State DOT, local leaders on $10 billion highway tunnel proposal

Excerpt from The Hartford Courant.

“Regarding the project generally, highways are for moving freight and people. If we’re going to spend $5 billion or $10 billion we need to relieve congestion. If we don’t, and we end up with tolls on the highway, you’re spending more money to sit on the same congested highway,” Sculley said.

Read the full article online.

UCR fees now accepted online

Payments for Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Agreement fees for 2017 are now being accepted through the UCR website. UCR fees must be paid by any motor carrier or other entity that is required to obtain a USDOT, FF, MC or MX number and/or is required to register with FMCSA. The fee schedule is based on fleet size as follows:

  • $76 for 0 to 2 Vehicles;
  • $227 for 3 to 5 Vehicles;
  • $452 for 6 to 20 Vehicles;
  • $1,576 for 21 to 100 Vehicles;
  • $7,511 for 101 to 1000 Vehicles;
  • $73,346 for 1001 or more Vehicles;

Recently, law enforcement has been more aggressive with enforcement of compliance with the UCR Agreement. Non-payment of fees could potentially result in citations issued at roadside inspections.

FMCSA final rule on windshield-mounted technologies

From the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a final rule to amend the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to allow the voluntary mounting of certain devices on the interior of the windshields of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), including placement within the area that is swept by the windshield wipers.

Section 5301 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) directs the Agency to amend the FMCSRs to allow devices to be mounted on the windshield that utilize “vehicle safety technology.”

In addition, Section 5301 states that all windshield-mounted devices and technologies with a limited two-year exemption in effect on the date of enactment shall be considered to meet the equivalent-or-greater safety standard required for the initial exemption.

The announcement of this final rule is a non-discretionary, ministerial action that does not require prior notice and public comment under the Administrative Procedure Act.

You can read the final Federal Register notice online.

DOT cuts hours at interstate rest areas

From the Hartford Courant:

The state Department of Transportation is cutting back hours at interstate rest areas in six communities.

Beginning Friday, Rest areas along I-84 in Willington and Southington, I-95 in North Stonington and I-91 in Middletown and Wallingford will be open and staffed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. A rest area along I-84 in Danbury will be staffed 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The state said the move will save $2 million a year.

During off-hours, motorists can still pull over and park at the rest areas but the small buildings that contain restrooms, vending machines, maps and other information will be closed. A spokesman for the DOT said portable toilets would be available when the buildings were locked.

The rest areas are where motorists can pull off to stretch their legs — not the larger service plazas that remain open 24 hours a day.

The reduced hours at the rest areas come after a welcome center along I-95 in Westbrook was closed on July 27. Parking is not available at that site.

Previous attempts to permanently close the highway rest areas drew sharp rebukes from the trucking industry.

The story from the Hartford Courant is available online.

Trucking industry’s operational costs decline in 2015

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) today released the findings of its 2016 update to An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking. Using financial data provided directly by motor carriers throughout the country, this research documents and analyzes trucking costs from 2008 through 2015, providing trucking industry stakeholders with a high-level benchmarking tool, and government agencies with a baseline for future transportation infrastructure improvement analyses.

The average marginal cost per mile in 2015 was $1.59, a six percent decrease from the $1.70 found in 2014. This decline in average marginal cost per mile is attributed mostly to the steady fall in fuel prices experienced throughout 2015, but also identifies the late 2015 economic softening that continued into 2016. And, for the first time since ATRI started collecting the industry’s operational costs data, driver costs now represent a higher percentage of overall costs than does fuel.

“ATRI’s ‘ops cost’ research is an excellent barometer of the state of the nation’s economy, as it documented the softening in 2015 but also indicates that costs will be on the rise in 2016,” said Bob Costello, Chief Economist for the American Trucking Associations and a member of the ATRI Research Advisory Committee.

New to this year’s report is additional information on fleet-wide fuel economy and operating speeds and the relationship between speed limiter use and fuel economy.

Since its original publication in 2008, ATRI has received over 10,000 requests for the Operational Cost of Trucking report, and it continues to be one of the most popular reports among industry stakeholders. In addition to average costs per mile, ATRI’s report documents average costs per hour, cost breakouts by industry sector, and operating cost comparisons of U.S. regions.

A copy of this report is available from ATRI.

Register for the annual meeting

As a reminder, register for the MTAC Annual Meeting which will be held on Thursday, Oct. 27 at Maneeley’s in South Windsor. This year’s meeting includes:

  • Keynote speech from new American Trucking Associations (ATA) President and CEO Chris Spear.
  • Presentation of awards to Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-New Haven) and House Finance Committee Chairman Jeff Berger (D-Waterbury). Attendees will hear great insight from these state legislative leaders as they will speak to the entire group.
  • Educational classes taught by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Division Administrator Chris Henry, and Connecticut Department of Revenue Services IFTA chief Rick LaRose.
  • Practical pre-trip and roadside inspection demonstration by MTAC Safety Consultant Mike Glinski and Lieutenant Don Bridge.
  • Trade show

Much more. For more information, visit the Annual Meeting section of the MTAC website.

Drivewyze, Coastal Carriers & others sponsor annual meeting

MTAC is pleased to announce that several member companies have committed to generous sponsorships for the 2016 annual meeting on Oct. 27. Sponsors added this week include Drivewyze, Coastal Carriers, and Acadia Insurance.

Ensure you visit the Annual Meeting section of the MTAC website for a list of all the sponsors.

 

NBC Connecticut story on speed limiters

This week, MTAC President Joe Sculley was interviewed by NBC Connecticut for a story on a proposal from the federal government to require speed limiters on new trucks. The video is embedded below, and available online at the NBC Connecticut website.

No UCRA registration until October

By Bob Pitcher, State Laws Newsletter

Registration by motor carriers and other entities subject to the Unified Carrier Registration Agreement for the 2017 year begins soon – but not until Oct. 1. Most carriers and others register for UCR and pay their fees through the national online system operated on behalf of UCR by the Indiana Department of Revenue.

That system, however, is being upgraded for the new registration season, and Indiana has let us know that it will not be taking 2017 registrations or payments until Oct. 1. The UCR Board of Directors has asked the other states participating in UCR not to begin registration until October either.

UCR fees for next year, by the way, are the same as they have been for the last several years.

Annual meeting sponsors added

MTAC is pleased to announce that several member companies have committed to generous sponsorships for the 2016 Annual Meeting on Oct. 27.

Platinum Sponsors

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Silver Sponsors

  • New England Tractor Trailer Training School

As a reminder, MTAC is working with The Ferris Group in preparation for this year’s Annual Meeting, and accordingly, they are contacting members regarding sponsorship and trade show exhibits. Members may also contact the MTAC office directly for questions about sponsorships and exhibits.

For more information about the meeting, visit our website section dedicated to the MTAC Annual Meeting.