerns.”

See full story from Transport Topics online.

Connecticut Dems pan Trump infrastructure plan

From CT Mirror.

Washington – President Donald Trump rolled out his long-awaited infrastructure plan on Monday, which was quickly panned by Connecticut’s Democratic lawmakers, who are backing a rival proposal. Both plans face major challenges on the road to becoming reality.

The basics of Trump’s plan to shore up the nation’s roads, bridges, airports, rail and broadband include $200 billion in federal funding over the next 10 with the hopes of raising up to $1.5 trillion in total by providing incentives for investments by state and local governments, as well as private firms.

Connecticut’s Democrats have rejected that approach in favor of a Democratic plan that would invest $1 trillion in federal dollars over the next 10 years on the nation’s infrastructure.

Read the full story from CT Mirror online.

March 22 ELD class presented by Omnitracs and Verizon Telematics

MTAC is pleased to announce an upcoming class on the Electronic Logging Device rule, presented by MTAC members Omnitracs and Verizon Telematics. The date of April 1, 2018 at which point law enforcement will begin issuing Out Of Service (OOS) orders for non-compliance with the ELD rule is fast approaching. Attend this presentation to get another overview of the rule, as well as to connect with MTAC members who can offer ELD solutions. The class will start at 10:00am and should be done by 12:00pm.

Omnitracs offers comprehensive HOS, IFTA, ELD, FMCSA and DOT compliance software that allows customers to keep their fleet in compliance with the latest regulations, including the recent ELD mandate ruling.

Verizon Telematics offers a full range of fleet and mobile workforce solutions, including ELD solutions.

Register for the ELD class on the MTAC website.

Extension of regional emergency declaration for heating fuels

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended its regional emergency declaration until 11:59 PM February 28, 2018. This means that the Hours of Service waiver for the interstate transportation of home heating fuels only is in effect until that date.

It should be noted that FMCSA’s waiver does not cover the transportation of gasoline and diesel. It is only for home heating fuels, including, propane, natural gas, and heating oil. The waiver applies only to motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance to those who are impacted by the emergency.

Carriers who are serving those impacted by the emergency and are operating under this waiver should carry a copy of the declaration in their trucks. Click here to print a copy of the document.

Contact the MTAC office if you have any questions.

Trump to unveil outline of infrastructure plan Feb. 12

From Transport Topics.

Details of a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan that would propose funding for rural projects and streamlining the permitting process will be unveiled by President Donald Trump on Feb. 12, a White House official told Transport Topics.

The regulatory process for projects would be reduced from 10 years to two years in the outline of the highly anticipated plan, the official explained Feb. 6. No further details were provided.

The president’s announcement will coincide with the release of the White House’s fiscal 2019 funding request. At the State of the Union, Trump called on lawmakers to produce a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill that would streamline the permitting process for big-ticket projects.

During the Jan. 30 address, Trump noted the construction of a New York City landmark nearly a century ago to make the case for bringing the permitting process down to two years, maybe even one year.

“We built the Empire State Building in just one year. Is it not a disgrace that it can now take 10 years just to get a permit approved for a simple road,” Trump said.

See full story from Transport Topics online.

Connecticut Resources

Malloy offers sermon on fairness; pushes agenda

From CT Post.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Wednesday offered a sermon on fairness, using his final State of the State address to push back at President Donald Trump’s policies and boost his own agenda and legacy.

“We find ourselves at a defining moment in our history, as a state and as a nation,” Malloy told a joint session of the General Assembly.

“We can no-longer afford the luxury of silence, or the alluring comfort of the status quo,” Malloy continued. “Too many people are embracing a newfound disregard for truth; it’s a bizarre reality where facts are called fake, and the free press is mocked and maligned in a way that we have never seen before.”

Malloy added “We won’t be able to solve every problem or right every wrong, but together we can send a signal to the rest of the nation — and indeed the rest of the world, that Connecticut leaders will always recognize injustice and inequity, and that we will meet it head on with compassion, with love, and with fairness.”

With that the lame duck governor – Malloy is not seeking re-election this fall – advocated solving the state’s transportation and congestion woes with electronic tolling on highways, higher gas taxes and other revenue enhancements.

See full story from CT Post online.

Malloy wants tolls, 7 cent hike in gas tax

From CT Post.

Motorists would navigate under dozens of overhead toll gantries along state highways throughout Connecticut under a funding plan for transportation that would also raise the state’s gasoline tax to 39 cents from 25 cents per gallon over the next few years.

While legislative Republicans balked after Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s Wednesday morning support for the new revenue generators, Democratic leaders including Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz conceded the issue will likely be a major debate for the upcoming legislative session.

For the first time since taking office in 2011, Malloy came out in support of high-speed electronic tolls that could raise up to $800 million a year for the cash-strapped state transportation fund.

“I wish we had it two years ago, because maybe we wouldn’t be in the predicament we are in today,” Malloy said during a 45-minute news conference in the Capitol. Malloy also wants lawmakers to approve a multiyear addition to the 25-cents-per-gallon gas, to raise it to 32 cents, generating $105 million more per year by 2022. In 1997, the 39-cent gas tax was cut to a quarter.

Read the full article online at the CT Post.

Need better answer than tolls

Letter to the editor by Axel Carrion, UPS.

If you tax people, you will raise money. That’s the gist of The Hartford Courant’s Jan. 12 editorial: “How To Pay For Roads? Tolls, Obviously” [courant.com]. The editorial doesn’t address the consequences of tolls: the double taxation of drivers who pay fuel taxes, the impact on Connecticut businesses and the economy, the amount of funds collected that never go to road repair or construction, and the likelihood of traffic diversion around the tolls and perhaps around Connecticut.

The question is not whether tolls will raise revenue, but whether tolls are the best option for raising needed transportation funds. The answer is a resounding “No!”

The Courant failed to mention: Tolls take money from commuters and truckers and use that money to prop up government bureaucracies. Traffic diversion hurts businesses like restaurants, gas stations and truck stops. Finally, tolls force hardworking commuters to decide if it’s worth adding several minutes to their commute rather than pay tolls — essentially creating a two-tiered transportation system between the rich and poor.

Tolls are not untapped dollars waiting to be found. Tolls are taxes forced upon commuters, businesses and families.

See the complete text of the letter to the editor online.

DOT pension, healthcare costs grow nearly $30 million in three years as state projects are put on hold

From Yankee Institute.

Pension and healthcare costs for employees with the Department of Transportation grew nearly $30 million over three years, increasing operating costs for Connecticut’s beleaguered Special Transportation Fund.

According to figures from the State Comptroller’s Office, between 2014 and 2017 state pension contributions increased $20.9 million, while healthcare costs increased $8.8 million.

Some costs — like worker’s compensation and unemployment compensation — actually decreased during that same time period.

Total fringe benefit costs totaled $198 million in 2017, and the 2018 figures may be higher, according to information presented to the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth.

A historical summary of the Special Transportation Fund’s growth presented by Joseph Sculley of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut, showed fringe benefits and accruals totaling $201 million for 2018.

For perspective, Connecticut appropriated $173.3 million for rail service and $156.3 million for bus service in 2018.

Fringe benefit costs for employees amount to 89 percent of payroll, up from 85 percent in 2014. Of that figure, 56 percent of payroll goes exclusively toward pension costs due to the massive liabilities the state has incurred in its State Employee Retirement System.

Read more at the Yankee Institute for Public Policy website.