CVSA International Road Check webinar April 22

On Thursday, April 22 MTAC will host a Zoom webinar on the CVSA International Road Check.

The International Road Check aims to raise awareness of the North American Standard Inspection Program and the essential highway safety rules and regulations in place to keep our roadways safe.

This year’s road check will focus on lighting, and hours of service. The webinar hosted by MTAC will feature educational presentations from Chris Henry, CT’s Division Administrator from FMCSA, and Lieutenant Don Bridge of DMV’s Commercial Vehicle Safety Division (CVSD).

Sign up for the webinar online.

MTAC testimony on SB 931: Emissions standards for medium & heavy duty vehicles

MTAC President Joe Sculley submitted testimony in response to a bill that proposes to have Connecticut adopt emission standards set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) (rather than US EPA) for new medium and heavy-duty trucks.

Sculley went on to address several key points on why MTAC opposes the proposed bill stating: “It will put Connecticut businesses at a competitive disadvantage by mandating that they purchase trucks with unproven technology, and these trucks will be more expensive than what their competitors in other states will purchase.” He also explained that the consequences of going forward with this bill would impact truck sales and push jobs out of state.

The testimony also addressed a number of solutions to the bill, such as applying uniform national standards set by the federal government which apply to all businesses in all states equally and voluntary incentive programs.

See the complete letter here: MTAC Submits Testimony on Act Concerning Emissions Standards for Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles.

MTAC testimony on HB 6439: Revenue-raising mechanisms in transportation plan

MTAC president Joe Sculley submitted a second testimony this week in response to appropriations concerning the state’s transportation plan.

In the testimony Sculley said that MTAC “vehemently opposes” two of the proposed revenue-raising mechanisms proposed by the Governor, which the administration estimates would raise about $170 million per year. Governor Ned Lamont is proposing a milage based tax for trucks and the implementation of the Transportation and Climate Initiative Program.

Sculley gave a number of alternatives create $170 million in the Special Transportation Fund, such as moving “Bus Operations” with a proposed appropriation of $195,868,000 out of the STF and into the General Fund, and moving all of “State Comptroller – Fringe Benefits” with a proposed appropriation of $257,780,806 out of the STF and into the General Fund, to name a couple examples.

See the complete testimony here: MTAC Submits Testimony Act Concerning the State Budget for the Biennium.

UPS ships out first batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

From Transport Topics.

UPS Inc. began shipping out its first batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines March 2, now that the single-dose vaccine for the coronavirus has emergency use authorization.

Atlanta-based UPS said the vaccine packages were being flown from its Worldport air hub in Louisville, Ky., to sorting facilities in other parts of the country, then loaded onto UPS trucks for delivery starting the morning of March 2.

This is the third vaccine UPS is shipping, in addition to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines authorized since December. UPS and Memphis, Tenn.-based FedEx Express are splitting the shipments of vaccines allocated by the federal government.

UPS spokesman Glenn Zaccara said in a written statement that the company is monitoring all of its vaccine shipments with temperature recorders and tracking tags, and “delivering with near-perfect on-time performance.”

The shipping giant said its temperature-controlled facilities and monitoring technology are designed to handle biologically derived drugs such as vaccines.

President Joe Biden’s administration will allocate 15.2 million Pfizer and Moderna doses for shipment next week to states, tribes and territories, up from 14.5 million a week earlier, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said March 2.

The government also announced that 2.8 million Johnson & Johnson shots will be sent to states, marking the first time it has shown how it will divide an initial tranche of the newly authorized one-dose shots. The Johnson & Johnson supply is expected to fall in the next week before ramping up toward the end of March.

See the complete article online.

Transportation capacity sees ‘accelerated contraction’ in February

From Freight Waves.

A February survey of logistics executives showed growth in the supply chain is “increasing at an increasing rate.”

The Logistics Managers’ Index, a reading on changes in several areas of the supply chain, increased 4.2 percentage points during February to 71.4%. The reading was notably higher than the historical average of 62.7% and well above the February 2020 level of 52.6%.

The LMI is a diffusion index wherein a reading above 50% indicates expansion and a reading below 50% indicates contraction. The survey is designed to capture the rate of change in areas like transportation, inventory and warehousing.

“The combination of tight capacity and high prices are the primary drivers behind the increasing rate of growth detected in this month’s LMI,” the report read. A couple of categories — transportation prices (88%), warehousing prices (79%) and inventory costs (76.8%) — hit their highest levels in more than two years.

The transportation capacity subindex remained in contraction territory for the ninth straight month, falling 8.2 percentage points from January to 38.1%. The “accelerated contraction” in February was seen in all modes of transportation.

Trucking continues to struggle to find drivers after a year when driver schools churned out 40% fewer graduates and the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse snared more than 50,000 drivers. Roughly 60 container ships remain anchored off the West Coast awaiting a berth to unload, and railroad intermodal networks continue to struggle to right service woes.

See the complete article online.

MTAC submits testimony on Act Concerning Combination and Commercial Registrations

MTAC President Joe Sculley submitted testimony in response to a bill that proposes to include motor vehicle operator license numbers on combination and commercial registrations. In the testimony Sculley said:

“If I understand correctly, this proposal is aimed at “mom and pop” stores which may have only a few, small vehicles. Local law enforcement may sometimes have trouble reaching the owner of the small vehicle(s) after an incident, such as a traffic accident. So with that said, we have concerns about the way the proposal is written, which is to “require the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to include motor vehicle operator license numbers on combination and commercial registrations.”

In the commercial trucking industry, any truck in a fleet can be driven by any driver employed by the company, on any given day. This is true for businesses, for example, with 5 trucks and 3 drivers, or a business with 5,000 trucks and 10,000 drivers. It is not possible for a busines in the commercial trucking industry to identify one driver who will be responsible for driving one truck, and put that person’s driver’s license number on the registration.”

The testimony went on to say there could be ways to use existing law enforcement to track down non-responsive small businesses by using records from the Secretary of State.

See the complete letter submitted here.

With new administration, regulatory policy changes could be coming

From Transport Topics.

With a new administration now occupying the White House, the trucking industry soon could see changes in the regulatory landscape.

“When there is a change in administrations, it is standard to have a regulatory freeze so new agency staff have some time to review the issues at hand, and the review can delay or pause the regulatory process,” said Daniel Horvath, vice president of safety policy for American Trucking Associations.

Horvath added, “These reviews can on occasion reach back to impact rules that have already been finalized, which can be a concern. ATA will be closely watching final regulations like the hours-of-service rule, which became effective last September after a long, data-driven process.”

Now that Joe Biden is president, a number of proposals, and even new Trump administration regulations, now on a 60-day freeze through mid-March, could be in jeopardy.

Here are a few that are destined for a thorough review by the new administration:

  • A recent announcement by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to seek a pilot project to collect data to determine if a 6/4 and 5/5 sleeper berth split would be safe and effective.
  • A recent U.S. Department of Labor final rule and opinion letter to better clarify how motor carriers decide if independent contractors should be reclassified as employees.
  • A plan by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to fashion a national heavy-truck oxides of nitrogen rule that has been delayed for months, presumably awaiting guidance from the Biden administration.

See the complete article from Transport Topics online.

Oshkosh beats Workhorse for Postal Service delivery vehicle contract

From Freight Waves.

Defense contractor Oshkosh Truck Corp. won a 10-year contract to build next-generation delivery vehicles (NGDVs) for the U.S. Postal Service, beating out electric delivery van maker Workhorse Group Inc.

Day traders had driven Workhorse (NASDAQ: WKHS) shares to record levels in recent months, anticipating that at least a piece of the multibillion-dollar contract would be awarded to the company. It was one of three finalists. The Postal Service delayed awarding the contract for several years after inviting seven companies to build prototypes for evaluation.

Workhouse shares closed down 47.45% to $16.47 on Tuesday. It continued to lose ground in after-hours trading, dropping an additional 5% to $15.88. Oshkosh shares closed 6.14% higher at $109.62.

Investors, especially day traders on the Robinhood platform, led to Workhorse being among 50 stocks whose trading Robinhood suspended during the recent meme stock frenzy.

Oshkosh, based in the Wisconsin city of the same name, makes off-highway equipment, refuse and severe service equipment in addition to military vehicles. The Oshkosh M-ATV is a mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle for the MRAP All Terrain Vehicle program intended to replace the M1114 HMMWVs, known as Humvees.

The Postal Service said little and discouraged companies in the running from talking about the bid process. Oshkosh recently related to investors its willingness to make battery-electric-powered vehicles if that is what the Postal Service wanted.

See the complete article from Freight Waves online.

FMCSA extends Emergency Declaration through May 31

From Transport Topics.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has again extended its emergency declaration offering regulatory relief to truckers involved in coronavirus-related assistance efforts.

The declaration, which has been extended to May 31, applies to commercial motor vehicle drivers providing direct assistance in support of emergency efforts related to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This extension of the expanded modified emergency declaration addresses national emergency conditions that create a need for immediate transportation of essential supplies and provides necessary relief from the [Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations] for motor carriers and drivers,” FMCSA’s notice states.

Like its previous iterations, the declaration applies to all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It continues the exemption from Parts 390-399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which cover hours of service, parts and accessories needed for safe operation, and longer combination vehicles.

According to FMCSA’s notice, direct assistance does not include routine commercial deliveries, including mixed loads “with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of the emergency declaration.”

See the complete article from Transport Topics online.

Infrastructure initiatives remain a top priority for Congress, White House

From Transport Topics.

Now that former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial is out of the way, Congress and the White House say they can finally get to legislating.

For infrastructure and transportation policymakers, this probably means an opportunity to ready the advancement of major pieces of legislation on freight, climate, highways and autonomous vehicles.

Already, the leadership of the congressional highway committees (i.e., Senate Environment and Public Works, House Transportation & Infrastructure) indicated they are crafting bipartisan measures focused on infrastructure, climate change and renewable energy.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), EPW’s new chairman, met recently at the White House with fellow Delawarean, President Joe Biden, for some strategizing.

The chairman observed, “President Biden made it clear that investing in our transportation is a top priority. The American people desperately want us to bring our roads, trains and bridges out of the last century and into the future. … I’m currently putting together a bipartisan bill that does just that, and I’m glad it’s at the top of the administration’s agenda.”

Carper’s counterpart in the House, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), recently managed a markup on funding proposals for sectors affected by the pandemic. The hearing served as a forum for lawmakers to highlight concerns across sectors, such as transit, railroads, pipelines, waterways, ports, et al. Per trucking, Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.) had offered an amendment that was designed to enhance nationwide parking options for truck drivers. Although the congressman withdrew his amendment, members of the committee expressed a commitment to revisit concerns related to the trucking industry.

See the complete article from Transport Topics online.