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Legislative Report - 3.25.2013 - Senate Restores TA for Military Students in FY 2013 Continuing Resolution

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H.R. 933 - the Fiscal Year 2013 Continuing Resolution

On March 21, 2013, the Senate passed H.R. 933, the Fiscal Year 2013 Continuing Resolution, which would fund the federal government through September 30, 2013. An amendment offered by Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Ranking Member Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), which repeals the termination of Tuition Assistance (TA) under sequestration and prevents the program's funds from being decreased below the amount provided in the underlying legislation was included in the final version. You may recall that the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), Army (USA), Air Force (USAF), and Coast Guard (USCG) suspended new enrollments in the TA program in response to an internal U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) memo circulated to the service branches identifying TA as a potential program to cut under the sequestration; the Navy has yet to make a similar announcement. H.R. 933 now returns to the House for final consideration before proceeding to the President. The House leadership has indicated that H.R. 933 will pass with ease.

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Spotlight on the Safety Management Cycle for the HOS Compliance BASIC

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The Safety Management Cycle (SMC) is a resource for carriers and drivers as well as enforcement to help identify and address the root cause for safety and compliance issues. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently released a series of SMCs tailored to each Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC), with the end goal of helping carriers find ways to reduce or eliminate violations by establishing and improving their safety management controls.

The SMC for the Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance BASIC provides potential actions carriers can take to improve their HOS compliance. These actions are divided into six key process areas: roles and responsibilities, policies and procedures, qualification and hiring, training and communication, monitoring and tracking, and meaningful action. For example, during the hiring process, a carrier should make sure a driver has the necessary skills for the job, including sufficient planning skills to know when to drive and when to stop, basic mathematical skills to calculate their hours and miles, and good organizational skills to keep each Record of Duty Status up-to-date.

Explore these and other important tips in the SMC for the HOS Compliance BASIC available from the CSA Website’s SMC webpage. Also, make sure you review the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to ensure you operate in full compliance of all current safety standards.

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Grass Roots Initiative

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The Government Relations Firm, Webster Chamberlain and Bean, representing CVTA, is initiating a grassroots lobbying effort. The goal is to encourage the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ("FMCSA") in the Department of Transportation to modify the proposed rule for Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators.
 
CVTA must now demonstrate to regulators that individuals knowledgeable of commercial motor vehicle training are genuinely concerned about this issue. Our ultimate success depends on members who are educated on the issue and will contact the FMCSA.
 
Here is how you can help:

  1. Compose Correspondence
    Start by composing a letter to Anne Ferro. Webster Chamberlain and Bean has developed a template for these communications. Please personalize this correspondence, and ask your colleagues to do the same. If you choose to compose your own correspondence, please remember that CVTA's position focuses on: (1) Performance testing in lieu of proposed minimum hours; (2) the pitfalls of minimum hours including elimination of major access to federal and state funds for students, the minimum hours base will become the maximum amount of training hours, and the fact that training hours have not been proven to produce better drivers; and (3) the accreditation process is flawed and will prohibit many schools from providing students training.

     
  2. Send Your Correspondence
    Comments are to be submitted electronically through www.regulations.gov. The docket number is FMCSA-2007-27748.

     
  3. Follow Up
    Once you have submitted your correspondence, please send a copy to Andrew Dye at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Webster Chamberlain and Bean will provide periodic updates on the status of the Minimum Training Requirements for the Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators' proposed rule.

If you have any questions please contact the CVTA office 703-642-9444 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We appreciate any and all assistance you can provide.

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Transports Lead Stock Rise as Indexes Set New Records

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By Jonathan S. Reiskin, Associate News Editor

This story appears in the March. 18 print edition of Transport Topics.

Trucking and transportation stock indexes have increased more rapidly over the past six months than those for the broad market, with most of the growth coming since the start of 2013.

While the Dow Jones industrial average has gained 9% in value to reach a record high in the six months ended March 11 and the Standard & Poor’s 500 has grown 8.9%, the transportation average has rallied 20.6% and the S&P trucking roster surged 24.3%.

Within the transportation average, UPS Inc. and FedEx Corp. contributed to the increase, as did four freight railroads and four trucking companies.

C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. and Expeditors International of Washington Inc. — the two non-asset-based logistics companies on the transportation average — posted some recent declines, however, after earlier gains.

Company executives and analysts offered no consensus on the meaning behind the gains. Optimists said the increases demonstrate a judgment by investors that trucking earnings will improve this year. Skeptics said trucking stocks are rising off a very low base period, and that well-run companies are benefiting from tight freight-hauling supply rather than a boom in demand for services.

“2013 is poised to be the ‘Year of Transports,’ ” analyst Peter Nesvold wrote to clients of Jefferies & Co. His confidence in the industry’s outlook has firmed as the year has progressed.

Three recent data points suggesting improvement, Nesvold said, are the jump up in January truck tonnage to a record high, the year-over-year gain in diesel consumption and the increase in airfreight for FedEx and UPS.

Nesvold told investors that rallies in freight-transportation stocks usually start in trucking.

“As go trucks, so go transports,” he said.

Tom Kretsinger Jr., president of American Central Transport, said he is optimistic based on the results of his privately held business based in Liberty, Mo., and conversations at the recent Truckload Carriers Association meeting where he was elected chairman... Continue reading (Transport Topics Account Required)

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Legislative Report - 3.16.2013 - House Republicans FY 2014 Budget Proposal

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House Budget Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled his chamber’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget proposal entitled "The Path to Prosperity: A Blueprint for American Renewal” that cuts spending by $5.7 trillion, reduces the top tax rate to 25 percent, balances the budget within 10 years and moves to a fair value accounting system to show the true costs of the federal loan programs.  
According to a fact sheet, the proposal would:

  • Cut wasteful spending;
  • Protect and strengthen important priorities like Medicare and national security;
  • Reform welfare programs like Medicaid so they can deliver on their promise;
  • Simplify the tax code by consolidating the current seven individual-income-tax brackets into two brackets with a first bracket of 10 percent;
  • Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax; and
  • Reform the budget process, among other proposals.
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Legislative Report - 3.16.2013 - House passed H.R. 803 – The SKILLS Act

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On Friday March 15 the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 803 – The Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 by a vote of 215-202.
 
The bill proposes the consolidation of 35 programs used in support of job training into a single Workforce Investment Fund, places a premium on job education and training as the means to provide greater access to the workforce, and revises the responsibilities of the state and local Workforce Investment Boards and eliminates the mandatory inclusion on the WIBs of community colleges representation, labor representation, and others – replacing these individuals with a required 2/3 majority of the new boards to be comprised of business and industry representation.

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CSA Update: Safety Management Cycle for Unsafe Driving BASIC Now Available!

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Unsafe driving includes risky behavior such as speeding, improper lane change, aggressive driving, and other types of  dangerous activity. Safe driving starts with a safe driver. The Safety Management Cycle (SMC) for the Unsafe Driving Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) helps carriers and drivers evaluate existing processes—including policies and procedures, training and communication, and meaningful action, among others—to determine where gaps may exist that either encourage unsafe driving behavior or leave this behavior unaddressed. 

For example, does the company have a policy that prohibits dispatchers from assigning drivers a load that cannot be completed without speeding? Take a look at the SMC for the Unsafe Driving BASIC today and make sure all necessary processes, management, and controls are in place to prevent and address unsafe driving practices. Also, make sure you review the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to ensure you operate in full compliance of all current safety standards.