J. J. Keller Announces Sponsorship for 2013 Iditarod®

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J. J. Keller Announces Sponsorship for 2013 Iditarod® Dallas Seavey Prepares to Defend Championship

Neenah, WI – Dallas Seavey fans are hoping for another victory in 2013 as he prepares to defend his championship in the 2013 Iditarod Alaskan sled dog race.

James and Rosanne Keller, representing J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.®, have announced their sponsorship of the J. J. Keller/Dallas Seavey Iditarod Racing Team for the seventh consecutive year.

They will be the exclusive sponsor for 25-year-old Dallas Seavey, and will also sponsor longtime Iditarod musher Mitch Seavey, Dallas Seavey’s father.

To date, 68 mushers have signed up for the 2013 Iditarod, which will begin in Anchorage, Alaska on March 2 and end nine to thirteen days later in Nome.

The 2013 race will be Dallas’ seventh run to the famed Burled Arch. In that time, he has racked up a number of Iditarod records:

    •    2012 - Youngest musher to win the Iditarod — age 25
    •    2011 - Youngest musher to finish the race in a top five position — 4th place, age 24
    •    2010 - Seavey family record finish — 9 days, 10 hours and 4 minutes
    •    2010 - Youngest musher to win the GCI Dorothy Page Halfway Award — age 23
    •    2009 - Youngest musher to finish the race in a top ten position — 6th place, age 22
    •    2005 - Youngest musher to compete in the race — age 18

Since his big win in 2012, Dallas has been busy making celebrity appearances, creating promotional videos, running marathons, co-authoring a book with Mr. Keller, and trying to expand the fan base for the sport of mushing. In true musher style, Dallas also continued to develop his team, and as the 2013 Iditarod inches closer, he continues to spend most of his time getting his team ready for the race.

James J. Keller, President and CEO of J. J. Keller, has been following the team’s training and is in frequent contact with Dallas. “The J. J. Keller/Dallas Seavey Iditarod Racing Team is planning on defending our 2012 Championship. Dallas is in full training mode and is planning on a repeat … and he has the team to do it,” Keller said. “Follow the 2013 Iditarod and see if history can be made again.” James and Rosanne Keller will be in Nome to welcome the mushers across the finish line.
The 2013 race is the 20th Iditarod for Dallas’ father, Mitch Seavey. Mitch has ten top ten finishes and won the 2004 Iditarod.

About the J. J. Keller/Dallas Seavey Iditarod Racing Team
After meeting Dallas Seavey in Seward, AK, in 2006, James and Rosanne Keller created the J. J. Keller Extreme Transportation Solutions sponsorship to celebrate one of the original forms of transportation and to salute trucking professionals who dedicate themselves to transporting needed goods. To learn more about J. J. Keller’s sponsorship of Dallas Seavey, to order the new book “Born to Mush,” to view weekly training videos and photos sent from Dallas, and to follow the 2013 race, go to

About J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.®
Since our beginning as a one-man consulting firm in 1953, we’ve grown to become the most respected name in safety and regulatory compliance. Now over 1,200 associates strong, we serve over 350,000 customers — including 90% of the Fortune 1000. Our diverse offerings span nearly 1,500 topics and include mobile technology, interactive and online training, online management tools, managed services, advisory services, publications, forms and supplies.
Professionals in transportation, manufacturing, hazardous materials, construction, and human resources rely on our in-house expertise to reduce risk, improve compliance, and follow best practices. For more information, visit

About the Iditarod®
By far Alaska’s best-known sporting event, the Iditarod is a 1,150-mile sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome. Mushers and their sled dogs travel through jagged mountain ranges, frozen rivers, dense forest, desolate tundra and miles of windswept coast … battling below-zero temperatures, high winds, and long hours of darkness and isolation.


For more information, contact:
Mary Borsecnik
Corporate Marketing Communications Specialist
J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.®
1-800-843-3174, ext. 7050
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Truck Driver Institute Helps South Carolina Man Find A Second Chance

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“A dead end street is just a place to turn around…”, or so goes the lyric from a song called “Rock Bottom” recorded in 1994 by country artist Wynonna Judd.
Jim Taylor* had taken several wrong turns in his life and he was looking at rock bottom. He was homeless. He had battled addiction and a physical condition which severely impacted his ability to work in the construction industry. He had a criminal history which excluded him from many job opportunities. He had been out of work for several years, and he had little experience using a computer to create a resume and search for jobs online.
Jim was frustrated at every turn in his efforts to change his circumstances, but he was determined to turn his life around, find a better life and achieve his goal of independence.
Miracle Hill Ministries (Harbor of Hope) is a homeless shelter in South Carolina who helped Jim contact a career consultant at SC Works Cherokee. They referred him to the South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department which provides an individualized array of services to help people with disabilities find employment. He was evaluated for medical assistance with his physical limitations and assisted with physical therapy and knee supports.
The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) is a federal program administered through state agencies to help businesses meet their need for skilled workers and provide individuals with access to training that helps them prepare for work. Jim learned he was eligible for WIA orientation for intensive services. He completed his resume, continued to work on his computer skills, and was later enrolled in the Administrative Office Certificate program at a local college. WIA funds were utilized to assist Jim with continuing education pre-vocational services. He successfully completed this basic computer class and earned a certificate of completion in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Business Grammar and Communication.

As he learned new skills, Jim gained self-confidence and became more and more motivated. He began to research Labor Market Information to explore a career in truck driving, and he was WIA approved to attend the Truck Driver Institute (TDI) in Richburg, SC.
TDI was initially reluctant to enroll Jim because, in his case, they were unsure they could assist him with job placement. Jim’s career consultant, however, assured them that if Jim was allowed the opportunity to gain a credential, that he would be successful on his own.
Jim Taylor successfully completed his CDL training in May, 2012 and was hired by Carolina Cargo. He continues to work full-time driving a truck. In little more than a year, Jim went from being homeless with no income, no marketable skills, a criminal history and physical limitations to working full-time, making a steady paycheck, and earning not one, but two credentials. Through the services and assistance of SC Works Cherokee and the staff of Truck Driver Institute, Jim has gained the confidence to achieve his goals, and more importantly, he has found a renewed relationship with his family.
*Student’s name has been changed.

Truck Driver Institute Located at
3425 Lancaster Highway, Richburg, SC 29729.
Request Free Information Call: 1-800-848-7364



CVTA Participates in FMCSA Listening Session

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On January 7, 2013, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) held a public listening session to solicit feedback for implementing an Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) rule. ELDT requirements would be in addition to requirements to acquire a CDL. FMCSA had proposed a rule in December 2007 which the driver education industry opposes the rule for requiring training institutions be accredited by a Department of Education-certified accrediting agency and for mandating training requirements based upon hours of instruction rather than trainee mastery of the skill taught, among other issues. However, the MAP-21 highway legislation requires FMCSA to promulgate an ELDT rule by October 2013 and FMCSA held this listening session as the first step in doing so.
CVTA would like to thank our "Dream Team" who attended the FMCSA Listening sessions in Charlotte.

  • John Frey, Werner Industries, Representing Commercial Vehicle Training Association
  • Mark Greenberg, NETTTS, Representing the Commercial Driver Training Foundation
  • Richard Reiser, Werner Industries, Representing Werner Industries
  • Chuck Wirth, American Institute of Truck Driving School, Representing Accredited Schools
  • Brad Ball, Roadmaster, Representing Non-Accredited Schools

Under John Frey's guidance as Chairman of this committee, these CVTA members spent hours on numerous conference calls and personal time crafting the comments submitted. We would also like to recognize Chuck Wirth and Lou Spoonhour for updating our comments from 2007 and producing CVTA comments that ensure all our members are well represented. Other committee members include John Rojas and Cheryl Hanley.
We would also like to acknowledge Boyd Stephenson from ATA for his participation and guidance with this project. We appreciate ATA's support and especially Boyd's assistance on this project.
To watch our "Dream Team" you can click on the link below:

Also if you wish to review the comments submitted please click on the links below:


New Trucking Jobs Rise, Growth Outpaces Nation

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The trucking industry added 4,200 new jobs in December while the nation’s overall job rolls, grew by 155,000, the Department of Labor said.

The U.S. unemployment rate remained unchanged in December at 7.8%, matching November’s, four-year low.

Based on adjusted government numbers, trucking grew by 2,900 jobs in November and 4,200 in October.


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Veterans Bills Become Law

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WASHINGTON, D.C.—January 10, 2013, H.R. 4057, the Improving Transparency of Education Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2012, as amended, was signed into law by President Obama.

H.R. 4057 (112th): Improving Transparency of Education Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2012

To amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to develop a comprehensive policy to improve outreach and transparency to veterans and members of the Armed Forces through the provision of information on institutions of higher learning, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

(a) Comprehensive Policy Required-

(1) IN GENERAL- Chapter 36 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:
Sec. 3698. Comprehensive policy on providing education information to veterans

‘(a) Comprehensive Policy Required- The Secretary shall develop a comprehensive policy to improve outreach and transparency to veterans and members of the Armed Forces through the provision of information on institutions of higher learning.

‘(b) Scope- In developing the policy required by subsection (a), the Secretary shall include each of the following elements:

‘(1) Effective and efficient methods to inform individuals of the educational and vocational counseling provided under section 3697A of this title.

‘(2) A centralized mechanism for tracking and publishing feedback from students and State approving agencies regarding the quality of instruction, recruiting practices, and post-graduation employment placement of institutions of higher learning that--

‘(A) allows institutions of higher learning to verify feedback and address issues regarding feedback before the feedback is published;

‘(B) protects the privacy of students, including by not publishing the names of students; and

‘(C) publishes only feedback that conforms with criteria for relevancy that the Secretary shall determine.

‘(3) The merit of and the manner in which a State approving agency shares with an accrediting agency or association recognized by the Secretary of Education under subpart 2 of part H of title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1099b) information regarding the State approving agency’s evaluation of an institution of higher learning.

‘(4) Description of the information provided to individuals participating in the Transition Assistance Program under section 1144 of title 10 relating to institutions of higher learning.

‘(5) Effective and efficient methods to provide veterans and members of the Armed Forces with information regarding postsecondary education and training opportunities available to the veteran or member.

‘(c) Postsecondary Education Information- (1) The Secretary shall ensure that the information provided pursuant to subsection (b)(5) includes--

‘(A) an explanation of the different types of accreditation available to educational institutions and programs of education;

‘(B) a description of Federal student aid programs; and

‘(C) for each institution of higher learning, for the most recent academic year for which information is available--

‘(i) whether the institution is public, private nonprofit, or proprietary for-profit;

‘(ii) the name of the national or regional accrediting agency that accredits the institution, including the contact information used by the agency to receive complaints from students;

‘(iii) information on the State approving agency, including the contact information used by the agency to receive complaints from students;

‘(iv) whether the institution participates in any programs under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070 et seq.);

‘(v) the tuition and fees;

‘(vi) the median amount of debt from Federal student loans under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070 et seq.) held by individuals upon completion of programs of education at the institution of higher learning (as determined from information collected by the Secretary of Education);

‘(vii) the cohort default rate, as defined in section 435(m) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1085(m)), of the institution;

‘(viii) the total enrollment, graduation rate, and retention rate, as determined from information collected by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System of the Secretary of Education;

‘(ix) whether the institution provides students with technical support, academic support, and other support services, including career counseling and job placement; and

‘(x) the information regarding the institution’s policies related to transfer of credit from other institutions, as required under section 485(h)(1) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1092(h)(1)) and provided to the Secretary of Education under section 132(i)(1)(V)(iv) of such Act (20 U.S.C. 1015a(i)(1)(V)(iv)).

‘(2) To the extent practicable, the Secretary shall provide the information described in paragraph (1) by including hyperlinks on the Internet website of the Department to other Internet websites that contain such information, including the Internet website of the Department of Education, in a form that is comprehensive and easily understood by veterans, members of the Armed Forces, and other individuals.

‘(3)(A) If the Secretary of Veterans Affairs requires, for purposes of providing information pursuant to subsection (b)(5), information that has been reported, or information that is similar to information that has been reported, by an institution of higher learning to the Secretary of Education, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Labor, or the heads of other Federal agencies under a provision of law other than under this section, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall obtain the information the Secretary of Veterans Affairs requires from the Secretary or head with the information rather than the institution of higher learning.

‘(B) If the Secretary of Veterans Affairs requires, for purposes of providing information pursuant to subsection (b)(5), information from an institution of higher learning that has not been reported to another Federal agency, the Secretary shall, to the degree practicable, obtain such information through the Secretary of Education.

‘(d) Consistency With Existing Education Policy- In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall ensure that--

‘(1) the comprehensive policy is consistent with any requirements and initiatives resulting from Executive Order No. 13607; and

‘(2) the efforts of the Secretary to implement the comprehensive policy do not duplicate the efforts being taken by any Federal agencies.

‘(e) Communication With Institutions of Higher Learning- To the extent practicable, if the Secretary considers it necessary to communicate with an institution of higher learning to carry out the comprehensive policy required by subsection (a), the Secretary shall carry out such communication through the use of a communication system of the Department of Education.

‘(f) Definitions- In this section:

‘(1) The term ‘institution of higher learning’ has the meaning given that term in section 3452(f) of this title.

‘(2) The term ‘postsecondary education and training opportunities’ means any postsecondary program of education, including apprenticeships and on-job training, for which the Secretary of Veterans Affairs provides assistance to a veteran or member of the Armed Forces.’.

(2) CLERICAL AMENDMENT- The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended by adding after the item relating to section 3697A the following new item:
‘3698. Comprehensive policy on providing education information to veterans.’.

(b) Survey- In developing the policy required by section 3698(a) of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall conduct a market survey to determine the availability of the following:

(1) A commercially available off-the-shelf online tool that allows a veteran or member of the Armed Forces to assess whether the veteran or member is academically ready to engage in postsecondary education and training opportunities and whether the veteran or member would need any remedial preparation before beginning such opportunities.

(2) A commercially available off-the-shelf online tool that provides a veteran or member of the Armed Forces with a list of providers of postsecondary education and training opportunities based on criteria selected by the veteran or member.

(c) Report- Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report that includes--

(1) a description of the policy developed by the Secretary under section 3698(a) of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a);

(2) a plan of the Secretary to implement such policy; and

(3) the results of the survey conducted under subsection (b), including whether the Secretary plans to implement the tools described in such subsection.

(d) Definitions- In this section:

(1) APPROPRIATE COMMITTEES OF CONGRESS- The term ‘appropriate committees of Congress’ means--

(A) the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate; and

(B) the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives.

(2) COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE OFF-THE-SHELF- The term ‘commercially available off-the-shelf’ has the meaning given that term in section 104 of title 41, United States Code.

(3) POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION AND TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES- The term ‘postsecondary education and training opportunities’ means any postsecondary program of education, including apprenticeships and on-job training, for which the Secretary of Veterans Affairs provides assistance to a veteran or member of the Armed Forces.
Section 3696 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

‘(d)(1) The Secretary shall not approve under this chapter any course offered by an educational institution if the educational institution provides any commission, bonus, or other incentive payment based directly or indirectly on success in securing enrollments or financial aid to any persons or entities engaged in any student recruiting or admission activities or in making decisions regarding the award of student financial assistance.

‘(2) To the degree practicable, the Secretary shall carry out paragraph (1) in a manner that is consistent with the Secretary of Education’s enforcement of section 487(a)(20) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1094(a)(20)).’.
Section 3684 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

‘(d) Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this subsection, the Secretary shall ensure that the Department provides personnel of educational institutions who are charged with submitting reports or certifications to the Secretary under this section with assistance in preparing and submitting such reports or certifications.’.

For fiscal year 2013, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs may not pay more than $395,000,000 in awards or bonuses under chapter 45 or 53 of title 5, United States Code, or any other awards or bonuses authorized under such title.

Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Vice President of the United States and
President of the Senate.


Member Alert - 1-11-2013

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We received a call today from Kathy at Truck Driving Academy in California. There is a gentleman using the name Michael Diangelo.  He is identifying himself as a representative of Martin Transport.  He is asking for 3 students and is especially in need of one woman. His reason is that he has a female trainer that needs to someone to ride with her.   

He also indicates that he will need 14 drivers by the end of next week. They will be paid $550 for 4 weeks and 33 cents per mile after they complete the 4 weeks. He says he will take students with felonies over 5 years and DUI over 3 years old.

Jo Larson, Recruiting Manager, Martin Transport has been fielding calls all day and assures us this is not the case. They have no one working for them by that name.

Once Mr. Diangelo gets the student, he tells them that they need to send $400 to show they can afford to go out on the road. He assures them he will return the money when they arrive in San Diego where he will put them up at a Motel 6 in San Diego.  The number he is using is a Tennessee Number.   

Thank you Kathy for the Heads up!


Booming Trucking Industry Means Boom in Driver Training

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CORPUS CHRISTI -- There's a good chance most the stuff you use everyday got to you by arriving on a truck.

That's why in this uncertain economy, the trucking industry is booming right now and Del Mar College is staying busy training drivers to hit the road.

Starting a career in the trucking industry is an option many job searchers are considering.

After just one week looking for work, Bill Lowery found there are three main industries in high demand. "Doctors, nurses and truck drivers," he told us.

So, after a coast guard career, followed by government contracting, he's now got a new title; student. "Its been a long time since i've been a student," Lowery said.

After 3 weeks of intense training, the likelihood is, he'll have a job. The oil and gas industry in our area is always searching for drivers.

"A lot of times, students have something lined up before they're even finished," Program Director John Rojas told us.

Although the course is short, it's intense, 10 hours a day, 6 days a week.

Believe it or not, they trusted me to take a crash course and drive the truck with students on board.

"Keep the clutch in as deep as you can and then there it is in 1st," explained Instructor Eduardo Saenz as he directed me step by step.

He wasn't nervous, but I was. I actually drove an 18 wheeler across the parking lot with students observing me from inside the truck. Talk about nerve wracking.

There are 4 students assigned per truck, that way, 3 are observing, while one's actually learning hands-on.

Once I parked the truck, they all clapped. I'm not really sure if the students were clapping because I did well or because they survived the wild ride, but, Lowery is definitely pleased with the class and his potential for work after graduation.

"You've got the refineries, all kinds of possibilities, live stock, so you name it, there's stuff around here to haul," Lowery told us.

Because the business is booming, so is the demand for classes and that's creating yet another job opportunity.

"I'm looking for instructors right now," said Rojas, "all they have to do is have 5 years experience driving."

Classes open about every two weeks and they fill up fast. Retired military are able to use their gi bill to pay 100% of the course if they're eligible. The Texas Workforce Commission will also help fund the course for eligible students. The 3 week class costs $3500. Brand new graduates have the potential to earn $40,000 a year. For more information on Del Mar's Truck and Bus Driver Training Program, click here.



“Cliff” Compromise Allows 50% Write-off of New Equipment

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By Michele Fuetsch, Transport Topics
This story appears in the Jan. 7 print edition of Transport Topics.

Lost amid the hoopla surrounding Congress’ last-minute agreement on avoiding the economic “fiscal cliff” as the new year dawned was a provi¬sion in the deal that could help the trucking industry as it moves to replace aging equipment during 2013.

Under the legislation, which President Obama has signed, fleets will be able to continue to write off half of the cost of equipment purchases on their 2013 tax bills. The existing tax relief pro¬gram expired on Dec. 31.

Relieved truck dealers said renewal of the tax write-offs — known as bonus depreciation could help boost lagging truck sales.

“We’re optimistic that it’s going to help,” said Dave Thompson, president of TEC Equipment Inc., of Portland Ore. TEC sells a mix of heavy and medium-duty, trucks.

The old bonus depreciation program had expired Dec. 31, the same day the Senate passed the new bill. The House approved it the next day, Jan. 1.

President Obama signed the new tax measure on Jan. 3, which was the same day the 113th Con¬gress was sworn in, officially making Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) the new chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee for the session that will end in January 2015.

Barbara Boxer (D-Calif) remains chair¬woman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee while Jay Rockefeller(D-W.Va) will stay at the helm of the Senate Commerce Committee.

The legislation, called the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, raises taxes on the wealthiest Americans while keeping tax cuts for most households. It also renewed the $1-a-gallon tax credit for biodiesel producers.

“Under this law… companies will continue to see tax credits for the research that they do, the investments they make and the clean energy jobs that they create,” President Obama said during a press conference.

Thompson said sales held steady the last two quarters at TEC dealer¬ships in California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington but that “not every¬body was prepared to buy” due to the economic uncertainty.

“Now they might,” Thompson said. “That depreciation will be a bonus; 100% is better but 50% is pretty nice.”

TEC sells Volvo and Mack Trucks as well as Hino and Isuzu medium-duty trucks and GMC light-duty commercial trucks. It also has truck rental and leasing businesses, so, under the new tax bill, Thompson can also deduct 50% of the purchase price of new trucks he buys for that side of his firm.

Normally, depreciation write-offs are stretched over several tax years as a new asset deteriorates with age.

However, to help the manufactur¬ing sector recover from the reces¬sion, a bonus depreciation program was created in 2010. Under it, in the 2011 tax year, equipment buyers could write off 100% of their pur¬chase cost that year.

In 2012, the write-off dropped to 50% of the purchase cost and the program was to expire at the end of that year.

But keeping the 50% write-off is expected to help spur truck sales this year because the tax break “takes some of the sting” out of the higher cost of more fuel-efficient trucks, said Richard Witcher, chairman of American Truck Dealers and CEO of Minuteman Trucks, a light- and medium-duty truck dealership in Walpole, Mass.

“In the last 10 years, we’ve added, without [counting] federal excise tax, as much as $30,000 to the price of a truck for emissions controls,” Witcher said.

Witcher also said increased truck sales in 2013 will boost the economy.

“With every truck that somebody buys, there’s a job at a factory some¬place [and] there’s a job supporting the job at the factory” Witcher said.

At their dealership and service cen¬ter, bonus depreciation has also allowed Witcher and his brother, Bill, to write off capital investments, such as a $1 million truck-painting facility.

For biodiesel producers, continua¬tion of the $1-a-gallon tax credit is a lifeline. The tax credit helps keep the higher cost of biodiesel fuel com¬petitive with regular diesel, backers of the alternative fuel have said.

“This is not an abstract issue,” Anne Steckel, vice president of fed¬eral affairs at the National Biodiesel Board, said in a statement. “In the coming months, because of this decision, we’ll begin to see real eco¬nomic impacts with companies expanding production and hiring new employees.”

The tax bill makes permanent the income tax cuts approved during the Bush presidency for households with incomes of less than $450,000.

Had Congress not acted, the Bush-era tax cuts would have expired this month for all income levels. At the same time, a series of automatic spending cuts were scheduled to have occurred this month as a result of demands that the federal deficit be reduced.

Hence, the term “fiscal cliff” became a metaphor for what some economists said would be a severe double blow to the economy as both personal and government spending declined.

Although Congress and the presi¬dent were able to forge a deal on the tax issues, they could not agree on spending reductions, so they put off action on deficit reduction for at least two months.

This story appears in the Jan. 7 print edition of Transport Topics.


Company Helps Man Transition from the Marines to Trucking

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January 01, 2013 11:45 pm  •  By ART HOVEY / Lincoln Journal Star

When Marine veteran Rowdy Bolinger returned to civilian life, he had trouble finding a good job fit.

That’s when he reached out to the Greek god Proteus. Well, not exactly.

Rather than relying on a mythical being known for his ability to change his form, Bolinger turned to a Lincoln job training company that bears the Proteus name.

Together, Proteus Inc. and a man who served two tours in Iraq worked to get him through four weeks of instruction at JTL Truck Driver Training on Omaha’s western outskirts and earn him a commercial driver’s license.

Now he’s making daily trips back and forth between Iowa City, 270 miles away, and Werner Enterprises across Interstate 80 from the trucking school.

“You live a life and you feel like it has meaning and purpose,” the 36-year-old Bolinger said of his time in the military. “And then you come back home and everything is different.”

Proteus is a long-term, private sector presence in Iowa, but a much more recent addition in Nebraska and in Lincoln. Its federal origins go all the way back to the presidency of Lyndon Johnson and his War on Poverty in the 1960s.

Working with federal grant money offered through the Department of Labor and under the National Farm Workers Jobs Program, Proteus' Lincoln staff covered the $4,000 cost of Bolinger’s education as a trucker.

Susan Billups has been a regional director for Proteus at the Lincoln office at Ninth  Street and Pioneers Boulevard since September 2011.

“You have to have worked an agricultural job for the majority of your money for a 12-month period sometime in the last two years,” Billups said in explaining how the farm connection works.

Income guidelines also apply -- less than $11,170 for a single person and $24,240 for a family of four.

“These folks can go from minimum wage jobs to making $35,000, $45,000, $50,000, depending on who they get on with and what they can negotiate for themselves,” she said.

At this point in his life, Bolinger wants to combine trucking with longer-term work toward a business administration degree.

“I was looking for a job that wasn’t so physically demanding that I couldn’t go to school at the same time,” he said.

Ultimately, he would like to get back to what he was doing between two stints in the Marines. That means defense contracting and “moving men, equipment and weapons to and from the Middle East,” he said.

There are about as many possibilities for switching job descriptions as there are jobs, Billups said.

“If someone wants to be an LPN and they work in hog confinement, we will help them do that,” she added.

Migrant farm workers constitute “a second tier” of potential Proteus clients.

“One of the tripping points is that you have to be the head of your own household. So we can’t take an 18-year-old whose mom and dad still claim him on their taxes and enroll him in this program.”

As Bolinger’s situation demonstrates, part of the service Proteus provides is to a population of veterans who may be having trouble with the conversion from military to civilian employment.

For much of the past decade, unemployment rates have trended higher among those coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan.

David Cook, an instructor at JTL, said many of the 150 to 175 students enrolled there each year have military backgrounds.

“We get a lot of veterans,” he said.

JTL and Proteus have worked together before, he added.

At the same time, he said, the trend in the trucking industry is toward Werner and other major truck carriers hiring new drivers who have had some kind of formal training.

“They don’t want to hire new drivers off the street,” he said.

Long-haul truckers in eastern Nebraska typically start at $38,000 to $42,000 a year, Cook said.

In Nebraska, Proteus is reaching out to veterans and nonveterans alike from Lincoln, as well as from Columbus, Grand Island, North Platte and Scottsbluff.

Part of Bolinger’s frustration in trying to navigate his own way to better employment was in using his G.I. Bill eligibility to pay for the cost of his trucker training.

“I was just having a hard time,” he said. “The G.I. Bill (representatives) didn’t want to pay for school.”

When he turned to Proteus, “it took about a one-half-hour meeting and Kim (of Proteus) was able to get everything she needed to make it happen.”

Bolinger’s experience in returning to civilian employment was that jobs that pay subsistence wages aren’t difficult to find.

“In order to find something satisfying,” he said, “it’s really hard.”



Attention Motor Carriers: Update Your VMT & PU Data

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Did You Know…As a motor carrier, recent Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT) and Power Unit (PU) data from your Motor Carrier Registration form, known as the MCS-150, are required and must be up to date to properly assess your level of exposure in the Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) in FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS).

If your VMT data in FMCSA’s database is from 2010 or older, it will not be used in your calculations when the January SMS snapshot is posted at the beginning of February. Instead, the level of exposure will default to average PUs over the previous 18 months which can impact your percentiles in the Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator BASICs. View the SMS Methodology for addition details on BASIC percentile calculations.

Update your MCS-150 now with 2011 VMT/PU information or shortly after January 1, 2013 with your 2012 data to ensure that FMCSA is using the most accurate data available to calculate your percentiles. Visit to update your MCS-150 information. Under the “Existing Registration Updates” section, choose the first option - “I need to update my USDOT number registration information or file my biennial update.”

PLEASE NOTE: The SMS website is updated monthly, so your MCS-150 changes will not be reflected on that site until the next monthly update. You can find the schedule of SMS updates at MCS-150 updates show up faster on SAFER and the FMCSA Portal websites.

Thank You,
CSA Web Team
U.S. DOT/Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration