Connecticut Resources

Lamont again calls for truck tolls

From Hartford Courant – Six Moments From The Ned Lamont, Bob Stefanowski Debate.

“If you want higher taxes, vote for Mr. Lamont.”

Who said it? Stefanowski

The business executive from Madison slammed Lamont’s plan to restore a popular property tax credit to help middle class homeowners.

“You know how large his property tax cut is? $100,’’ Stefanowski said. “At the same time he’s going to put up tolls that cost people hundreds of dollars a month. He’s going to raise income taxes and he’s going to bring a statewide auto tax.”

Lamont’s response?

The Greenwich businessman criticized Stefanowski’s plan to phase out the state income tax, saying it would blow a massive hole in the state budget.

“You said you’re going to eliminate over half of our budget, eliminate over half the revenue to support it. That would mean dramatic property tax increases,’’ Lamont said.

“That’s just out of fantasy land.”

Who said it? Lamont

He was referring to Stefanowski’s plan to avoid instituting highway tolls by partially privatizing roads and bridges.

“Even private enterprises need a way to get a return on their investment,’’ Lamont said. “I would put tolls on the big tractor trailers coming in and out of this state. Right now we have a transportation fund that’s going bankrupt.’’

See the full article from the Hartford Courant online.

Online payments now available

MTAC is pleased to announce that online payment is now available on the MTAC website. Simply visit https://mtac.us/payment/ to go directly to the online payments page. Members will need their invoice number(s) in order to process the payment online.

This new online payment system has the ability to process payment for multiple invoices at the same time. Members will just need to use the “add” button next to the “Invoice Numbers” field in order to do that. Only Visa and Mastercard are accepted.

Note: MTAC will not save credit card numbers. The transactions will be securely processed by a third-party credit card processing company.

Planners see trouble ahead for Larson’s Hartford tunnel plan

From Hartford Courant.

Even as Congressman John Larson campaigns for “Big Dig” highway tunnels beneath Hartford, state transportation planners said Thursday they see trouble ahead for the vision — one of a handful of options now under study to ease congestion at the interchange of I-84 and I-91.

“We have a lot of concerns with this,” Nicholas Mandler, an engineer with TranSystems Corp. of Meriden, a consultant on the I-84 Hartford project, said. “With safety, with capacity, with expense … and it doesn’t serve that local traffic, everyone trying to get in and out of Hartford.”

In Larson’s plan, I-84 would be buried from Hartford’s Parkville neighborhood to East Hartford, near Rentschler Field and I-91, from Hartford’s Brainard Airport to the city’s North Meadows.

Mandler’s comments came during Thursday’s public advisory committee meeting on the I-84 Hartford project, which is part of planning for replacing a 2-mile, aging viaduct that slices through the city.

See the full story from the Hartford Courant online.

Hartford drivers – New centerline crosswalk signs

Message from Transport Hartford.

The City of Hartford is installing 40 Omni-Ped centerline crosswalk signs at 30 locations across the city. Hartford’s Police Department Traffic Division is also getting five of these signs to use at crosswalks around special events.

We secured National Safety Council Road to Zero funding for these signs as part of a grant to reduce crashes in Hartford. In addition to the pedestrian safety benefit, the signs do have some traffic calming (speed reduction) benefit in the immediate area where they are installed.

We wanted to get the word out to our professional drivers and freight drivers in Hartford that these signs will be in place shortly (hopefully this week). The signs are placed at marked crosswalks, right on the road centerline. They are designed to take some hits better than others.

  • Trucks and buses sometimes need to cross the centerline to get around things (like parked cars, construction, bicyclists, etc). These signs will last longer if they aren’t put under the wheels of police vehicles, large trucks, firetrucks, or buses.
  • If you need to go over the signs, try to get them lined up under the center of a bus or truck (they’ll pop back up behind you, the base is sprung) rather than giving them a direct, crushing hit with the wheels.

If you come across a sign that is out of location or damaged, you can let us know at (860) 247-3227 ext 13. The signs aren’t bolted down and can be moved temporarily as needed for construction projects or other needs. We’ll be out on location with teen interns (Police Explorers) this fall taking data on the effectiveness of the crosswalk signs, and we’ll be pulling them in for repair as necessary. The signs will also be pulled in over the winter to allow for snow clearing.

ATRI launches driver survey on detention impacts

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) today launched an online data collection initiative to solicit commercial driver perspectives on how they are affected by customer detention. The driver feedback will be utilized to better understand how excessive delays at shipper/receiver facilities impacts driver productivity, safety and hours-of-service compliance.

This data collection initiative is part of an ongoing study by ATRI on the impacts of detention on overall industry productivity and safety. Data collected in this latest driver survey will be compared to driver surveys collected in 2014 to evaluate how detention impacts may have changed since the ELD mandate went into effect earlier this year.

ATRI launched this latest data collection at the 2018 Great American Trucking Show (GATS), collecting several hundred driver surveys. The online version of the same survey conducted at GATS will allow larger numbers of professional drivers to weigh in with their experiences with customer detention.

The survey is available online.

Connecticut Resources

Debate: Griebel, Lamont talk taxes, jobs and take shots at a missing Stefanowski

From New Haven Register.

Oz Griebel said that — if elected — he would try to lower the rate of the personal income tax. He admitted that a projected $4.5 billion deficit over the next two years is a giant challenge. “This is serious stuff that has to be dealt with,” he said. “I do not believe in the elimination of the income tax.”

Lamont and Griebel took uncontested swipes at Stefanowski’s campaign promise to eliminate the personal income tax over eight years. “It’s time you had a governor who told you the truth,” Lamont said. “Eliminating the income tax would be devastating for schools, devastating for our towns and cities.”

Both candidates agreed that the state has to do better in partnering local businesses with schools to create a better-educated and trained workforce. “Don’t go. Stay in Connecticut,” Lamont said in response to a University of St. Joseph undergraduate.

“The first thing employers want to do today is to keep the jobs they have here today,” Griebel said, stressing the need to better communicate with business leaders. “We need to reignite confidence in business owners and business leaders.”

Lamont reiterated his position for new tolls on interstate tractor trailers that use Connecticut highways and use the funding to rehabilitate the roads. He said that brick-and-mortar stores that are subject to the sales tax are at a competitive disadvantage to e-commerce entities that don’t.

Griebel agreed with Lamont that the technology is available to chase after e-commerce transactions.

Read the full article at the New Haven Register.

 

Free meal for truckers on Sept. 12 at TA Southington

Complimentary hamburgers and hotdogs will be served to commercial truck drivers at the TravelCenters of America (TA) in Southington, CT on Wednesday, September 12, in celebration of National Truck Driver Appreciation week.

“This is one small way we can give back to the men and women who deliver America’s goods,” said Doug Parker, who is the TA Southington general manager. “We appreciate them not only for filling our shelves and fueling stations at TA, but also for remaining loyal customers when they pull in to take their federally-mandated Hours of Service breaks,” Parker stated.

Drivers simply need to show their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) at the TA in Southington in order to claim their free meal. TA states that they will be grilling from approximately 11:00am to 4:00pm on September 12. TA is located at 1875 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike, Milldale, CT 06467.

Motor Transport Association of Connecticut (MTAC) President Joseph Sculley praised Parker and TA for their support of commercial truck drivers. “Truck drivers have important, tough jobs, and their contribution to our economy goes largely unappreciated. MTAC commends TA for this generous show of support for our nations truck drivers,” Sculley said.

Both Joseph Sculley and Doug Parker also expressed their appreciation to supporting vendors for the event, Pepsi and Frito Lay. Pepsi will be providing free samples of Lipton Pure leaf tea, and Frito Lay will be providing free samples as well.

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, September 9-15, 2018, is when America takes the time to honor all professional truck drivers for their hard work and commitment in tackling one of our economy’s most demanding and important jobs. These 3.5 million professional men and women not only deliver our goods safely, securely and on time, they also keep our highways safe.

Connecticut Legislature short-changed transportation funding by $650 million since 2011

From Yankee Institute.

Lawmakers short-changed Connecticut’s Special Transportation Fund by $650 million between 2011 and 2017, according to a transportation funding document released by Senate Republicans — more than enough to pay Connecticut’s portion of the new commuter rail line from New Haven to Springfield, Massachusetts.

The vast majority of the funds were “diverted” away from transportation funding, meaning the revenue scheduled to be placed in the STF was kept in the General Fund to aid with budget deficits and general government expenses.

Senate Republicans published their “Prioritize Progress” plan as an answer to Connecticut’s transportation funding problems which doesn’t rely on tolling Connecticut’s highways. Instead, the plan calls for more targeted bonding for Connecticut projects.

The STF is funded through several taxes and fees, including the gasoline tax, a gross receipts tax on petroleum companies, a portion of the state sales tax, motor vehicle receipts and licensing fees.

Connecticut’s transportation funding faces future difficulties due to escalating costs, and $4.3 billion in projects were suspended in January because the STF faced insolvency. Gov. Dannel Malloy and some state lawmakers have called for tolls on Connecticut’s highways to increase transportation funding by $1 billion per year.

See the full article from Yankee Institute online.

Register for the 2018 MTAC Annual Meeting

Registration is now open for the 98th Motor Transport Association of Connecticut (MTAC) Annual Meeting! This year’s conference will be at the Four Points Sheraton in Meriden, Conn. on Thursday, Oct. 25.

This year’s conference will feature great educational seminars, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Division Administrator Chris Henry will speak about the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule, including the use of AOBRDs, and exemptions to the ELD rule. The recently announced Personal Conveyance policy will be explained. Other pertinent FMCSA developments may be discussed as well.

A demonstration of a new CDL medical certification portal will be presented by Lieutenant Don Bridge from the Connecticut DMV Commercial Vehicle Safety Division. Compliance with the Certified Medical Examiner’s rule, including proper submission of medical certification, is very important for motor carriers. Attend this class to ensure your company can comply in the most efficient manner.

Learn directly from law enforcement officers, as well as from MTAC consultant Mike Glinski, about how officers conduct commercial truck inspections at roadside. They will show you what they look for, so attendees can take this information and remain safe and in compliance.

The trade show will feature exhibits from businesses offering great new products and services that are must-haves in the trucking industry.

Attendees will have the opportunity to hear directly from MTAC’s State Senator of the Year, Toni Boucher, and MTAC’s State Representative of the Year, Pat Boyd.

Register for the meeting today.

I-84 widening project in Connecticut set to open ahead of schedule

From Transport Topics.

The Interstate 84 widening project in Waterbury, Conn., which has been going on since 2015, is on track to open one year ahead of schedule.

The $300 million project involves the addition of a third travel lane and full-width shoulders in each direction to a 2.7-mile segment of the route, one of the major conduits in the state. At a news conference with other state government leaders Aug. 20, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced that completion is imminent.

The three eastbound lanes of I-84 through Waterbury are scheduled to open later this week, and the three westbound lanes are set to open by mid-September.

“The I-84 Waterbury widening project is transforming and revitalizing mobility in Waterbury and supports our goal to make Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure best-in-class,” Malloy said. “This project is exemplary and has exhibited fast-paced, high-quality efficiency from its inception in 2015, and it’s all being done one year ahead of schedule.”

Running across the state from the southwest to the northeast, I-84 bisects Waterbury and Hartford. According to the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s I-84 Corridor Congestion Relief study, some 141,000 vehicles travel down the route every day.

ConnDOT’s website dedicated to the I-84 Waterbury Widening project states that the goal of the project is to improve safety and capacity on the route and surrounding streets. The portion of I-84 that goes through Waterbury also traverses steep topography, and the project involved reconfiguring several tributaries, including the Mad River and Beaver Pond Brook.

Joseph Sculley, president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut, said I-84 is one of the most important routes trucks use in the state. He said its completion will come as a relief to all motorists, not just truckers.

“That is a good project. That is a project that we would point to as one that eases congestion in the right way,” Sculley said. “We think that all road users will benefit from that.”

See full article from Transport Topics online.