Connecticut trucking firms get diesel tax break

Excerpt from Connecticut Mirror article:

While Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the legislature grabbed plenty of headlines this spring by not hiking state taxes, a huge drop in a crucial state fuel tax this summer has garnered less attention.

Connecticut’s tax on diesel fuel, which is fixed annually each summer with a statutory formula based on wholesale gasoline prices, fell 17 percent from 50.3 cents per gallon to 41.7, the Department of Revenue Services reported.

The levy also is down 25 percent from the 54.5 cents per gallon rate imposed two years ago.

“Fuel is the second-biggest cost to a trucking company besides labor,” Joseph R. Sculley, president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut, said Friday. The Association represents more than 800 trucking and trucking-related businesses.

And Sculley noted that lower transportation costs assists a wide range of retail goods that are transported to stores by truck.

Read the full article online.

Trucking regulations seek to drive down emissions, fuel consumption

Excerpt from NPR article:

New rules from the federal government will put tighter regulations on the trucking industry. The restrictions are aimed at cutting carbon pollution and bolstering fuel efficiency.

Beginning in 2018, the new rules will require cleaner, more fuel-efficient engines in new trucks and buses. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the changes will cut greenhouse gas emissions by approximately one billion metric tons, drop fuel consumption for tractor trailers by up to 24 percent, and set a worldwide example for how to combat climate change.

But how will the changes impact Connecticut truckers?

“Most of the trucking companies based here in Connecticut are small businesses,” said Joseph Sculley from the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut. Sculley said the trucking industry wants to see emissions go down, but with this, and prior emission mandates from the EPA, the changes are hard to keep up with.

The full text of the story, as well as an audio file of an on-air broadcast with statements by MTAC President Joe Sculley, is available on the NPR website. The audio is also embedded below.

Audio

Register for MTAC Annual Meeting

MTAC is pleased to announce that new American Trucking Associations (ATA) President and CEO Chris Spear will be our guest speaker at this year’s meeting. Members should attend the Annual Meeting to hear Mr. Spear talk about the industry’s priorities and his plans for moving the ATA federation forward.

At this year’s meeting, MTAC will honor two state legislators who serve at the Capitol in Hartford. Come learn about why Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-New Haven) and House Finance Committee Chairman Jeff Berger (D-Waterbury) were selected to receive the MTAC State Senator of the Year and State Representative of the Year awards. Meeting attendees will hear great insight from these state legislative leaders as they will speak to the entire group.

This year’s conference will also feature educational seminars. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Division Administrator Chris Henry will teach a class which will discuss complying with the upcoming Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate, and other FMCSA rules. A seminar about complying with the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) and the ELD rule’s impact on IFTA will be taught by Connecticut Department of Revenue Services IFTA chief Rick LaRose.

There are more important events including a trade show, and a practical pre-trip and roadside inspection demonstration by MTAC safety consultant Mike Glinski and Lieutenant Don Bridge. MTAC will also honor the winners of this year’s Connecticut Truck Driving Championship.

MTAC has created a special section of our website dedicated to the meeting. Click here for the meeting homepage, and click here to register for the meeting.

Feds roll out Phase 2 of greenhouse gas reduction mandate

The Obama administration rolled out the final version of its Phase 2 rule on greenhouse gas emissions from heavy- and medium-duty trucks Aug. 16, with top administration officials saying the mandate will save 1.1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide and other GHGs through the final rollout date of 2027.

The long-anticipated rule was first described for the press by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and others. McCarthy said the three stages for truck and engine rules will be 2021, 2024 and 2027.

EPA had considered consolidating the rollout to just the first two stages but decided instead to make the standards more strict than in last year’s proposal while stretching to three stages.

The rule, which succeeds Phase 1 that has rollout dates of January 2014 and January 2017, also will cover trailers for the first time, but no details on that were released immediately.

Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, said she supports the rule, even though it does not include provisions for tightening standards on nitrogen oxide compounds, or NOx.

New Classes: Fall brake seminar schedule

Brake training classes that will be held at the MTAC building have been scheduled for fall 2016.

Federal regulations require that any employee responsible for brake inspections, maintenance, service, or repairs on any commercial motor vehicle must understand the brake service or inspection task to be accomplished. The best way to do that is through “participation in a training program sponsored by a brake or vehicle manufacturer or similar commercial training program.” (FMCSR 396.25)

Attend these classes in order to meet the federal standards, and add a Certificate of Training to the personnel file of everyone who works on your brake systems. Instructor John White of FleetPro® is certified in all types of braking systems and has been responsible for training hundreds of mechanics and drivers in commercial brake systems. John’s teaching style and his active classroom environment makes him one of the most sought after instructors in the Northeast.

  • Air System Brake Seminar will be held at MTAC on Sept. 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Commercial Brake Seminar will be held at MTAC on Oct. 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • ABS Seminar will be held at MTAC on Nov. 17 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

I-95 North lane closures, Waterford, Aug. 22 – 29

In order to perform an Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) operation, where a bridge section is built adjacent to its final location and moved into place quickly once constructed, the Connecticut Department of Transportation will be implementing 34-hour lane closures on I-95 Northbound in Waterford.

Interstate 95 northbound over Oil Mill Road in the town of Waterford will have one lane closed on Aug. 22 through Aug. 24, as well as Aug. 29 through Aug. 31. Significant traffic delays are expected.

The ABC process consists of four “slides,” where one half of each of the two bridges will be slid into place to accelerate construction and minimize impacts and inconveniences to the traveling public.

The first slide will begin on Monday, Aug. 22 at 8 p.m. and is planned to take 34-hours bringing the completion time to Aug. 24 at 6 a.m. The second slide will begin on Monday, Aug. 29 at 8 p.m. and is also planned to take 34-hours bringing the completion time to Aug. 31 at 6 a.m.

Each of these slides will require one of the two lanes on I-95 northbound be closed for the duration of the 34-hours. Significant traffic delays are expected and it is recommended that alternate routes are used during the closures.

The third and fourth slides are currently scheduled to be performed in October 2016. A future press release will be issued for these slides when exact dates are known.

August 2016 Lane Closure Information

  • I-95 Northbound high speed lane closure will occur Aug. 22 at 8 p.m. through Aug. 24 at 6 a.m.
  • I-95 Northbound low speed lane closure will occur Aug. 29 at 8 p.m. through Aug. 31 at 6 a.m.

DOT Motorist Advisory online.

Safety Advisory: Battery-powered electronic smoking devices

Excerpt from FMCSA release:

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is issuing this safety advisory to provide notice and information to owners and operators of CMVs concerning incidents that have occurred relating to the possession and use of battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices (e.g., e-cigarettes, e-cigs, ecigars, e-pipes, e-hookahs, personal vaporizers, electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)) and the transportation safety risks associated with the use of these devices. Background: According to an October 2014 report from the U.S. Fire Administration, battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices were first patented in 2003 and have been available for sale in the United States since 20071. These devices have been rapidly growing in popularity as the number and selection of products expand. The devices contain a liquid, an atomizer or heating element, and a battery. When the device is operated, the heating element vaporizes the liquid which is inhaled by the user in the same manner as traditional smoking methods.

The Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) do not specifically address the potential safety risks posed by battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices. However, motor carriers and drivers should be cognizant of the risks associated with these devices and exercise good judgment and appropriate discretion in their possession, storage, charging or use on, around or while operating a CMV, and adhere to the smoking prohibitions on, near or when loading and unloading a motor vehicle transporting hazardous materials in accordance with 49 CFR 177.834(c) and 397.13.

For more information, concerning this Safety Advisory, please contact Vincent Babich, Transportation Specialist, Hazardous Materials Division, FMCSA, at (202)366-4871, or by email at vincent.babich@dot.gov.

Read the full release online.

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.