FedEx: Putting the speed in Operation Warp Speed

From The Daily Memphian.

It’s FedEx’s time to shine — and by extension, Memphis’ time — when shipments of COVID-19 vaccines start moving from manufacturers to hospitals, clinics and pharmacies across America in latter December.

A Dec. 3 visit by Vice President Mike Pence and top public health officials to the home turf of Memphis-based FedEx drove home the critical role of FedEx in distributing the vaccines touted as the cure for a devastating global pandemic.

FedEx, American rival United Parcel Service and Germany’s DHL are all expected to play major parts in vaccine distribution. But Pence, leader of the Trump administration’s COVID-19 task force, singled out “a great American company,” FedEx, to highlight at a roundtable discussion on vaccines and their distribution.

“When we started to get word that we might have a vaccine by the end of the year, people said, ‘It’s one thing to develop a vaccine, it’s another thing about distributing it to millions of Americans…,’” Pence said.

See the complete article from the Daily Memphian online.

Trucks already pay, don’t penalize these heroes with tolls

Letter to the Editor by MTAC President Joe Sculley.

Paul Choiniere’s Nov. 29 column states, “But if those trucks gas up elsewhere, Connecticut will see no increased revenue from them, because Connecticut does not have tolls.” This is false, as I detailed in a previous letter to The Day, which the paper graciously published on July 26, 2018.

Connecticut does in fact collect tax and fee revenue from out-of-state trucks, regardless of where they fuel up. My previous letter referenced the fact that Connecticut had received $26 million to $30 million annually from out-of-state trucks. Since that letter was published, Connecticut did see increased revenue from those trucks. Data from the state shows that more than $40 million in combined revenue was collected through the International Registration Plan and the International Fuel Tax Agreement in 2018.

An out-of-state truck does not even need to stop in Connecticut in order to pay these taxes. If a commercial truck weighing more than 26,000 pounds drives through Connecticut, it must pay taxes on the miles it drives and the fuel it uses while in the state.

On a related note, the trucking industry has played a vital role during the COVID-19 pandemic by getting food to grocery stores so that shelves emptied by panicked shoppers could be refilled. Trucking companies continue to transport medical equipment to hospitals and medicine to pharmacies. They are going to play a big role in getting vaccine doses to where they need to go.

See the complete letter to the editor online.

Will Connecticut legislators raise the gas tax?

From CT Mirror.

With tolls off the table in 2021, state officials could look to gasoline tax hikes to salvage Connecticut’s imperiled transportation program.

And while neither Gov. Ned Lamont nor legislators have proposed an increase, one of the arguments most frequently used to defeat it — Connecticut’s gas taxes are among the nation’s highest — no longer holds true.

An analysis of states’ fuel tax burdens by the American Petroleum Institute showed Connecticut’s levies — which contribute about 36 cents per gallon to the price — rank slightly below the national average and 15th nationwide.

The API, a national trade association for the oil and natural gas industry, did rank Connecticut’s 69-cents-per-gallon diesel tax ninth overall among states, and seven pennies greater than the national average.

“I do anticipate a conversation around fuel taxes” during the next General Assembly session, said Rep. Roland Lemar, D-New Haven, co-chairman of the Transportation Committee. The session convenes Jan. 6.

See the complete article from CT Mirror online.

FMCSA extends emergency declaration to Feb. 28

FMCSA has announced that they have expanded and extended the Emergency Declaration that was set to expire on Dec. 31. This extension includes the same regulatory relief for motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in support of relief efforts related to COVID-19, as included in the Sept. 11 modified and extended declaration. The primary change with this current declaration is the inclusion of vaccine transportation.

The expanded declaration is limited to the transportation of:

  1. Livestock and livestock feed;
  2. Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19;
  3. Vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of COVID-19;
  4. Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants, and;
  5. Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.

Please note, this expanded declaration became effective at 12:00 A.M. December 1st, and expires on February 28th, 2021.

As with previous declarations, emergency regulatory relief is provided from parts 390 through 399 of the FMCSRs, including the hours-of-service regulations. Emergency relief does not include certain FMCSR’s related to the safe operation of CMVs, such as controlled substance and alcohol testing, financial responsibility requirements, CDL requirements, operation of a CMV while ill or fatigued, size and weight requirements, and additional FMCSR’s which are outlined in the declaration.

We encourage everyone to review the applicability, restrictions, and limitations which are included in the exemption online.

Get answers to ELD-related questions

FMCSA provides answers to frequently asked questions about ELDs. Consult these FAQs when you have an ELD-related question, as the answer may already be at your fingertips.

Some of the questions included in FMCSA’s FAQ include:

  • What are the key requirements of the ELD rule?
  • Who must comply with the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule?
  • What are the exceptions to the ELD mandate?
  • What is the carrier’s responsibility in ensuring that they are using a registered device?

See the answers to these questions, and many more, at this FMCSA website.

Connecticut Resources

Unemployment Trust Fund goes broke, businesses on the hook

From NBC Connecticut.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on Connecticut’s workforce. A record number of people have filed for unemployment this year and hundreds of thousands of residents are currently collecting those benefits.

As a result, the unemployment insurance trust fund has run dry and the state is borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government to pay claims.

“The state takes out the loan, but it’s actually businesses that pay it back with interest. In fact, significant interest,” Eric Gjede, vice president of government affairs for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, said.

See the complete article from NBC Connecticut online.

Study points to greater gas price impacts from transpo pact

From Southcoast Today.

A new study of the cap-and-trade program under development by Northeast states to reduce carbon emissions from cars and trucks found that the program could be more than twice as expensive for drivers than previously estimated, with the pandemic potentially playing a major role in how effective the Transportation Climate Initiative will be.

The Center for State Policy Analysis (CSPA) at Tufts University concluded that TCI would help reduce carbon emissions across the region and generate significant revenue for participating states to invest in clean energy alternatives and public health.

The tradeoff, however, would be increases in gasoline and diesel prices from as little at 3 cents to as much as 47 cents per gallon in 2022, according to the report released Thursday. The wide range takes in account a variety of factors, including how aggressively states try to reduce emissions and the health of the economy as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

See the complete article from Southcoast Today online.

IRS issues guidance on disallowing PPP-funded expenses for 2020 tax year

From Wipfli.

On November 18, the IRS released Revenue Ruling 2020-27, which states that a taxpayer who reasonably expects full PPP loan forgiveness is not allowed to deduct expenses up to the loan forgiveness amount for the year in which the expenses are incurred.

The IRS laid out two situations for calendar-year taxpayers in the revenue ruling.

In situation one, the taxpayer incurs qualified PPP expenses and applies for loan forgiveness in November 2020. The taxpayer satisfies all the requirements under the CARES Act for loan forgiveness, but they do not receive notice from the lender on loan forgiveness before their year-end.

In situation two, the facts are the same except the taxpayer has not filed their loan forgiveness application before their year-end. The taxpayer intends to file the loan forgiveness application in 2021 and reasonably expects full loan forgiveness.

According to the IRS, in both situations the taxpayer can’t deduct expenses funded with PPP loans in the year incurred because they have a reasonable expectation of forgiveness. The IRS position is that at the end of the tax year, the reimbursement of their eligible expenses, in the form of covered loan forgiveness, is reasonably foreseeable, making it inappropriate to claim the deductions.

See the complete post from Wipfli online.

MTAC produces pro-trucking video

MTAC has produced a pro-trucking video which focuses on the critical role the trucking industry, and specifically truck drivers, held in keeping our country going during the worst times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please view the video, share with your drivers, and post on social media.

New payroll tax may surprise Connecticut residents

From NBC Connecticut.

Beginning on January 1 an estimated 1.7 million workers in the state of Connecticut will see a half of a percent of every paycheck go to the CT Paid Leave Authority trust fund. However, they won’t be able to access any paid leave for one year.

See the complete story from NBC Connecticut online.