MTAC opposes taxpayer funded bailout of toll operators

MTAC signed on to a letter sent to Congress, which opposes sending taxpayer money to toll road operators. The letter to Congress says, in part, “As America’s conveyor belt, our highway system, which trucks utilize to move 71% of the nation’s freight, must continue to be maintained and improved. The significant loss of revenue due to a precipitous drop-off in fuel purchases is straining transportation department budgets and has forced states to delay or cancel thousands of transportation projects.

We join with state transportation departments and other groups to support additional federal funding to ensure that projects are not delayed or canceled. However, we are concerned that a request from the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Authority for $9.245 billion in federal subsidies for tolling authorities could jeopardize the allocation of funds for state departments of transportation.

Unlike transportation agencies, most tolling authorities have the ability to ride out this crisis. Privately-financed and publicly controlled toll facilities are funded through complex financial deals that have many factors contributing to their ability to endure short-term revenue drops, including overall liquidity levels, reserve accounts for debt service payments, existing cash on hand, and financial instruments securing their obligations to the public.

Congress should focus on using public funds to protect the average American worker with direct investments in infrastructure rather than spending taxpayer dollars on sophisticated entities like project financiers.”

See the full text of the letter to Congress online.

Managing your unoccupied premises

From MTAC partner Acadia Insurance

Unoccupied buildings may be at risk of fire caused by arson or an electrical malfunction, vandalism, loss of materials or property damage from break-ins, unapproved use by squatters, and/or general deterioration from natural causes. Although the building may be temporarily closed, property owners and business owners should follow certain measures to help reduce the risk of loss or damage occurring while the building is not in use.

Before Shutting Down

  • To prevent pipes from freezing, any heating units should be adjusted so that the temperature in the building is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or greater
  • Mail delivery services should be put on hold or redirected
  • Unnecessary building contents should be removed, including any combustible materials
  • Employee keys and access passes should be collected

Weekly Inspections

  • The premises should be inspected on a weekly basis at a minimum
  • All inspections should be formally documented
  • Any identified damage should be reported and mitigated as soon as possible

See the complete post from Acadia Insurance online.

Gov. Lamont Executive Order on Face Coverings

Governor Ned Lamont has issued an Executive Order requiring face coverings in certain situations in public, and in the workplace. The order is effective at 8 p.m. on Monday, April 20, 2020. The Governor’s Executive Order required the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to update their Safe Workplace rules to incorporate the face covering order, and DECD has update those rules, which can be seen here.

The main points of the updated Safe Workplace rules are as follows:

Masks or Cloth Face Coverings Required

  • Each employee shall be required to wear a mask or other cloth material that covers his or her mouth and nose at all times while in the workplace. Employers shall issue such masks or cloth face coverings to their employees. In the event an employer is unable to provide masks or cloth face coverings to employees because of shortages or supply chain difficulties, employers must provide the materials and CDC tutorial about how to create a cloth face covering, or compensate employees for the reasonable and necessary costs employees expend on such materials to make their own masks or cloth face covering.
  • Nothing in these rules shall require the use of a mask or cloth face covering by anyone for whom doing so would be contrary to his or her health or safety because of a medical condition.
  • If a person declines to wear a mask or cloth face covering because of a medical condition as described above, such person shall not be required to produce medical documentation verifying the stated condition.

MTAC recommends that members complete a full review of the Safe Workplace rules, because it has additional rules and guidance on the following:

  • Controlling contact between employees and other employees or customers
  • Eliminating transmission points
  • Guidelines for essential employees
  • Guidelines for employees who had close contact with a person with symptoms of or have been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Guidelines for workplace illness, additional rules specific to construction sites

Connecticut truck drivers a critical link during COVID-19 pandemic

MTAC President Joe Sculley, and professional truck driver Tony Spero from MTAC member ABF Freight, are featured in this video report which originally aired on April 15, 2020.

Click here to see an archived version of the report from NBC Connecticut.

To help feed truckers, food trucks allowed at four Connecticut rest areas

From Middletown Press.

Food trucks will now be permitted to set up in several rest areas along Connecticut highways, with the goal of feeding hungry truckers and other essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The action is the result of an Executive Order issued by Governor Ned Lamont, lifting restrictions on commercial activity in highway rest areas.

The directive comes in the wake of recently suspended enforcement of federal prohibitions against the commercialization of rest areas nationwide, to free states to provide additional necessities.

“These truck drivers are keeping Connecticut moving and are providing critical necessities to and through our state during this national crisis. We need to make it as easy as possible to keep them fed around the clock,” DOT Commissioner Joseph J. Giulietti said in a release.

Read the complete article from the Middletown Press online.

TSA grants exemption for expired TWIC cards

From Landline Magazine.

A temporary exemption regarding the expiration of certain Transportation Worker Identification Credentials has been granted, the Transportation Security Administration has announced.

TSA’s notice of temporary exemption is set to publish in the Federal Register on Wednesday, April 15. TWIC cards that expired on or after March 1 will be extended for 180 days. According to TSA, the exemption became effective on April 10 and will remain in effect through July 31, unless otherwise modified.

The decision is in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to about one-third of TSA’s TWIC enrollment centers being closed.

“For those that are operating, the process of collecting fingerprints, which is required for TWIC and completing the enrollment process may introduce risk to enrollment center staff or TWIC applicants,” the notice stated.

See the complete article from Landline online.

ATA’s Costello: Q2 will be brutal

From Transport Topics.

The U.S. gross domestic product will decline by more than 20% on an annualized basis in the second quarter as a result of the coronavirus and the economic shutdown, American Trucking Associations’ chief economist forecasts.

“We will never have experienced — since they began making quarterly GDP numbers — the number that is about to hit us for the second quarter,” Bob Costello told Transport Topics. “I’m not a doctor, I’m not a health expert, so what makes this difficult for people like me is what I can’t tell you: When is this going to end?”

If you’re expecting normal to be something like it was before March 11 when most of the nation shut down, Costello said that won’t happen soon.

See the complete article from Transport Topics online.

FAQs fo state driver licensing agencies and commercial drivers

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has compiled a list of responses to frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding actions State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLA) or commercial driver’s license holders may take during the public health emergency related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) that are permissible under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs).

This guidance document does not have the force and effect of law and is not meant to bind the public in any way. This guidance is intended only to provide clarity regarding existing requirements under the law.

Click here to see the expanded FAQ document from FMCSA.

Trump says trucking CEOs to help advise on economic recovery

From Transport Topics.

American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear is among the prominent business executives tapped by President Donald Trump to help revive the economy as the coronavirus pandemic shows signs of easing in some parts of the country.

“They’re going to give us some ideas,” Trump said April 14 at a briefing in the Rose Garden, where he unveiled a sprawling list of dozens of CEOs from industries ranging from agriculture to defense.

Trucking companies identified by Trump included UPS Inc., FedEx Corp., J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. and YRC Worldwide. Those companies represent four of the top six fleets ranked on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.

Trump mentioned FedEx CEO Fred Smith and UPS CEO David Abney by name. J.B. Hunt CEO John Roberts III and YRC CEO Darren Hawkins will also be part of the administration’s Great American Economic Revival initiative.

See the complete article from Transport Topics online.

Reminder on left lane restrictions

In conjunction with the Connecticut State Police, MTAC respectfully reminds all carriers that busses, commercial vehicles, and vehicles with trailers are prohibited from operating in the third (left) lane on a three-lane limited access highway.

Connecticut law enforcement officials have reported receiving numerous complaints from vehicle operators regarding violation of this law (CT General Statutes 14-230a), especially on I-95 in Fairfield and New Haven County. The State Police are requesting that all carriers comply by not operating in the left lane, as we all focus on getting through the pandemic.

The professionalism of commercial truck drivers will help ensure the safety on Connecticut roads.