Anti-toll group delivers 100,000 petition signatures to Lamont

Excerpt from Yankee Institute article.

Joseph Sculley, president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut, which represents the trucking industry, said his group also opposes tolls on Connecticut’s highways.

“The current toll proposals will be a huge cost burden on small businesses in Connecticut,” Sculley said. “In a state that is struggling with small, medium and large-sized businesses, this is going to affect all of them, but particularly small businesses, the hardest.”

Sculley said the trucking industry won’t be able to absorb the added cost of tolls and the expense will be passed down to consumers, driving up the price of goods in the state. He added that one of his members estimated tolls would actually double their tax burden in a single year.

Don Shubert, president of the Connecticut Construction Industries Association, which recently spent $900,000 on television advertisements supporting tolls, said he thinks No Tolls CT is “doing a wonderful job with their campaign.”

To see the complete article from Yankee Institute.

Lamont: $213M project will ease Hartford highway backups

From Hartford Business Journal.

Gov. Ned Lamont said work began this week on a $213 million state highway project aimed at easing congestion on an exit connecting Interstate 91 to the Charter Oak Bridge in Hartford.

The state Department of Transportation earlier this week launched a “congestion-buster project” that will lead to the development of a new two-lane exit ramp from I-91 northbound to the Charter Oak Bridge, leading to Routes 5 and 15, and I-84. The project is slated for completion by summer 2022.

To accommodate construction of the new lanes, crews will need to widen northbound I-91 from exit 27 to exit 29 for approximately 5,700 feet to allow space for the additional travel lane.

That will also require the widening of the Charter Oak Bridge over Route 15, the Airport Road on-ramp and Airport Road, in addition to lowering the roads below all three bridges to provide space for overhead clearances.

Construction of a new two-lane exit also requires: construction of a new bridge; widening a piece of the northbound Charter Oak Bridge over I-91 to four northbound travel lanes; and the removal of the current single-lane ramp at exit 29.

The project also requires widening of northbound Route 15 to add an additional lane from the existing bridge to the Silver Lane underpass in East Hartford and widening of the bridges hovering over Main Street and Silver Lane.

See the complete article from Hartford Business Journal online.

FMCSA seeks public comment on pilot program to allow drivers ages 18-20 to operate CMVs in interstate commerce

From FMCSA.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced that it is seeking public comment on a potential pilot program that would allow drivers ages 18-20 to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce.

“Commercial trucks and buses are essential to a thriving national economy, and the Department wants to ensure the public has an opportunity to comment on this important potential change,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

Drivers ages 18-20 may currently only operate CMVs in intrastate commerce.  In July 2018, USDOT announced https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/newsroom/new-usdot-pilot-program-provides-boost-military-recruitment the details of the Commercial Driver Pilot Program required under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which allows certain 18- to 20-year-olds with military training to operate CMVs in interstate commerce.

Today’s action requests comments on a second pilot program to allow non-military drivers ages 18-20 to operate CMVs in interstate commerce.  FMCSA requests comments on the training, qualifications, driving limitations, and vehicle safety systems that FMCSA should consider in developing options or approaches for a second pilot program for younger drivers.

“We want input from the public on efforts that offer the potential to create more jobs in the commercial motor vehicle industry, while maintaining the highest level of safety.  We encourage all CMV stakeholders to submit comments on a potential interstate pilot program for younger drivers,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez.

The Federal Register Notice, including how to submit comments, is available online.

In Waterford, I-395 Northbound closure planned

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 between Friday May 31, 2019 and Monday June 10, 2019.

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

Lane Closures

I-395 Northbound @ Exit 2

Closure and detour is scheduled to occur between 6 p.m. on Friday, May 31 and 6 p.m. on Monday, June 10.

I-395 Northbound 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 Northbound.  The intersection will be signalized with police assistance.

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

More information, including maps of the detour and diversion routes, is available as a PDF document.

Three weeks until bridge is installed on Route 1 over I-95 at Exit 9, Stamford

In three weeks, the first of two bridge spans on Route 1 (East Main Street) over I-95 at Exit 9 in Stamford will be moved and set in place. On Friday, May 31 at 11 p.m., I-95 motorists will be detoured onto 2-lane temporary roads in each direction while construction is underway. Earlier in the evening, Route 1 traffic will also be detoured around the work site onto local roads. I-95 and Route 1 will reopen to through traffic by 5 a.m. Monday, June 3rd. The following week Friday, June 7, beginning at 11 p.m., the second bridge span will be installed as traffic is detoured again around the construction zone.

See www.i95exit9.com for more information, including photos showing construction in progress.

Builders, trades, launch new ad to push for tolls in Connecticut

From CT Mirror.

A coalition of construction businesses and trades launched a new television and online advertising campaign Tuesday that makes a pitch for electronic tolling to refinance a critical rebuild of Connecticut’s highways, bridges and rail lines.

First established last spring to support tolls, the Move CT Forward coalition is renewing its efforts as legislators near a conclusion on this year’s transportation financing debate.

“With tolls, trucks and out of state drivers will pay more, we will pay less,” the narrator of the ad states. “And taxpayers will get a break. Connecticut needs to fix our roads now, our families’ safety depends on it.”

Gov. Ned Lamont has proposed establishing electronic tolls on Interstates 84, 91 and 95 and on the Merritt Parkway. Lamont estimates tolls could raise $800 million per year and as much as 40 percent of revenues could come from out-of-state motorists.

See complete article from CT Mirror online.

DOT proposal on HOS rules slated for June publication

From Transport Topics.

The Department of Transportation’s Significant Rulemaking Report for April indicates that the agency plans to publish its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on hours-of-service regulations June 7.

The Significant Rulemakings Report, updated monthly, offers the summary and status of the rulemakings DOT has pending. Although April’s report lists June 7 as the “originally scheduled date” to publish the NPRM after the Office of Management and Budget’s review process, that date is not set in stone.

DOT submitted the proposal to OMB on March 29. The contents of the notice were not made public. A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration spokesman confirmed that OMB still is reviewing the proposal.

“The timeline included in the department’s April regulatory update reflects FMCSA’s goal to move quickly during this rulemaking process, and the agency is hopeful that goal will be achieved,” the spokesman told Transport Topics.

American Trucking Associations spokesman Sean McNally said the group is pleased that DOT has released a projected publication date for the NPRM. In March, FMCSA chief Ray Martinez expressed optimism that the proposal will keep moving “on a fast track.” Martinez made the remark during a radio interview broadcast from the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky.

See complete article from Transport Topics online.

Spurred by e-commerce, Bradley Airport sees spike, significant growth potential in freight business

From Hartford Business Journal.

The four-town Bradley Airport Development Zone is also in a unique position to become a key locus of ground freight in the Northeast, said Joe Sculley, president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut (MTAC), which represents companies in the state’s trucking industry. In addition to its proximity to the airport, its unique geographic position puts it nearby major highways, making the area a great hub for trucking, which moves 94 percent of all freight in Connecticut.

The advent of companies like Amazon and others placing warehouses to meet demands for next-day or even same-day delivery is also adjusting truckers’ jobs, Sculley said. Thirty or 40 years ago, almost all trucking consisted of long-haul, cross-country routes.

Now, more routes are closer to the end customer or final destination, requiring truckers to fulfill that critical “last-mile” haul.

“Now because of e-commerce and the way retailers are set up, it’s become more localized, or regionalized, so the trucking routes are shorter,” Sculley said. “If you can tell [drivers] that they can be home at night, that’s a big plus.”

To see the complete article from the Hartford Business Journal online.

Finance package offers mixed bag of tax hikes

From CT News Junkie.

The Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee is proposing increasing revenues by $1.01 billion in 2020 and $1.33 billion in 2021, but the tax package the committee is hoping to adopt Wednesday doesn’t accept all of Gov. Ned Lamont’s suggestions.

The committee, which eventually passed the package 29-21, rejected some of Lamont’s efforts to broaden the sales tax base by eliminating existing exemptions. The committee instead proposes to limit Lamont’s list to removing the exemptions on interior design services, except when purchased by a business for use by such business; specified parking services; transportation network company services like Uber and Lyft; safety apparel; and dry cleaning and laundry services, excluding coin-operated services.”

The committee also proposes to keep the sales tax exemption on the accounting and legal services industries, which lobbied against a sales tax for their services.

However, the committee would increase from 6.35% to 7.35% the sales tax on prepared meals sold by restaurants, caterers, or grocery stores. It also would increase the sales tax on liquors, soft drinks, sodas, and beverages sold in connection with those meals.

See the complete article from CT News Junkie online.

CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Week – July 14-20 – focus on speeding

From CVSA.

Drivers’ actions contributed to a staggering 94 percent of all traffic crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 2015 Traffic Safety Facts report.

In response to this issue, law enforcement personnel will be on the lookout for commercial motor vehicle drivers and passenger vehicle drivers engaging in dangerous driver behaviors July 14-20 as part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Operation Safe Driver Week.

Drivers engaging in unsafe driving behaviors will be pulled over by law enforcement and may be issued a warning and/or citation.

  • In 2017, speeding was a contributing factor in 26 percent of all traffic fatalities, according to NHTSA. That’s 9,717 lives lost due to speeding.
  • During last year’s Operation Safe Driver Week, 16,909 passenger vehicle drivers and 1,908 commercial motor vehicle drivers were issued citations for speeding. In addition, 17 commercial motor vehicle drivers and 714 passenger vehicle drivers were cited for driving too fast for the conditions.
  • According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute, speeding has been a factor in more than a quarter of crash deaths since 2008.
  • According FMCSA’s 2016 Large Truck and Bus Facts, speeding of any kind was the most frequent driver-related crash factor for drivers of commercial motor vehicles and passenger vehicles.

For these reasons, CVSA selected speeding as the emphasis area for this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week and law enforcement jurisdictions throughout North America will be endorsing, promoting and supporting the following message: Late won’t kill you, speeding will. 

See the complete release from CVSA online.