MTAC visits Nutmeg International

This week, MTAC President Joe Sculley visited MTAC Board Member Alan Baumert at Nutmeg International Trucks’ Hartford location. Nutmeg International opened in September 1978. Their leasing arm, J.T.& S. Idealease was established in May 1983, for leasing and renting trucks across the region.

Nutmeg/JT&S has since grown to five locations; three full service dealerships and one parts only location in Connecticut, as well as one full service location in West Springfield, Mass. J.T.& S. has expanded its lease and rental fleet to over two hundred units since its inception. Nutmeg/J.T.& S. offers expertise in all areas of truck service, whether customers are a national fleet, local fleet, or a landscaper with one truck. With over thirty years of dealership experience, their seasoned sales, parts and service staff have the knowledge and experience to craft solutions to transportation needs quickly and with minimal down time.

Visit Nutmeg International online.

DOT proposes increases in rail, bus fares

From the Connecticut Post, with emphasis added.

The state Department of Transportation is proposing to increase rail and bus fares to deal with $37 million in cuts from the new state budget that began on July 1.

It’s proposing a 5 percent fare increase on the Metro-North New Haven commuter rail line, including the New Canaan, Danbury and Waterbury branches and Shore Line East effective Dec. 1. These hikes would generate about $5.9 million in new revenue. On the New Haven Line, the increase on Dec. 1 would be combined with a 1 percent previously scheduled fare increase that supports the purchase of the new M-8 rail cars that the state put into service beginning in 2010.”

It also plans reductions of staffed hours at seven highway rest areas. The seven staffed rest areas will be closed overnight, but truck parking will be permitted.

Read the full article online at the Connecticut Post.

Industry asked to rank top concerns

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), the trucking industry’s not-for-profit research organization, today launched the 2016 Top Industry Issues Survey. The annual survey, commissioned by the American Trucking Associations (ATA), asks trucking industry stakeholders to rank the top issues of concern for the industry along with appropriate strategies for addressing each issue. The survey is in its 12th year and participation by trucking stakeholders has grown each year.

“In complex times like this it is critical that we do our part to help ensure a thriving future for the trucking industry,” said ATA Chairman Pat Thomas, Sr. Vice President, State Government Affairs, UPS, Inc. “With your participation, we can speak with a collective industry voice on the issues most important to us.” The results of the 2016 survey will be released at the ATA Annual Management Conference and Exhibition, to be held October 1-4, 2016 in Las Vegas.

Industry stakeholders are encouraged to complete the survey within the next two weeks.

Call on Washington Sept. 27 & 28

MTAC’s “Call on Washington” is scheduled for the last week of September. This annual event provides a great opportunity for MTAC members to meet with the Connecticut Congressional delegation to talk about issues that are important to the industry. Our message needs to be delivered by MTAC members directly to our elected officials and their senior staff members in order to maximize effectiveness. All members should strongly consider participating in this trip to Washington, DC.

The schedule will include Capitol Hill briefings and meetings beginning the afternoon of Sept. 27 and all day on Sept. 28, followed by group dinners. Interested members can travel to Washington on the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 27 in order to be there for briefings beginning mid-afternoon of that day. Departure could be the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 28 or the morning of Sept. 29.

Each participating member will be responsible for the cost of their travel and hotel rooms. There are a couple of area hotels that provide preferred room rates.

If you are interested in participating, contact MTAC to receive more details about the trip.

MTAC annual meeting set for Oct. 27

Mark your calendars for the 96th MTAC Annual Meeting, which will be held on Thursday, Oct. 27 at Maneeley’s in South Windsor, Conn. This will be a worthwhile meeting featuring educational sessions on FMCSA compliance (including ELDs), International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) changes and compliance, a roadside and pre-trip inspection demonstration, a trade show, and more.

This meeting will also feature speeches from invited guests like Connecticut Senate Majority Leader Len Fasano, co-chairman of Connecticut’s Joint Finance Committee, Rep. Jeff Berger, and new American Trucking Associations (ATA) President and CEO Chris Spear.

More information on this event will follow in the near future.

Connecticut readies for modified “ban-the-box” law

Excerpt from Hartford Business Journal.

Connecticut recently enacted the Fair Chance Employment Act that is a modified “ban-the-box” law. It applies to all employers in both the public and private sectors and is effective Jan. 1, 2017.

The law prohibits employers from inquiring about a prospective employee’s prior arrests, criminal charges or convictions on an initial employment application, unless the employer is required to do so by an applicable state or federal law, or a security or fidelity bond, or an equivalent bond, is required for the position for which the prospective employee is seeking employment.

Unlike broader ban-the-box laws in some other jurisdictions, Connecticut’s Fair Chance Employment Act does not prohibit employers from inquiring about a prospective employee’s criminal history until the employer first makes a conditional offer of employment to the applicant.

Read the full article at the Hartford Business Journal.

Senate confirms Scott Darling as FMCSA administrator

Excerpt from Transport Topics.

Before adjourning for seven weeks, the Senate on July 14 confirmed Scott Darling to lead the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Darling had been the agency’s acting administrator.

He was confirmed by unanimous consent. Darling had waited about half a year for the chamber to take up his nomination.

“I am pleased that the Senate confirmed Darling to be the next administrator of FMCSA. As the acting administrator over the last 11 months, Scott has been laser-focused on the agency’s mission of reducing large bus and truck crashes and fatalities,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

“He goes the extra mile to engage actively and personally with the agency’s stakeholders. His collaborative approach has moved the ball forward on commercial motor vehicle safety. I look forward to our continued work together and congratulate him on his confirmation,” Foxx added.

Read the full article at Transport Topics.

Extension of Unified Registration System effective date

FMCSA is delaying the implementation of the final stage of the Unified Registration System (URS) until Jan. 14, 2017, with a new full compliance date of April 14, 2017. This is a three month extension. The agency is currently updating its information technology systems and undertaking a complex migration of millions of records to remote storage servers. This work will provide the agency and its state partners a foundation to successfully launch the final stage of URS.

The agency estimates that the initial phase of URS, launched in December 2015, has saved the industry approximately $1.6 million in processing time during the first six months. To date, FMCSA has issued 62,000 USDOT numbers, removed 340,000 dormant USDOT numbers from agency databases, and screened 100 percent of operating authority applications for reincarnated carriers.

Click here to read the Federal Register notice.

FMCSA announces plans for Crash-Accountability Demonstration Program

Excerpt from Transport Topics article:

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on July 11 outlined plans for a two-year demonstration program that would allow certain non-preventable crashes to be removed from motor carriers’ public and private safety scores.

The policy shift is being proposed after long-standing industry concerns that all crashes currently are being recorded in Compliance, Safety, Accountability program safety scores, whether or not the carrier is at fault.

The demonstration program, which was outlined in two separate Federal Register announcements, was introduced July 12.

FMCSA said the crash accountability process could be generated by a carrier’s request for a data review accompanied by a variety of documentation. That could include proof of a conviction of the party causing the crash, law enforcement reports, insurance reports from all parties involved in the crash and any other relevant information.

The agency said it is seeking comment 60 days after the two announcements are published in the Federal Register, expected this week. FMCSA wants to know what other documentation would be sufficient to allow the agency or a third-party contractor to make a non-preventable crash determination.

Specifically, FMCSA said the demonstration program would consider allowing the removal of crashes from a carrier’s safety record when a commercial motor vehicle was struck by motorists convicted of driving under the influence, driving in the wrong direction, striking a CMV in the rear or striking a CMV when it was legally stopped.

Read more at Transport Topics.

Notes on filing IRS Form 2290

From Bob Pitcher, State Laws Newsletter.

The annual filing for the federal heavy vehicle use tax, which is reported on Internal Revenue Form 2290, is due at the end of August. Most larger fleets probably file electronically, and that seems most efficient. E-filing of the 2290 is not free however, carriers will need to use a third party’s e-filing system.

Filers also need to have a federal employer identification number to file electronically; IRS will not accept a social security number. An EIN is easy – and free – to get, directly from the IRS at www.irs.gov. Finally, we note that while it is still possible for carriers to file in person at an IRS office, those offices no longer accept walk-in traffic for that purpose; you must have an appointment. (And IRS no longer has offices in some states at all.)

Appointments may be made by calling an IRS office or at www.irs.gov.