The American Driver
From Drivers - For Drivers
What's News - November 2008
New FHWA office to promote congestion pricing, privatization
The Federal Highway Administration has launched a new taxpayer-funded office dedicated to
the tolling of congested roadways. Officials with FHWA announced Friday, Oct. 31, that the new
Office of Innovative Program Delivery will promote congestion pricing while working with states
to reduce traffic and pay for roadway improvements.
Virginia transportation program expected to fall billions short
State and federal budgets for transportation projects in Virginia will fall more than $2 billion
short during the next six years, officials said. Virginia Department of Transportation
Commissioner David Ekern outlined how the state will deal with the shortfall. "In the future,
VDOT will be a smaller agency," he said.
New Jersey bills focus on hazmat loads, turnpike use
With the clock winding down on the legislative calendar in New Jersey, the topics of
consideration at the statehouse include hazardous materials and trucking on the New Jersey
Turnpike. One bill that would give the Delaware River Port Authority the authority to inspect
hazmat carriers and cargoes. State law now limits such inspections to the State Police, police
officers of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and specially designated state
Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Protection personnel.
Early and absentee voters include long-haul truckers
If early or absentee voting is any indication of how big the truck vote will be, it'll be
record-breaking
Power outage changes some TWIC enforcement dates
The bad news? Truckers entering most U.S. ports still will need a Transportation Worker
Identification Credential at least by April 2009. The good news - a recent power outage may
have bought some drivers a few more weeks to enroll in the program. Compliance
requirements for workers with TWIC cards at Captain of the Port zones in Buffalo, NY, Detroit,
Lake Michigan, Sault Ste. Marie and Duluth, MN, have been postponed from Oct. 31 to Dec. 1.
Average price of diesel continues to drop nationwide
The average price of on-road diesel dropped in all regions of the country this past week,
according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. With a nationwide average price of
$3.088 reported on Monday, Nov. 3, the largest single region drop was reported in the Midwest,
where the price for diesel was reported at $3.018, down from $3.244. The previous week the
nationwide average was $3.288.
 
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SPECIAL REPORT: OOIDA says Quebec reneged on speed limiter pledge
OOIDA officials say Quebec Transportation Minister Julie Boulet has reneged on previous
statements that she would wait on the rest of Canada before implementing a speed-limiter
mandate for heavy trucks in her province. “Our members are furious,” OOIDA Director of
Regulatory Affairs Rick Craig said. “Not only is Minister Boulet going back on her word, she is
also disregarding the grim implications this decision will have on trade at a time when Canada
and the U.S. can least afford it.”
Names surface for top Obama administration job at DOT
WASHINGTON — President-elect Obama is weighing an array of Washington insiders and
outsiders, including some Republicans, for top administration posts, according to Democratic
officials.
Truckers give thumbs up to the early voting process
At the national headquarters of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association in Grain
Valley, MO, officials are predicting that voting by the nation’s long-haul truckers may set records.
The truckers’ Association has more than 160,000 dues-paying members and keeps in close
touch, fielding more than 1,500 phone calls a day and hundreds of e-mail messages. “It
appears more are making it to the polls than in the past,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President
Todd Spencer on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 4. “One reason is the absentee ballot option and the
early voting process offered by a lot of states.”
Trucking company gives its two-cents’ worth on diesel tax in Illinois city
Thanks, but no thanks, is the stance one Texas trucking company is taking after finding out the
city of Mount Vernon, IL, is imposing a 2-cent-per-gallon tax on diesel fuel there. OOIDA Senior
Member David Schnautz, general manager for Clark Freight Lines Inc., in Pasadena, TX, sent a
memo out to the 200-plus company drivers, as well as the leased drivers, advising them not to
“take on fuel in Mount Vernon, IL.”
Michigan pursues road funding solutions via tax proposals
With the state of Michigan struggling to come up with solutions to help pay for road work, three
tax proposals that have been offered would require local voter approval for their enactment.
Reasons given for the shortage in the transportation budget include higher fuel costs and
soaring road construction expenses. Smaller fuel purchases, which result in less tax revenue
for the state, also are a contributing factor.
Colorado road funds could be trimmed
Funding for roads and bridges in Colorado could take a big hit under Gov. Bill Ritter’s $19.2
billion budget proposal. The governor warned this month that the state’s budget could be
slashed by one-third in 2009-2010. Reasons cited include a struggling national and global
economy. Also blamed were decreased federal funding and state transportation revenue.
Con-way Freight shutting 40 service centers
Con-way Freight, a division of Con-way Inc., is shutting the doors on 40 of its service centers
nationwide in an effort to cut costs. The move is expected to save Con-way Freight as much as
$40 million a year.
Cummins’ third-quarter earnings up; stock down
Diesel engine-maker Cummins is reporting its second best quarterly profits ever with third-
quarter earnings up 24 percent compared with the same period in 2007.
Circuit City is closing 155 stores, faces credit squeeze
Circuit City, the big computer and electronics retailer, announced Monday, Nov. 3, that it’s
closing 155 of its underperforming stores and is trying to renegotiate leases on its other
operations to save money.
OOIDA’s efforts recognized by public relations professionals
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has been honored with two silver
awards from the Greater Kansas City Public Relations Society of America. One was given for
the “Truckers for Troops Telethon” and another for a project challenging the U.S. DOT’s cross-
border trucking pilot program with Mexico.
SPECIAL REPORT: OOIDA says Quebec reneged on speed limiter pledge
OOIDA officials say Quebec Transportation Minister Julie Boulet has reneged on previous
statements that she would wait on the rest of Canada before implementing a speed-limiter
mandate for heavy trucks in her province. "Our members are furious," OOIDA Director of
Regulatory Affairs Rick Craig said. "Not only is Minister Boulet going back on her word, she is
also disregarding the grim implications this decision will have on trade at a time when Canada
and the U.S. can least afford it."
2008 retail container traffic to be lowest since 2004
WASHINGTON — Cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports fell again in
October, and 2008 is now expected to be the slowest year since 2004 as the downturn in the
nation’s economy continues, according to the monthly Port Tracker report released today by the
National Retail Federation and IHS Global Insight.
Optimistic" views follow Election Day; poll worker inspired by process
Key lawmakers and officials with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association are
expressing hope that a change in the country's administration will mean a change for the better
for highway users and truckers.
Key transportation committee members retain seats in House, Senate
The general election of 2008 didn't shake things up very much in the two congressional
committees that wrangle with transportation issues. "Overall, the Democrats increased majority
in the House and the Senate presents us with new opportunities, but also new challenges as
well," said Rod Nofziger, OOIDA's director of government affairs.
Infrastructure PPPs riskier than ever, some lawmakers say
If ever there was a time for the U.S. DOT and state governments to be cautious about leasing
public infrastructure to private investors, it's during financial uncertainty, two top lawmakers said
Tuesday, Nov. 4. They sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, urging her to
tighten up the guidelines and develop stricter criteria for public-private partnerships for
infrastructure.
EPA fines waste hauler for idling in Massachusetts
The Environmental Protection Agency has fined a trash hauling company in Massachusetts for
exceeding the state's five-minute idling limit. Waste Management of Massachusetts Inc., was
fined $27,200 for excessive idling at its depots in Stoughton, Taunton and West Boylston, MA.
The EPA has collected $329,500 in idling penalties from Capitol Waste Services, Allied Waste
Services and Waste Management.
California voters decide on several ballot questions to fund transportation
While Californians cast ballots for president and several other elected officials on Tuesday,
Nov. 4, voters in several counties throughout the state also decided on transportation-related
questions. Included below is a sampling of the results for some of those initiatives.
More truckers plan to bypass Mount Vernon fuel stops
One Texas trucking company's recent decision not to fuel up in Mount Vernon, IL, because of a
2-cent-per-gallon tax on diesel fuel there, has prompted other truckers to follow suit. After
reading about Texas-based Clark Freight Line Inc.'s decision not to fuel up their 200-plus
trucks, as well as their leased trucks, in Mount Vernon, OOIDA member Doug Geeting decided
to take action, too.
OOIDA Member says Ohio permit fees are oversize, overweight
One state's recent announcement of steep price increases for oversize and overweight permits
appears to have come with little notice, although truckers with oversize and overweight loads
have begun making their voices heard. Ohio is no longer issuing 365-day permits and the
90-day permit fee jumped from $20 to $306 on Oct. 16, and will rise to $528 in March and $750
in July, which will be 36 times the previous cost.
One toke over the line: Waiver or not, CARB reefer rule hits next month
Trucking businesses with reefer units from California take heed - the California Air Resources
Board will begin collecting data from you next month. More information about the rule is
available at:
http://www.arb.ca.gov/diesel/tru/documents/status_update_07_08.pdf
Agency seeks toll increases in Illinois; requests public comments
Illinois Tollway officials are proposing to increase tolls for heavy trucks by 60 percent - from $4
to $6.40 - by 2015. Officials with the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority recently have opened a
public comment period on the issue and will have 12 public hearings throughout the state.
Click here to visit the Illinois Tollway site, which has the meeting schedule and an online
comment form.
Michigan bills seek expanded price gouging protections
Time is running out on a pair of bills in the Michigan House that are intended to further help
protect consumers in the state from being gouged at the fuel pump. The legislative session is
scheduled to wrap up in December.
Alabama port expands with $300M container terminal
MOBILE, Ala. — The expansion of the Panama Canal by 2014 will allow much larger ships to
call on Gulf of Mexico ports, Mobile shipping officials said Thursday at the harbor's new $300
million container terminal.
Election results from across the states
Voters on Tuesday, Nov. 4, elected governors in 11 states with Democrats adding one seat.
The races were a prelude to 2010, when nearly four of every five governor's posts will be on
ballots. Also decided were nearly 80 percent of all state legislative seats throughout the nation.
Democrats this week increased their lead in gubernatorial seats claiming a 29-21 margin. In
state legislative races, there was minimal change, with only a handful of chambers switching
their majority control to the other party.
Truckers in California's Antelope Valley fight truck ban; win election
Truckers in the unincorporated Southeast Antelope Valley in California are fed up with truck
parking restrictions banning them from parking on their own property. Enforcement of the truck
parking ban prompted one owner-operator, Tom Fidger, of Littlerock, CA, to run for a seat on the
Littlerock Town Council. Fidger and truck supporter Dave Cleveland, also of Littlerock, were
both elected to Town Council seats Nov. 4.
[ This is how it's done...taking our country back.  Congratulation, Tom and Dave.  (SS) ]
Minnesota waives HOS regs for some agricultural deliveries
In Minnesota, Gov. Tim Pawlenty has signed an emergency order allowing truckers who are
hauling diesel fuel, propane or ammonia fertilizer for agricultural purposes to temporarily
ignore hours-of-service regulations. To read the governor's executive order, click
here.
Death sentence for Calvin Neyland, who killed two at Ohio trucking firm
A jury in Bowling Green, OH, on Thursday, Nov. 6, sentenced a former truck driver to death for
the murders of two men at a trucking company.
Agency seeks toll increases in Illinois; requests public comments
Illinois Tollway officials are proposing to increase tolls for heavy trucks by 60 percent - from $4
to $6.40 - by 2015. Officials with the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority recently have opened a
public comment period on the issue and will have 12 public hearings throughout the state.
Nov. 30 deadline set for Highway Hero nominations
The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. is starting its second quarter-century of celebrating heroic
truck drivers. The company announced in recent days that the search is on for U.S. and
Canadian drivers to be nominated for the 26th annual Goodyear North America Highway Hero
Awards. Nominations will be accepted through Nov. 30.
Arizona DOT wants your input on transportation
If you live in or truck in Northern Arizona, you have a stake in the future of transportation there
and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is encouraging participation. Click
here to read an Information Update from OOIDA on the matter. Click here to see the workshop
schedule and other information about the study. Click
here if you wish to submit a comment
online.
Many TWIC enrollment appointments to restart on Monday
Many truckers and other workers applying for their Transportation Worker Identification
Credential cards may be able to reschedule their appointments beginning on Monday, Nov. 10.
Some enrollment locations, however, will continue to postpone TWIC card pickups, officials
with the Transportation Security Administration announced this week.
Court stops direct observation of drug tests, for now
No one is going to be directly observing truckers - and other transportation workers - giving
urine samples for drug testing, at least for now, thanks to an emergency stay granted by the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The regulation was to go into full effect
Monday, Nov. 1.
Washington state agency posts $1.6 billion budget surplus; still wants more
Already cash-strapped truckers in Washington state have been dealt another blow recently after
the state's Department of Labor and Industries announced plans to increase workers'
compensation rates for businesses in 2009. The L&I is proposing a 3 percent increase
across-the-board for all businesses in the state, but the rates will be higher depending on a
specific industry's risk factor. Trucking industry rates would go up 8 percent.
Colorado voters kill plan to reroute money to transportation
Voters in Colorado rejected a statewide initiative - Amendment 52 - that called for routing a
portion of the state's severance tax for road and bridge work. It was intended to dedicate any
additional revenue the state generates from the tax and use it to help pay for repair projects,
with a focus on Interstate 70.
'Almost heaven, West Virginia' -except for higher turnpike tolls
Higher tolls are on their way for anyone who travels the West Virginia Turnpike, but don't go
planning those alternate routes just yet. Members of the state Parkways Authority, who met on
Thursday, Nov. 6, to discuss the issue, have not said when or how much the tolls will be. What
they did say, according to the Beckley Register-Herald, is that they will most definitely be going
up.
Diesel drops almost three cents overnight; 24 states below $3 per gallon
The price of diesel dropped nearly 3 cents overnight, according to ProMiles. The national
average for Friday morning, Nov. 7, was $3.04 a gallon, down 2.7 cents from Thursday.
Blizzard buries South Dakota; interstates 90 and 94 closed
An early snowstorm dumped close to four feet of snow on the Northern Plains on Thursday,
Nov. 6, effectively shutting down the western half of South Dakota and parts of North Dakota.
Quebec provincial election set for Dec. 8
Truckers may be interested in the happenings in Quebec because the province's transportation
minister, Julie Boulet, a member of the Quebec Liberal Party from Laviolette, has pushed to
make speed limiters mandatory on all trucks operating in the province regardless of where they
are from.
SPECIAL REPORT: New York revises truck ban plan after feds weigh in
Officials with the New York State Department of Transportation announced recently that they are
revising its plan to force heavy trucks off certain state roads. This revision comes after the
NYDOT received word from the Federal Highway Administration in late September that the
state's federal funding might be in jeopardy if the proposed truck ban regulation became law as
previously written.
Oil settles at $59.33 a barrel; gasoline continues plunge
Oil prices fell to near a 20-month low of less than $60 a barrel Tuesday as hopes waned that a
huge Chinese spending plan will do much to avert a prolonged slowdown in the global
economy.
National average price drops below the $3 mark for diesel
The average price for diesel dropped another 14.4 cents nationwide to average $2.944 per
gallon this past week. The national average is still 48.1 cents per gallon higher than the same
time period in 2007.
What goes up must come down, but for how long?
What goes up, must come down, or so it would seem right now as far as oil prices are
concerned.How far down will it go? Hard to say since many energy experts earlier in the year
were predicting high oil prices and accompanying high diesel prices to extend into 2009.
State transportation ballot initiatives: how'd they vote?
With Election Day in the side-view mirror, voters in states on both coasts have made their
decision on transportation ballot issues that will be significant to truckers and others who rely
on highways and other roads.
Hearings to address toll increases, lease of Alligator Alley
With six private firms competing to lease a South Florida toll road known as Alligator Alley, state
transportation officials are poised to enact a toll increase to guarantee the winning bidder a
profit.
For the common wealth? Virginia proposes oversize permit hikes
Virginia officials have proposed increases for oversize, overweight permit fees, not long after
the commonwealth's General Assembly called for such fees to take road damage and
maintenance into account. The fees would increase single-trip fee permits from $12 to $20,
and increase blanket one-year permits from $45 to $100, and two-year blanket permits from
$85 to $200. Overweight trucks also pay an additional mileage fee.
New Jersey legislation addresses transportation funding>
With two months remaining until New Jersey lawmakers wrap up their regular session,
multiple efforts of interest to truck drivers could draw consideration. Among them are measures
that address transportation funding. Although non-binding, the resolutions are intended to bring
attention to significant issues in the state. If approved by the Legislature, they would go to voters
in a future election.
New York City transit officials eye more bridge tolls
New York City's Metropolitan Transit Authority is considering implementing tolls on some or all
of the four bridges over the East River.
Police say Mendenhall couldn't explain blood, 'trophy'
A Nashville, TN, detective said former truck driver Bruce Mendenhall couldn't explain why he had
a large quantity of blood in his truck cab, leading him to reportedly admit to taking it from an
Indianapolis prostitute.
Oil near $56 as global markets stumble
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Oil prices plunged below $56 a barrel Wednesday as awful numbers
from retailers and a dismal outlook from automakers lent yet more evidence that the U.S. and
the rest of the globe will slash its energy use.
Veterans Day Tribute Part 1: OOIDA member urges others to never forget
Very few truckers can actually say the sight of their rigs brings people to tears after they pass
them on the highway. However, OOIDA members Rick Peters and his wife, Elizabeth, can
honestly say they have one of those rare trucks that evoke such emotion in people - both young
and old alike.
Veterans Day Tribute Part 2: OOIDA member pushes for veterans' center
Although OOIDA member Rick Peters isn't a veteran himself, he and his wife are committed to
honoring American veterans who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms he and others
enjoy here in the United States. The Peters, together with leaders from both the public and
private sectors, have formed an advisory committee for the purpose of developing an Oregon
Veterans Center in their hometown of Wilsonville, OR.
HOS final rule submitted to White House for approval
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's latest attempt to finalize the hours-of-service
regulations is under review at the White House Office of Management and Budget. FMCSA
officials have repeatedly said the rule would be released by the end of the year.
Great Dane to close Savannah plant
SAVANNAH, Ga. — Trailer manufacturer Great Dane has announced it will close its nearly 100
year-old Savannah plant early next year.
Governor could put MassPike Authority out to pasture
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is reportedly close to announcing a plan to dismantle the
Massachusetts Turnpike Authority. Patrick has talked about the possibility for months as a way
to save money and tackle debts accumulated by the Big Dig tunnel project in Boston. Although
nothing is official yet, The Associated Press and Boston Globe reported on Monday, Nov. 10,
that Patrick was set to make the announcement this week.
Los Angeles, Long Beach ports finalize bonuses for certain concessionaires
The Port of Los Angeles has reportedly moved forward with a new $50 million incentive plan for
trucking companies that do business as port concessionaires. The Cunningham Report has
reported that the Los Angeles Harbor Commission has approved giving motor carriers who are
licensed port concessionaires a $20,000 payment for each truck with a 2007 model year
engine that is committed to port drayage. The carriers also would be eligible to receive $10 per
container moved for trucks with 600 "drays per year" at the San Pedro ports, the Web site noted.
The bonus would be capped at $10,000 annually.
Companies making do with less as weak economy continues
This week in the trucking industry, the news includes job cuts, a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing,
plant closings, and a company shutting its doors.
Energy agency warns of world supply crunch
LONDON — The International Energy Agency on Wednesday predicted world energy demand
will rise 1.6 percent per year on average between 2006 and 2030 and called for massive
investment in energy infrastructure to prevent a supply squeeze.
Ontario trucker caught with more than $2 million at U.S. border
A Canadian trucker is behind bars after what border patrol agents at the Ambassador Bridge
say was the biggest cash-smuggling attempt in eastern Michigan history.
Register by Nov. 21 for best rates at CVSA symposium on EOBRs
Electronic on-board recording devices continue to be a hot topic of conversation throughout
North America - and enforcement officials are inviting drivers and others to discuss the topic
even more. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has scheduled its first ever symposium on
the subject for Dec. 1-3 at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis. For more information, or to register
online, click
here. Early registration rates apply through Nov. 21.
Manufacturers ask Bush administration, Congress for loan help
In November letters sent to President Bush and to members of Congress, the Motor &
Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) called for the establishment of a loan guarantee
program specifically for the parts supplier industry as part of the federal bailout, officially known
as the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
Dispatcher warns truckers in Pennsylvania to reroute or face fines
A truck dispatcher for a company near Parkesburg, PA, said she's tired of watching truckers
being targeted by local police for mistakenly turning onto a "no truck" route. She said she's
seen as many as four trucks in one day pulled over and cited by police for turning onto Route
372 into Parkesburg on their way to the industrial park in Atglen, PA. She said the problem is
that there are no signs posted that it's a no truck route until after they've "committed to the turn."
Pilot opens new travel center in Iowa
Pilot Travel Centers recently opened a new location in Atalissa, IA, on Interstate 80 at Exit 265.
Volvo cuts 1,000 more jobs in wake of withdrawn orders for trucks
Officials with Volvo announced the company is cutting almost 1,000 more jobs on top of the
1,400 layoffs it had already announced this fall. About 900 of the new round of cuts will be in
Sweden at the company's powertrain unit, according to The Associated Press. Another 65
workers at the Volvo powertrain plant in Hagerstown, MD, will also be laid off.
Six states working to coordinate freight, passenger movement along I-81
Transportation officials in six states are working together to streamline freight and passenger
movement in the Interstate 81 corridor from Tennessee to New York. That interstate continues
to be a major freight lane through several eastern states and the Federal Highway
Administration has granted funding for studies in recent years to improve traffic flow and fight
congestion.
Company outlines plans for SC distribution center
ORANGEBURG, S.C. — Hundreds of government and business leaders gathered Wednesday
in Orangeburg for a glimpse of the biggest economic development project ever announced for
the poor, rural county located about halfway between Columbia and Charleston.
Environmental groups sue maritime commission about L.A. port issue
Three environmental groups have sued the Federal Maritime Commission regarding its efforts
to block new licensing requirements at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The
Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and the Coalition for Clean Air filed a lawsuit
in federal court on Monday, Nov. 10, alleging that the Maritime Commission violated
environmental laws during its October attempt to block the Clean Trucks Programs at the two
ports.
Paccar's credit losses increase in third quarter
Officials with Paccar, the company that manufactures the Peterbilt, Kenworth and DAF
nameplates, reported $34.2 million in credit losses in the third quarter of 2008, nearly $12
million more than the $24.4 million in credit losses in the second quarter.
Livestock trailer with $13 million among booty from Mexican cartel bust
A massive federal takedown of a Mexican drug cartel resulted in 41 individuals being charged
and hundreds of kilos of drugs being seized - along with the discovery of a creative way to
transport cash. On Oct. 28, federal prosecutors in Atlanta charged 41 people with alleged ties to
a large-scale drug distribution and money laundering scheme in Georgia and Texas.
OOIDA will again host Truckers for Troops Telethon
Truckers are once again helping Santa during the holiday season with a special gift to those
who serve our country. OOIDA will conduct its second membership radio "telethon" Dec. 8-12.
Ten percent of the membership fees collected during the telethon will be matched by the
Association to pay for care packages to be sent to U.S. troops stationed overseas.
SPECIAL REPORT: Mandated observation of urine tests to remain on hold
Direct observation of return-to-duty and follow-up drug tests will remain discretionary for a while
longer, thanks to a ruling handed down on a case challenging a new drug testing regulation.
The regulation was to go into full effect Nov. 1. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of
Columbia granted an emergency stay on Oct. 31 that prevented the mandatory observation of
those tests. A court order issued on Nov. 12 granted a full-blown stay.
More than 500,000 U.S. jobs lost in one week
More than half a million workers in America lost their jobs this past week according to the latest
unemployment report from the government.
Bailout focus changes; GM trying to sell assets; Wal-Mart report mixed
U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has decided the government will not use billions of
dollars in taxpayer money to buy up bad mortgages as originally planned. Instead,
The Wall
Street Journal
reported that Paulson will focus on buying stock in troubled banks as well as
providing some relief to regular Americans who are struggling with student loans, auto loans or
credit cards.
Energy companies report record increases despite sluggish economy
While the financial news has been pretty bleak lately for truckers struggling to stay afloat amid
slumping profits and low freight rates, the 19 major energy companies are reporting record net
income increases - up 82 percent from a year ago - in the third quarter of 2008. Click
here to
read the entire report.
Wag the dog: Border truck crossing will be built in the name of clean air
Port of entry stops along the U.S.-Mexico border are being expanded, and the latest $190
million expansion is being built in the name of clean air.
Kansas, Georgia put transportation projects on hold
A growing number of states are putting road and bridge projects on hold because of a
downturn in transportation funding from fuel taxes. A decrease in federal and state
transportation funding in
Kansas, for example, could total as much as $250 million in 2010. In
Georgia, 11 road projects in the Atlanta region are being put on hold for lack of funding,
including a new four-lane freeway connecting U.S. 41 to Interstate 75.
Port of Seattle considers L.A.-style plan for trucks
The Port of Seattle is considering a clean truck plan that could end up looking a lot like the ones
at the ports in California - but the Port Commission is doing its planning behind closed doors.
The
Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that was the complaint at a recent Commission meeting
at which some of the big trucking companies were represented, but owner-operators were not.
Proposed I-70 truck lanes in Missouri still lack funding
A plan to separate cars and heavy trucks on a 200-mile stretch of Interstate 70 in Missouri is
gaining in popularity among highway user groups, officials said, but the project will be hung up
as long as there is no funding.
OOIDA members have another important ballot to cast in 2008
The biannual election of alternates for the Board of Directors of the Owner-Operator
Independent Drivers Association is set to begin later this week with the mailing of ballots to
qualified voting members of the Association.
SPECIAL REPORT: White House clears HOS final rule
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's latest attempt to finalize the hours-of-service
regulations cleared a review by the White House Office of Management and Budget Thursday,
Nov. 13. The next step toward implementation of the final rule is for it to be printed in the
Federal Register. As of midday Friday, there was no word from FMCSA when that may occur.
More truckers band together to bypass Mount Vernon fuel stops
Since two Texas-based trucking companies announced last week they were no longer going to
fuel up in Mount Vernon, IL, because of the 2-cent-per-gallon tax on diesel - but not on gasoline
- several other trucking companies and owner-operators have made the same decision.
DOT's freight index falls again in September, equals four-year low
WASHINGTON — The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) fell 2.5 percent in September
from its August level, declining for the second consecutive month, the U.S. Department of
Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported Thursday.
Pennsylvania Turnpike officials cut staff, costs
Citing its first reduction in annual traffic counts in 68 years, officials at the Pennsylvania
Turnpike Commission announced they must cut the budget, including staff. Turnpike CEO
Joseph Brimmeier offered a financial incentive for employees who agreed to retire or resign by
Nov. 20. Payment offers to staff would vary based on the length of their employment.
Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach delay "clean truck" fees
New cargo fees at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach designed to raise money for
the replacement of certain motor carrier's old trucks won't be collected beginning Monday, Nov.
17, as scheduled.
New retread plant opens in Kentucky
A commercial retread supplier has opened a new plant near Florence, KY. Retread America
opened the plant in early November to supply products manufactured by Oliver Rubber Co., a
wholly owned subsidiary of Michelin North America, officials announced.
Kenworth plant in Renton, WA, to lay off 430
The plant that builds Kenworths in Renton, WA, is laying off hundreds of workers until the
economy turns around.
Ford to idle nine plants for three to five weeks
Ford Motor Co. officials have announced the company will shut down nine of the company"s
plants - in Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Missouri, Kentucky, Ontario and Mexico - for three to five
weeks because of a drop in demand for new cars and trucks. The facilities have about 23,000
production workers, according to Ford's Web site.
XM show to include chat with FMCSA head, OOIDA member
One OOIDA member with firsthand knowledge of a sleep disorder is scheduled to speak
directly with a key federal regulator on the issue. Bob Stanton, an OOIDA Member from Batavia,
IL, plans to appear on "Dave Nemo Live" and speak directly with John Hill, administrator of the
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, on Monday, Nov. 17.
Trucking community mourns loss of photographer Bette Garber
If Helen of Troy's face launched a thousand ships, Bette Garber's lens immortalized a thousand
trucks. The distinguished trucking photojournalist died unexpectedly Thursday, Nov. 13,
following a persistent illness. She had been an OOIDA member since 2002.
Diesel continues drop to $2.809
The U.S. weekly on-highway diesel price average dropped $0.135 today to $2.809 per gallon.
That’s down $0.601 a gallon from the same week last year.
Pennsylvania Turnpike to trim staff, costs as traffic falls
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Traffic and toll revenue are falling on the Pennsylvania Turnpike,
prompting the agency that runs the 545-mile highway system to cut jobs.
Truckmaker Paccar to lay off 430 workers
SEATTLE — Paccar Inc. has notified officials that it will lay off 430 workers in January at its
Renton, Wash., plant, where it makes Kenworth trucks.
Another major economy in recession; crude falls
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Oil prices fell below $56 Monday and gasoline futures plunged to a new
low as Japan joined a number of European nations in recession and provided even more
evidence of a broad deterioration in demand for energy.
Industrial output posts rebound in October
WASHINGTON — Industrial output posted a bigger-than-expected rebound in October after
plunging in September by the largest amount in over 60 years.
Speed limiter regulations published in Ontario
Provincial officials in Ontario have officially published regulations for mandatory speed limiters
on heavy trucks. As previously confirmed by transportation officials, speed limiters will be
mandatory beginning Jan. 1, 2009, on all trucks 1995 or newer with a gross weight exceeding
26,000 pounds. The regulation applies to trucks that travel Ontario highways regardless of
where they are from. Officials with the U.S.-based Owner-Operator Independent Drivers
Association are preparing to file a formal "notice of intent" to challenge the regulation on a
federal level in Canada.
'Tis finally the season, again: TWIC activations come back online
Computer servers for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential are back online after a
near-monthlong disruption. Truck drivers and other enrollees should be able to activate their
TWIC cards nationwide beginning this week.
Job cuts at CitiBank; bailout bill for automakers; execs decline bonuses
In a sign of the economic times, CitiBank officials announced on Monday , Nov. 17, that they will
cut 53,000 jobs by next September. They also said they will cut expenses by 20 percent. In other
economic news Senate Democrats were expected to introduce a bill Monday that would give
the Big Three automakers another $25 billion on top of the $25 billion that's already been
promised for the production of more fuel-efficient cars.
University of Iowa to study mileage-based tax system
Highway users may one day pay taxes by the mile instead of by the gallon. Critics are worried
that the preferred data collection method of the proponents - most likely GPS technology - has
the potential to violate personal privacy. In October, the federal government awarded a
$16.5-million grant to the University of Iowa to conduct a study in six regions.
UPS ducks shipping forecast
For the first time in a decade, UPS this year is not forecasting what the busiest shipping day of
the year will be. It's the first year since the world's largest shipping carrier went public in 1999
that it won't be making a projection for its peak shipping day.
National average drops another 13.5 cents to $2.809 for diesel
While the U.S. Energy Information Administration is again reporting good news at the pump as
the average price for diesel drops to $2.809 per gallon, some truckers are reporting they are
having a hard time finding freight right now.
SPECIAL REPORT: No changes to HOS, 11th hour and 34-hour restart stay
Truckers won't be learning yet another set of hours-of-service regulations because there aren't
going to be any changes to the regs when the "new" final rule goes into effect in January 2009.
The new final rule adopts the interim rule that the truckers are running under right now,
according to a copy of the final rule obtained by
Land Line Magazine. The final rule will go into
effect on Jan. 19, 2009.
Time is running out to oppose proposed rate increases in Washington state
With less than two weeks to go before proposed rate increases in workers' compensation
rates for 2009 are expected to be adopted in Washington state, some small-business truckers,
who oppose the increases, are scrambling to meet with their lawmakers before time runs out.
Washington state businesses are urged to call Gov. Chris Gregoire's office at 360-902-4111 to
express opposition to the Labor and Industries Department proposed rate increase. Click
here
to send a letter to her office.
Company says California AG going after port carriers over 'politics'
One trucking company that was sued by California's attorney general has responded by saying
the state is improperly prosecuting the company criminally through civil litigation for "political
gain." Beginning in September, California Attorney General Jerry Brown filed a series of civil
lawsuits against two drayage trucking companies operating at the ports of Long Beach and Los
Angeles - alleging the firms "abuse their workers by denying them protections under state
workers' compensation, disability and minimum wage laws."
E-ZPass and truck discounts coming to Ohio Turnpike
Truckers who have E-ZPass toll accounts will see a slight decrease in tolls when E-ZPass
goes live on the Ohio Turnpike in late 2009, officials said. The Ohio Turnpike approved a plan
Monday, Nov. 17, to incorporate E-ZPass discounts for heavy trucks into a plan to increase tolls
for passenger vehicles and all cash-paying customers in 2009 and again in 2012.
Boxer says next transportation funding bill likely to eye air quality
The first major federal transportation funding bill following the Minnesota bridge collapse of
2007 will likely include an unprecedented focus on emissions tied to goods movement.
Barbara Boxer, D-CA, announced last week that her version for the next proposed
transportation funding bill will include a strong emphasis on air quality and goods movement.
Tester at West Plains, MO, driving school sentenced for fraud
The tester for a West Plains, MO, driving school was sentenced Monday, Nov. 17, for his role in
a conspiracy to provide Somali and Bosnian nationals with CDLs that they didn't earn.
Lessons learned from Minnesota bridge collapse
Federal officials are calling for the bridge inspection process to change following the release of
an NTSB report that cited design flaws and inadequate load capacity as contributing to the
collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis in August 2007.
Contractor for Boston's Big Dig may pay $21 million in damages
One of the largest contractors on Boston's underground highway project has agreed to pay $21
million in damages - if it can come up with the money.
SPECIAL REPORT: OOIDA says 2010 engine standard needs hard look
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is calling on the federal government to
rethink the looming deadline for the rollout of the 2010 emission standard for heavy-duty
engines. The Association would like the administration and Congress to push for a
restructured timeline, phasing in the new standard to allow ample breathing room and to build
confidence within the trucking industry. This would provide time to prove the worthiness of new
engines, give the economy an opportunity to recover, and explore new fuel alternatives. To read
the NERA study, click
here.
Consumer price index and other bleak economic news point to recession
On the economic front, the government reported that the consumer price index fell a record 1
percent in October and that new home construction was at its lowest level ever last month.
USDA announces massive recall after plastic found in some frozen dinners
Before you warm up your next frozen dinner, you may want to check to make sure it isn't one of
three Lean Cuisine meals that are part of a major recall because they may contain small
pieces of blue plastic. Click
here to see whether your frozen meal matches one of the recalled
production codes.
Rumor about CARB idling citations includes kernel of truthiness
A rumor of the road regarding California's expensive idling citations and fines have spurred a
response from the California Air Resources Board. Several OOIDA members,
Land Line
readers and
Land Line Now listeners have reported hearing a rumor that California will transfer
responsibility for an idling citation to motor carriers if the carrier hasn't provided an APU or other
idling alternative to employee drivers. Karen Caesar, a CARB spokesman, forwarded
Land Line
Magazine
a statement saying the rumor contains a portion of truth.
Instant traffic updates to be available in I-95 corridor
The U.S. DOT has awarded a $6.4-million grant to further data collection and make real-time
traffic updates available to highway users in the I-95 corridor. The I-95 Corridor Coalition,
consisting of transportation departments and tolling authorities from Maine to Florida along
Interstate 95, will incorporate an existing data-collection system with other technologies to
make traffic updates available via the Web, at information centers, and eventually to motorists
by mobile phone.
Voters in California OK high-speed rail, transit tax questions
Two transit initiatives in California won approval from voters on Election Day. Approved was the
nation's first high-speed rail system and a sales tax increase for transportation work.
Minnesota HOS waiver set to expire Saturday, Nov. 22
Recently in Minnesota, Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed an emergency order waiving hours-of-service
regulations for truckers hauling diesel, propane or ammonia fertilizer for agricultural purposes.
The emergency order is scheduled to expire at midnight Nov. 22.
Pennsylvania bill would put limits on young drivers
In the time left until the Pennsylvania General Assembly wraps up its work for the year, one bill
that could draw consideration would put new restrictions on the youngest drivers in the state.
Sponsored by Rep. Joe Markosek, D-Monroeville, the bill would restrict the most inexperienced
drivers to one passenger under 18 at a time. Exceptions would be made for family members.
Worst birthday present ever: Sen. Ted Stevens ousted in Alaska
The U.S. Senator from Alaska whose name became synonymous with "earmarks" has lost his
re-election bid according to an official vote count on Tuesday, Nov. 18. The defeat came on
Stevens' 85th birthday.
Truckers planning protest on Black Friday in Skaneateles
Skaneateles, New York (WSYR-TV) - An upstate trucking organization has issued an ultimatum
to the village of Skaneateles: Stop supporting the Department of Transportation's plan to restrict
travel on certain routes and keep trucks on the Thruway -- or a massive convoy of trucks will
make its way into the village on Black Friday.
OOIDA says fuel tax is sustainable despite mileage declines
The number of miles traveled by Americans has declined for the eleventh straight month, and
that continues to have an adverse effect on the federal Highway Trust Fund. Despite the
decline, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and other highway user groups
believe fuel taxes are still the fairest way for motorists and truckers to pay for highways and
bridges, as long as the federal and state governments refrain from spending the funds on
projects that have nothing to do with highways.
New Jersey bill would change how state's hazmat haulers are compensated
With less than two months remaining until the New Jersey Legislature adjourns, one bill that
could still draw consideration would change how the state compensates hazmat haulers.
Sponsored by Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester, the bill would require New
Jersey-based truckers who haul hazardous materials intrastate to be compensated "with an
hourly wage, exclusive of overtime pay or other benefits paid to the driver."
Sen. Boxer says new global warming bill will be streamlined
U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer said she will propose a global warming bill in 2009 designed to mesh
with President-elect Barack Obama's push to "mark a new chapter in America's leadership on
climate change." Boxer, D-CA, announced on Thursday, Nov. 20, that she will introduce two
pieces of legislation in January aimed at cutting greenhouse gases.
Speaker urges fuel tax increase in Massachusetts
The speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives is urging his fellow lawmakers to
approve a fuel-tax increase as an alternative to toll increases being considered by the
Massachusetts Turnpike Authority. House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi issued a statement on
Wednesday, Nov. 19, to say that the burden of debt involved with the Big Dig tunnel project
should not be dumped solely on turnpike users through toll increases.
Yes, (West) Virginia, there is a ticket quota
A report released this week by the auditor for the West Virginia state legislature is confirming
what truckers have known for many years - that, yes, ticket quotas are alive and well in the
"Mountain State." The 55-page report was titled "Legislative Performance Review of the West
Virginia State Police." In it the state auditor took the state police to task for policies requiring
officers to meet a specified number of traffic ticket citations each month or face disciplinary
action.
Money still available in Wisconsin APU program; applications due Dec. 1
Trucking companies headquartered in Wisconsin have only days left to apply for grant
reimbursement that covers half the cost and installation of an APU. For more information and to
download the application, go to
http://commerce.wi.gov/dieselgrantprogram, or contact Jean
Beckwith at 608-261-2517 or Jean.Beckwith@wisconsin.gov.
Unemployment up as economy continues to weaken
This week the economic news affecting the trucking industry is mostly grim. Jobless claims are
up, a Big Three bailout deal is being discussed on Capitol Hill, the price of crude oil is falling,
and YRC is struggling. On a slightly more positive note, Americans are learning to be more
frugal.
Missouri metro voters reject transit plans; NC city voters OK road money
Voters in Missouri's two largest metropolitan areas and in one North Carolina community cast
ballots earlier this month on transportation-related initiatives that are of particular interest to
truckers.
SPECIAL REPORT: OOIDA to meet with Obama's transition team
With the election barely weeks behind us, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association
isn't wasting any time in educating the Obama administration on the plight of truckers and the
trucking industry. And, Monday will be a big step forward in that process. Obama's transition
team reached out to OOIDA and asked for a meeting. Todd Spencer, OOIDA's executive vice
president, will get together with members of the transition team on Monday, Nov. 24.
Pennsylvania bill would fund road and bridge work without tolls, new taxes
Time is running out on a bipartisan plan in the Pennsylvania House to fund road and bridge
repairs without new taxes or tolls. Sponsored by Reps. Keith McCall, D-Lansford, and David
Argall, R-Tamaqua, the plan would pay for much-needed transportation projects. It involves
rerouting money from the state's Motor License Fund that now is used by the State Police.
North Carolina may rely on user fees to close transportation funding gap
North Carolina could someday rely less on revenue from fuel taxes and more on direct user
fees such as tolls or taxes on vehicle miles traveled, according to members of an appointed
transportation panel.
Majority leader in Washington state goes to bat for truckers
Already cash-strapped trucking companies in Washington state were dealt a blow in late
September when they received a letter announcing that workers' compensation rates would
likely go up in 2009. However, several state lawmakers - including Rep. Lynn Kessler, D-24th
Dist., have vowed to fight against the rate increases. Washington state businesses are urged
to call Gov. Chris Gregoire's office at 360-902-4111 to express opposition to the workers'
compensation rate increases. Click
here to send a letter to her office.
OOIDA accepts applications for APU reimbursement program
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is accepting applications for its
distribution of $1.13 million in grant money aimed at cutting idling emissions. The funds will be
used to reimburse truck owners for a portion of expenses tied to the purchase, installation and
monitoring of their APU use. Click
here for an application.
EPA still eyeing engine makers over 1998 emissions agreement
The Environmental Protection Agency continues to watch heavy-duty diesel engines built
between 1998 and 2003, 10 years after six major U.S. heavy-duty diesel engine makers agreed
to a billion-dollar settlement with the federal agency. On Wednesday, Nov. 19, the EPA and the
U.S. Department of Justice held the annual public meeting regarding the out-of-court
settlement that includes a consent decree, which, among other things, requires the engine
manufacturers to re-flash the existing engines to lower oxides of nitrogen emissions.
Proposal would triple vehicle license fees in California
Anyone who licenses a car or truck in California will see big price increases if new proposals
are adopted. It is not clear whether Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would support the plan.
Weekend fatality shocks show truck community
A one-vehicle wreck Sunday evening, Nov. 21, claimed the life of an OOIDA member whose
black and red ghost-flamed Peterbilt was recognized as among the nation’s hottest custom
semis.
Jake Eilen, 27, was killed on Minnesota State Highway 50 near his home town of Hampton, MN.
[ Our condolences go out to the Ellen family ]
Federal court grants restraining order against Action Carrier
The U.S. District Court for South Dakota granted a restraining order this past week to
immediately halt the operations of Action Carrier Inc. of Sioux Falls, SD.
Bullet fired at truck leads to marijuana bust
Stories of trucks getting hit by objects – sometimes even bullets – along the interstates are,
unfortunately, not uncommon. However, what happened to truck driver Marcus Allen of South
Bend, IN, on the night of Nov. 22, was definitely uncommon.
New Jersey lawmaker seeks protective overpass fencing
A bill in the New Jersey Assembly that is intended to add a barrier of protection for drivers in the
state could come up for consideration in the time remaining in the legislative session.
Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Trenton, is the sponsor of a bill that would require the
installation of protective fencing along certain highway overpasses in the state to prevent
objects from being dropped onto the roadway below.
Illinois bill nears passage to raise most vehicle registrations for squad cars
The Illinois Senate has approved a bill that would increase most vehicle registration fees by $1
to help foot the cost for replacing Illinois State Police squad cars. It is expected to generate
about $9.5 million.
British police turn to citizens to set speed traps
The Daily Mail reported that a new program in Britain will assemble bands of citizen volunteers
in local communities and supply them with speed detection equipment, signs and
high-visibility jackets
Wheeled migration: Trucker transports injured butterfly
A trucker from Alabama recently performed an unusual mission of mercy involving a monarch
butterfly.
Ticket quotas increase in cities, states as revenue drop
As many state and local governments struggle to recover from massive budget shortfalls, many
are turning to ticket quotas as a "revenue enhancement" source - a fact that long-haul truckers
know all too well.
Masspike Authority announces hearings on toll increases
The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority has scheduled a series of public hearings on proposed
toll increases. Under the proposal, tolls for passenger vehicles would increase from $3.50 to
$7 at the Sumner and Ted Williams tunnels and from $1.25 to $2 at the Allston-Brighton and
Weston toll plazas.
VDOT says go: all-day variable speeds on Woodrow Wilson Bridge
Variable speed limits were in effect Monday, Nov. 24, on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. The new
$700 million Woodrow Wilson Bridge carries the I-95/I-495 Capital Beltway over the Potomac
River at Alexandria, VA.
New section of Interstate 99 now open in Pennsylvania
A new section of highway connecting Interstate 99 to Interstate 80 in central Pennsylvania is
now open to the public.
Kentucky bill would create toll authority for 'mega' jobs
Two state lawmakers in Kentucky are renewing an effort to create a state authority for
large-scale transportation projects. The legislation calls for the creation of a statewide agency
that could use tolls to pay for so-called mega-projects.
Ohio bill calls for English-only CDL tests
With about five weeks remaining until the Ohio General Assembly adjourns, one bill could still
draw consideration. It would require aspiring truck drivers to have a firm grasp of the English
language to obtain a commercial driver's license.
Ontario trucker wins Truck Hero Award for saving driver in blazing car
An Ontario trucker was awarded the Canadian Truck Hero Award and $3,000 in Toronto earlier
this month.
Diesel drops another 14.5 cents to $2.664
The national average price for diesel continues to drop - falling another 14.5 cents to $2.664
per gallon - this past week. The Energy Information Administration reported on Monday, Nov.
24, that the national average is also 78 cents per gallon lower than during this same week in
2007.
SPECIAL REPORT: Obama team hears truckers' perspective from OOIDA
Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008 - President-elect Barack Obama won't be taking office without a firm
understanding of the issues facing truckers on the road thanks to the Owner-Operator
Independent Drivers Association. OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer accepted an
invitation from Obama's transportation transition team to meet with the group on Monday, Nov.
24.
Train not on time: CARB slows reefer rule enforcement for six months
California's reefer rule won't be enforced beginning next month after all. The California Air
Resources Board announced Tuesday that it was delaying enforcement of its "Transportation
Refrigeration Unit" rule until at least June.
Maine Turnpike schedules hearings on toll increases
Turnpike officials in Maine want public opinion to help shape a proposal for toll increases.
Officials announced in October that tolls on the Maine Turnpike will increase in February 2009,
which is a year ahead of schedule, by as much as 23 percent across the board.
Struggling YRC asks Teamsters for break on contract
The largest independent less-than-truckload company in the U.S. is asking for a bailout of
another kind - one from the Teamsters.
Author says bridge solution requires technology
The author of a "white paper" on emerging inspection technology is confident that an argument
can be made about the exact number of bridges being classified as deficient and what to do
about them.
Rep. Waxman brings robust oversight to new leadership role
Rep. Henry Waxman didn't pull many punches as chairman of the U.S. House Oversight
Committee, and his recent narrow victory in a bid to chair the powerful Energy and Commerce
Committee has raised eyebrows.
Michigan bills would OK HOV lanes, UCR
Multiple measures of interest to truckers in Michigan are nearing passage in the statehouse.
They address the Unified Carrier Registration program and high-occupancy vehicle lanes in the
state.
OOIDA telethon to raise money for troop care packages
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is again working to show appreciation to
those who serve our country by conducting its second Truckers for Troops Telethon from Dec. 8
to Dec. 12, 2008. The campaign raises funds to send care packages to U.S. troops stationed in
combat areas overseas.
Fewer Americans traveling over Thanksgiving holiday
For the first time in six years AAA predicts that fewer Americans - about 41 million - will travel 50
miles or more over this Thanksgiving holiday compared with 2007.
OOIDA member delivers Capitol Christmas tree
Traffic is always a nightmare in and around Washington, DC. Now, imagine being the truck
driver charged with delivering the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree and maneuvering a specially
designed 80-foot trailer through the busy streets to its final resting place on the West Lawn of
the U.S. Capitol.
SPECIAL REPORT: Medical certificates now required in licensing process
The days of truckers telling state licensing agencies that their medical certifications are current
are just about over because of a new regulation issued Monday, Dec. 1. The Federal Motor
Carriers Safety Administration issued a final rule that changes the way states must verify the
medical certification for truckers either renewing or applying for a CDL. Phased in compliance
deadlines for states, motor carriers and truckers start kicking in on Jan. 30, 2012.
Bailed-out Citigroup invests $10 billion in toll roads
An infrastructure subsidiary of recently bailed-out Citigroup has purchased a Spanish toll road
company and its assets for $10 billion. The Citigroup subsidiary known as Citi Infrastructure
Partners then sold $800 million of its newly acquired assets to separate companies from
Spain and Italy.
Truckers to make presence felt on Maine toll hikes this week
Truckers are preparing to make their voices heard on the issue of proposed toll increases in
Maine. The Maine Turnpike Authority recently floated a plan to increase tolls by various
amounts, which would increase operating revenue by an estimated 23 percent. Authority
officials scheduled public hearings to take place Tuesday, Dec. 2, in Saco, ME, and
Wednesday, Dec. 3, in Auburn, ME. OOIDA issued an information update to Maine members of
the Association to attend the meetings and let officials know how toll increases will affect their
businesses.
New Jersey bills address loading delays at ports, road safety
As the clock winds down on the regular session in New Jersey, three bills that could come up
for consideration in the final weeks before the Legislature adjourns are intended to improve
port operations and safety on roadways. Truckers forced to wait in line at ports to load or unload
are the subject of a bill offered by Assemblyman John Wisniewski, D-Middlesex. The bill -
A1023 - would prohibit ports from making a truck wait longer than 30 minutes before beginning
the loading or off-loading of container cargo at a terminal.
Missouri-based truckers in KC area may apply for anti-pollution money
Missouri-based truck owners in the Kansas City area can apply for a 40 percent
reimbursement for APUs and other diesel emissions-reduction equipment. Truck owners in
Clay, Platte and Jackson counties may apply by Dec. 31. A description and example for
proposals is available on the MARC Web site by clicking
here.
CTA seeks weight, length concessions
The Canadian Trucking Alliance is asking for weight and length variances on trucks with certain
anti-idling or aerodynamic devices.
Struggling YRC, Teamsters strike 'economic relief' deal
The largest independent less-than-truckload company in the U.S. may very well get a bailout of
another kind - one from the Teamsters. YRC announced it would start a buyback of notes to
reduce its debt. Coming up with the cash needed for the buyback was dependent on a
"giveback" of union wages and benefits. That's when YRC approached the Teamsters and
asked to open talks on renegotiating the existing contract.
Alabama legislation would toughen DUI rules
If a state lawmaker gets his way, the penalties for driving under the influence in Alabama will
get tougher. A bill - SB10 - would authorize a new law regarding aggravated driving under the
influence. It would apply to motorists with a blood alcohol content reading of at least 0.15
percent. The legal limit in Alabama is 0.08 percent. Drivers who reach the second level would
be subject to double the minimum penalties. The change also would extend from five years the
cutoff when considering an offender's history of driving under the influence.
National average for diesel drops another 4.9 cents to $2.615
The national average price for diesel continues to drop - dipping another 4.9 cents to average
$2.615 per gallon - this past week. The Energy Information Administration reported on Monday,
Dec. 1, that the national average for diesel is down more than 80 cents from this same week in
2007.