Republicans say truck-only tolls court decision presents new challenge for Connecticut

Excerpt from CT News Junkie.

Fasano said “Tolling trucks sets us up for failure and leads us down a path to car tolls. A lawsuit creates serious financial risk for taxpayers and the governor’s plan could leave Connecticut with little choice but to expand tolls to cars to avoid legal jeopardy. Yesterday’s federal appeals court decision affirmed the fact that there is a viable claim that tolling only trucks violates the U.S. Constitution.”

“Senator Fasano either misunderstands or is greatly exaggerating the court’s decision for political gain,” Lamont said. “This federal Circuit Court decision, which is not binding in Connecticut, has simply held that truckers may bring their meritless claims in federal court as well as state court.”

Motor Transport Association of Connecticut President Joe Sculley said truck-only tolls would be a major blow to Connecticut’s economy because it would increase the cost of goods.

“The most recent Commodity Flow Survey (CFS) data shows that Connecticut would be shooting its own economy right in the foot if it passes trucks-only tolls on existing interstate bridges,” Sculley said. “The large majority of freight that is moved by truck in Connecticut involves a truck taking freight (goods) from one place to another within the state.”

Recent CFS data shows that 197.1 million tons of freight was moved by truck in Connecticut annually. Of that, 62% (more than 122 million tons) of the total freight moved by truck simply goes from one place in Connecticut to another. The CFS data further shows that only 26%, or 51.4 million tons, are moved by truck into Connecticut from out-of-state trading partners.

“For all the talk about out-of-state trucks, this data shows that truck-only tolls will be merely another blow to our state’s economy,” Sculley said.

See the complete article from CT News Junkie online.

Connecticut Resources

Connecticut offers online adjudication of traffic infractions

Did you know that the State of Connecticut offers online adjudication of traffic infractions and payable violations? This service is a recent addition by the Judicial Branch’s Centralized Infractions Bureau, which can save both individuals and motor carriers time while either admitting or contesting traffic violations.

With the advent of this service, an on-line process is now voluntarily available so that a court appearance or two is not absolutely necessary.  If there is an infraction or payable violation issued, the company or driver (the accused) can log in to the judicial system’s website.

Upon logging in, if choosing to plead guilty, payment can be submitted online via credit card. To plead not guilty, the accused can submit online, evidence and/or explanation in support of the not guilty plea, which will be reviewed by the state’s attorney (prosecutor). After review, the prosecutor can require a court appearance, substitute the charge, reduce the fine, or even “nolle” the case, and the accused will be notified of the decision electronically. (When a case is “nolled,” it means the state chooses not to prosecute them but reserves the right to re-open the case and prosecute it within 13 months. That will usually only happen if additional, prosecutable charges are committed at a separate time.) If the accused accepts an offer for which payment is required, payment by credit card online is available.

The online process has proven to save time for everyone. Adjudication time has been cut way down, which is a positive thing. It should be noted that at any time during the process, the accused can choose to stop using the online system, and can physically go to court to have the case further adjudicated.

MTAC sees no downside of using the online adjudication system. The best-case scenario is a somewhat favorable or fully favorable outcome that saves time because it was done online. The worst-case scenario is the accused decides, at any point, that online adjudication is not for them, and they can decide to physically go to court for the remainder of the adjudication process.

Finally, the State’s Judicial Branch has a very informative website on this issue.

No “soft enforcement” after AOBRD ELD exemption ends Dec. 16

From Transport Topics.

Commercial vehicle inspectors will not offer a “soft enforcement” grace period for truckers who have not migrated to electronic logging devices from grandfathered automatic onboard recording devices by Dec. 17, the date that full enforcement of the federal ELD rule takes effect.

Unless a motor carrier operates under a short-haul rule exemption, all truckers without an ELD onboard, or those who have not converted their AORBDs to an ELD, will face an out-of-service violation after the Dec. 16 deadline.

There are no excuses for not having an ELD for truckers who are required to, nor will there be any warnings or exceptions, said Collin Mooney, executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.

But Mooney said he believes most carriers will be in compliance by the deadline.

“We’re taking a pulse largely from the ELD manufacturers,” Mooney told Transport Topics. “Earlier in the year, they were a little concerned that we were going to have this flood of last-minute conversions. However, the vendors, in working with their clients, believe everybody has either migrated already or will be migrated in time.”

See the complete article from Transport Topics online.

$44 Million in funding available to reduce diesel emissions

From US EPA – Grant funding prioritized for areas facing air quality challenges.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the availability of grant funding to implement projects aimed at reducing emissions from the nation’s existing fleet of older diesel engines. Applications should be submitted no later than Feb. 26, 2020.

EPA is soliciting applications nationwide for projects that significantly reduce diesel emissions and exposure, especially from fleets operating at goods movements facilities in areas designated as having poor air quality. Applicants may request funding to upgrade or replace diesel-powered buses, trucks, marine engines, locomotives and nonroad equipment with newer, cleaner technologies. Priority for funding will also be given to projects that engage and benefit local communities and applicants that demonstrate their ability to promote and continue efforts to reduce emissions after the project has ended.

Background

Under this competition, EPA anticipates awarding between 40 and 60 assistance agreements. Applicants must request funding from the EPA regional office which covers the geographic project location. The maximum amount of federal funding that may be requested per application varies by EPA Region.

  • Region 1 (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont) will accept proposals requesting up to $1 million in grant funds.

More information and to access the Request for Applications are available online now.

For more information on the National Clean Diesel campaign, visit the EPA’s Clean Diesel website.

CT DMV eliminates unnecessary paperwork requirement

The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has implemented a new policy that will eliminate the need for unnecessary paperwork at the time of vehicle registration. Specifically, the new policy holds that a Federal Annual Inspection (FAI) report will no longer be required when registering a new commercial motor vehicle.

MTAC applauds the implementation of this policy which will improve the efficiency of vehicle registration, by eliminating unnecessary administrative burdens relating to the paperwork. MTAC members have experienced considerable problems as a result of former policies regarding FAI reports for brand new vehicles, but those issues should be fully resolved as a result of this change.

MTAC and DMV agree: it is the responsibility of the motor carrier to comply with federal regulations regarding FAIs once they are put into service. DMV employees do not need to be checking FAI reports for brand new vehicles that just rolled off the assembly line. Their focus should be on the efficient registration of vehicles. (Reminder: DMV is now allowing commercial truck dealers to process commercial (non-IRP) registrations.)

As a reminder of FAI requirements, please review this summary from the FMCSA website: “Every commercial vehicle, including each segment of a combination vehicle, requires periodic inspection that must be performed at least once every 12 months. At a minimum, inspections must include all items enumerated in the Minimum Periodic Inspection Standards, Appendix G to Subchapter B of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Motor carriers may perform required annual inspections themselves. The original or a copy of the periodic inspection report must be retained by the motor carrier for 14 months from the report date.”

MTAC thanks DMV Commissioner Magubane and her leadership team for implementing another common-sense policy that will improve DMV efficiency and benefits business.

Power & Politics on News 12 CT

This archived broadcast News 12 Connecticut on Nov. 24 features an interview with MTAC President Joe Sculley. The portion of the interview featuring Sculley begins at the 13:17 mark.

MTAC members receive Connecticut emission reduction grants

Recently, Gov. Lamont had announced the release of $6 million in Volkswagen settlement funds. Of the $6 million, five MTAC members received grants totaling $1.2 million.

From CT DEEP.

Fifteen projects receive funding; third round to focus on electrification.

Governor Ned Lamont today announced that the State of Connecticut is making available $6 million from the legal settlement in the Volkswagen (VW) Corporation emissions cheating scandal to fund 15 clean air projects in the state. Administered through the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), Connecticut is making these funds available for a variety of vehicle electrification and diesel mitigation projects. The projects announced today are part of the second funding cycle under the distribution of the state’s VW settlement funding.

“Climate change is not a future problem; it’s real, it’s now and it cannot be ignored. It is imperative that we make every effort to reduce emissions,” Governor Lamont said. “The projects we are supporting through the VW settlement funds will go a long way in helping to improve air quality and protect public health in Connecticut, while also providing economic development opportunities.”

The complete release from DEEP, as well as the list of grant awardees, can be viewed online.