Public News


Veterans Job Training – Motion to Waive

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Vote Rejected (58-40, 2 Not Voting)

The Senate spent much of last week working on this bill that would have created a so-called jobs corps to assist Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in finding post-service employment. After invoking cloture on a motion to proceed to the bill, a substitute amendment by Veterans Affairs Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., was introduced.

Among other things, the amendment would have required states to issue certain licenses, such as for plumbing or truck driving, to veterans without the normal requirements if eligible applicants had at least 10 years’ experience in related military activities. Budget Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., raised a point of order against the amendment that its costs exceeded the amount of funding allowed under current budgetary limitations. Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., then moved to waive the point of order, which would have allowed the amendment to be debated. 60 votes are required to waive budgetary points of order, however, and proponents of the bill fell two votes shy. Sustaining the point of order effectively killed the bill.


Service Industry Urges Action to Fight Technician Shortage

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By Seth Clevenger, Staff Reporter
This story appears in the Sept. 24 print edition of Transport Topics.

PITTSBURGH — Facing the prospect of having to replace tens of thousands of technicians in the coming years, officials from the trucking and fleet maintenance industries have urged companies to work closely with educators as one way to attract new talent.

“It’s not a problem, it’s an impending crisis,” Bonne Karim, chairman of the Technology & Maintenance Council’s Professional Technician Development Committee, said of the technician shortage at a Sept. 12 session here during TMC’s fall meeting.

Total employment among truck and bus mechanics and diesel engine specialists is projected to climb 14.5% to 277,400 in 2020, from 242,200 in 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Labor expects 87,800 job openings in this sector during the decade, with 35,200 resulting from growth and 52,600 because of workers retiring or leaving the industry.

The replacement figure is a “scary number,” said George Arrants, director of business development at Lincoln Technical Institute, which offers seven diesel programs. “Most of it is based on the aging workforce.”

Arrants is chairman of TMC’s SuperTech competition, an annual contest held in conjunction with the fall meeting to recognize top technicians and promote the profession (9-17, p. 1).
Detroit Diesel Corp. in 2010 estimated that half of its mechanics would retire by 2015, Preston Ingalls, CEO of consultancy TBR Strategies, told Transport Topics.

He cited statistics from job placement agency Manpower Inc. that found the largest worker shortage in the United States was in skilled trades such as mechanics and welders in several industries, including trucking.

That agency placed the lack of mechanics above the driver shortage.

Kevin Holland, senior manager, service training at Daimler Trucks North America, said a poll of the company’s dealers and distributors indicated DTNA’s service network will need to acquire an additional 6,400 technicians by 2020.

At the TMC session, Karim, a retired fleet training manager for the U.S. Postal Service, pointed to one Postal Service vehicle maintenance facility on the East Coast as an example of the shortage. She said the agency has never been able to hire a full complement of technicians since it opened about 14 years ago and currently is staffed at only 60%.

And the gap between the labor needed and the labor available is expected to widen, said Tim Lawrence, executive director of SkillsUSA, a national organization for students preparing for careers in technical occupations.

“It’s going to get worse unless we face it and come up with some solutions,” he said.

Some employers are addressing the shortage by partnering with schools and community colleges, and “planting those seeds early,” said Ray Wheeling, vice president of advanced training at Universal Technical Institute, which offers diesel training programs at eight of its 11 campuses.

Companies are hosting career events to showcase modern truck technology, he said. They also can use video conferences to bring their shops to the classroom and get high school students excited about the profession.

Kevin Tomlinson, director of maintenance for South Shore Transportation Co., Sandusky, Ohio, said parents sometimes push students away from the vocational field because they see it as unfulfilling, dirty and academically inferior.

“It’s a culture change. You have to make them think differently. Everybody in the industry is competing for the same individuals, and you have to let them know that those positions are out there,” Tomlinson said.

The industry must get the word out that the technician field is really not what they think it is, he said.
Lawrence, of SkillsUSA, said the companies that work with educators have a recruitment advantage.
“The employers who are inside the schools, helping build that pipeline, are the employers who are going to actually get those students,” he said.

Wheeling, of Universal Technical Institute, said the biggest challenge for technician students over the past few years has been the cost of training, coupled with their inability or reluctance to take on debt.
The companies with more ad-vanced recruiting strategies have used scholarships and sponsorships to combat this problem, he said.

Financial assistance can also take other forms. One large fleet, for example, is offering upward of $10,000 in tools after a year of employment, Wheeling said.

Assistance with tuition loans and relocation costs for new hires are other ways that companies are offering financial incentives.

Tom James, CEO of the Truck Renting and Leasing Association, said there’s “an incredible pool of potential job candidates in our military veterans.”

“You’re going to find people that have those basic employability skills, many people who already have the skills needed in the shops, and you’re going to be helping out people who have served our country,” James said.

“It’s not the answer to the shortage, but it’s a very good step in the right direction,” he added.

Senior Reporter Rip Watson contributed to this story


PTDI Expands across Borders as Regulations Become More Harmonized

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September 17, 2012
Contact: David Heller, PTDI Program Director
703-647-7015 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Alexandria, Virginia – With the increasing Internet visibility and harmonization of regulations across borders, the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) is expanding its reach in Canada and beyond as it continues to receive international requests.

For Louise Philbin, education director and founder of 5th Wheel Training Institute, in Haileybury, Ontario, Canada, which recently received PTDI course recertification at its two sites, that’s good news. The rural, northern Ontario school received its initial course certification in 2000. “At the time, PTDI certainly was a visionary idea in Canada,” said Philbin. “Today I see PTDI certification as even more relevant for us as a Canadian school with the increasing competition, the changes in regulations, and the North American Free Trade Agreement, which means there’s a lot more harmonization of standards between the two countries.

“Our students are prepared to cross over the border and drive in the states, because our program covers all the U.S. requirements and regulations.”

Philbin added that over the years, PTDI has become more attractive in that students recognize its importance through Internet exposure. “In years past, there was a lot of lip service to the standards, but now there’s an awareness that the higher standards are very important to students, to the trucking industry, to funders, and even to insurance companies, so now it’s become value-added for us to follow the same international standards.”

Al Gurka, site manager of Schuylkill Technology Center, in Pottsville, Penn., who also has offered PTDI-certified courses since 2000 and which were recently recertified, said, “The PTDI website is a great tool for us. Prospective students can check the website to see what kind of training they will receive. We’re a small school in Pennsylvania, so somebody who never heard of us can check the PTDI website, and it presents us with good credentials. And carriers absolutely check the PTDI website. They send us prospective students based on the fact that we have PTDI certification.”

Internet exposure has definitely broadened PTDI’s reach. Certification coordinator Marlene Dakita said that the institute has received inquiries and/or applications from educators not only in Canada and the U.S., but in Egypt, Guam, Guatemala, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia. They even had interest from a contractor working with the U.S. Army in Iraq. Plus, she regularly receives inquiries through PTDI’s Web site from prospective students looking for information on schools with a PTDI-certified course.

“We continue to get recertified because the PTDI certification gives us national and international recognition that some small schools don’t get,” Gurka explained. “And we know that if our students move to Canada, they would be recognized there as well.”

The current list of all schools with PTDI-certified courses can be found at


DOT encourages you to subscribe to the MAP-21 list

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Emailed from Department of Transportation:


As a subscriber to updates from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), we thought you might be interested in hearing about the historic transportation legislation recently passed by Congress, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21). The new legislation requires DOT to develop implementation guidelines. We want to make sure that interested stakeholders can stay informed of our progress. We will communicate relevant events and milestones in this important task through the MAP-21 list, and we encourage you to subscribe to the MAP-21 list.


For example, subscribers to the “MAP-21” list received this email:


We are pleased to announce the launch of two National On-Line Dialogues focused on MAP-21 Implementation. These virtual sessions provide stakeholders with an opportunity to provide insights about priorities and implementation strategies on these two issues and will be open from September 13 to 23, 2012.


National Online Dialogue on MAP-21 Transportation Performance Measures
Please join this important dialogue to discuss and provide suggestions on the establishment of performance measures and standards (standards include items such as metrics, data collection, data sources, etc.) for States, MPOs, and/or transit grantees to use to assess the performance and condition of their transportation systems.


National Online Dialogue on MAP-21 Freight Policy
We hope that you log on to this dialogue and offer your suggestions on possible measures for the conditions and performance of a freight system and what should be included in the development of guidance for state freight plans.

These Online Dialogues are free and open to all and will be accessible 24/7 so that you can easily log on from home.  You will have the opportunity to submit, comment on and rate ideas interactively with colleagues from across the country, creating a national exchange of ideas, suggestions and strategies for implementing these specific aspects of MAP-21.


If these online dialogues or other opportunities to learn more about MAP-21 appeal to you, please sign-up for MAP-21 Updates from DOT to continue to receive notices about our implementation efforts. You may also feel free to join the dialogues listed above.


DOT Announces $59.3 Million for Clean, Energy-Efficient Transit Projects

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced that 27 projects will receive a combined $59.3 million to help transit agencies purchase and support cleaner, greener buses that reduce harmful emissions and improve fuel economy while also delivering a more comfortable, reliable ride for passengers. The funds from the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) FY 2012 Clean Fuels Grant Program will help achieve President Obama’s goal for an independent and secure energy future.

“President Obama is committed to investing in sustainable transportation systems that improve access to jobs, education and medical care for millions of riders, while bringing cleaner air to our communities and reducing our dependence on oil,” said Secretary LaHood. “These projects will also help transit agencies operate more efficiently, and save money in the long run.”

The types of projects selected to receive funding include replacing aging diesel buses with new hybrid-electric, compressed natural gas (CNG) or zero-emissions electric vehicles; building new fueling stations to accommodate alternative-fuel vehicles; and purchasing new clean-fuel hybrid batteries for buses.

“As more and more Americans choose to ride the bus to work and elsewhere, it’s good to know that they can depend on vehicles that won’t pollute their neighborhoods while also helping us to achieve greater energy independence,” said FTA Administrator Rogoff. “By investing in these clean-fuel projects today, we’re helping to ensure that the nation’s transit services are good for the environment for years to come.”

Demand for FY2012 funding was competitive, with FTA receiving 146 project applications totaling $516 million. A list of all 27 project selections, and a related map, can be found here:

Some projects selected for funding include:

$3.3 million for the St. Cloud Metropolitan Transit Commission in St. Cloud, Minnesota to renovate its Metro Bus Operations Center so the facility can accommodate a fleet of compressed natural gas (CNG) fueled vehicles and a CNG fueling station.

$4.4 million for the Transit Authority of River City in Louisville, Kentucky, to replace outdated, high-emission trolley cars with zero-emission buses, which will bring the transit system into compliance with federal clean air requirements for the first time and enable the transit authority to save on operating costs for years to come.

$2.5 million for Florida’s Miami-Dade County to retrofit older buses with new electric engine cooling systems that will improve fuel economy, reduce emissions, and prolong the life of the transit bus fleet; and

$4.5 million for the Worcester Regional Transit Authority in Worcester, Massachusetts, to replace aging diesel transit buses with zero-emission, all-electric buses, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, decrease fuel consumption, and save on operating costs.

In FY 2010 and FY 2011, FTA’s Clean Fuels Program awarded $89.7 million for 36 projects and $62.8 million for 29 projects, respectively. This year’s projects were competitively selected based on their ability to help communities achieve or maintain the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone and carbon monoxide while supporting emerging clean fuel and advanced propulsion technologies for transit buses.

Transit ridership across the U.S. has increased 16 out of the last 19 months, and in July 2012, ridership was up by 2.5 percent over the prior 12-month period.


California Poised to Enact Huge Climate-Change Plan

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By Paul Wagenseil,

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California's utilities, refineries and large factories must transform their operations to cut greenhouse gas emissions as part of a new climate plan before state regulators.

On Thursday, the California Air Resources Board was expected to adopt what would be the nation's most sweeping global warming plan, outlining for the first time how individuals and businesses would meet a landmark 2006 law that made the state a leader on global climate change.

It would hold California's worst polluters accountable for the heat-trapping emissions they produce — transforming how people travel, utilities generate power and businesses use electricity.

At the heart of the plan is the future creation of a carbon-credit market designed to give the state's major polluters cheaper ways to cut emissions.

If adopted, the plan would set clear strategies for how the country's most populous state plans to cut emissions at a time many governments around the world are struggling with a financial crisis that threatens to undermine efforts to fight climate change.

California's 2006 law, called the Global Warming Solutions Act, mandates the state cut emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

The strategy chosen by air regulators relies on 31 new rules affecting all facets of life, from what fuels Californians put in their vehicles to what kind of air conditioners businesses put in their buildings.

The average Californian, for example, can expect to pay to have his or her car tires inflated during oil changes and to pay higher power bills as utilities try to increase their use of renewable energy.

He or she could also see more fuel-efficient cars at dealerships, better public transportation, new housing near schools and businesses, and utility rebates to equip homes to be more energy efficient.

New fees and reporting requirements will accompany the emission rules.

Finding ways to implement California's target has not been without controversy.

Republicans, small businesses and major industries that will be forced to change their operations say jobs could be lost, companies might leave the state and energy prices will skyrocket.

California's nonpartisan legislative analyst and independent scientists have criticized some of the air board's research, saying the costs to the state could be greater than projected. Assemblyman Roger Niello, R-Fair Oaks, has asked the board to postpone its vote and perform a more thorough economic analysis... Continue reading.



DOT Safety Regulation Update - Week of August 27, 2012

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced last Friday that its signature CSA compliance monitoring system would undergo a huge overhaul in December. The changes, which will literally rewrite sections of the system, were designed to quell strong criticism from inside and out of the industry about the effectiveness of the program.

Rewritten BASICs
The most obvious changes are aimed at the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). The Cargo-Related BASIC has been removed and replaced while the Fatigued Driving BASIC has undergone a rebranding. To replace the Cargo-Related BASIC, FMCSA has added a new category, Hazardous Materials Compliance, which will, unsurprisingly, focus only on HazMat violations. The end result will be a very different CSA dashboard when the changes go into effect.

Tweaks and Fixes
Other changes include aligning the Safety Measurement System (SMS) with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s inspections program. This would eliminate vehicle violations from driver-only inspections and driver violation from vehicle-only inspections.

Furthermore, the Agency is removing speeding violations for infractions that were 1-5 mph over the limit. This is a nod to the fact that the regulations only require a speedometer to be accurate within 5-mph, thereby allowing some drivers to be ticketed without being able to tell that they were (slightly) speeding. Also related to speeding, the severity weight for a generic speeding violation has been dropped to one.

Hazardous Materials Compliance
The new BASIC, Hazardous Materials Compliance — or HM Compliance — focuses on carriers hauling or packaging hazmats. Many of the violations in this BASIC have been pulled from the now defunct Cargo-Related BASIC but the system has been refined to point a laser-eye on hazmat carriers.

According to FMCSA, “the HM Compliance BASIC identifies carriers with higher HM violation rates (33.8% versus 29.1%) and HM out-of-service rates (5.4% vs. 4.0%) than the current Cargo- Related BASIC. The HM Compliance BASIC will be available to logged-in motor carriers and enforcement personnel in December 2012. Further study over the next year will be conducted before it becomes available to the public.”

Vehicle Maintenance
While Vehicle Maintenance has been a part of CSA from the beginning, the latest changes give it a huge boost in importance. Many violations from the old Cargo-Related BASIC have been ported over to Vehicle Maintenance. FMCSA has also taken steps to make the weight of the violations in the new BASIC to be a little more fair and accurate than the old one. One of the issues the agency cited was that the weights of the violations were causing the agency to issue interventions on a disproportionate number of flatbed carriers. That, and similar issues, should now be fixed. With the violations changed to this degree, carriers should expect big changes to their Vehicle Maintenance scores.

Hours-of-Service Compliance
The Hours-of-Service Compliance BASIC — or HOS Compliance — is simply a rebranding of the old Fatigued Driving BASIC with very few changes. However, FMCSA, have, for the first time, given paper log and electronic log violations the same weight. This is, perhaps, a nod to the future in which FMCSA would like to see more usage of EOBRs and electronic time-management.

Changing Scores
Obviously, with new BASICS, there will be new scores; however, carriers should be prepared for the new information that will be released in December. Until now, the Cargo-Related violations have remained private, those violations can now be seen by shippers and insurers in the public vehicle maintenance BASIC, if you have work to do to repair your Cargo-Related scores, make sure you get it done before December.


Health and Transportation, a Critical Intersection

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From the Official Blog of DOT Secretary Ray LaHood

For many of us, transportation is about getting where we need to go. For American businesses, transportation is about getting goods to markets. At DOT, we think about transportation in both ways---but we can't stop there. We've also been working closely with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make sure that health is part of the transportation conversation.

And we were pleased to partner with HHS and the CDC yesterday for a White House Roundtable on Health and Transportation.

We know that the transportation choices we make play an important role in building and maintaining healthy communities. For example, safer roadways and traffic patterns reduce crashes. Streets where walkers and bikers are protected from motor vehicles encourage people to get more exercise as part of their daily routines. Increasing the transportation options available in a community helps reduce congestion and air pollution even as it ensures that communities have access to necessary services like full-service grocery stores and doctors' offices.

That's why we brought a wide range of experts together to talk about how to build communities that support healthy, active living through coordinated transportation and health policies. Yesterday's roundtable, "Health and Transportation in the Built Environment," featured representatives from the health, wellness, livability, transportation planning, public transportation, walking and biking, complete streets, accessibility, environmental, and injury prevention communities.
Therese McMillan, Deputy Federal Transit Administrator began by emphasizing the importance of coordination between agencies responsible for health and transportation.

We were also pleased to have on hand Tina Tchen, Chief of Staff for First Lady Michelle Obama. She reminded participants about how their work fits in with the ongoing mission of Let’s Move Cities, Towns, and Counties, and she encouraged everyone to continue doing what they can to add biking, walking and accessibility options across the country.

Throughout yesterday's roundtable, participants talked about coordinating resources, using data to inform decisions, and looking carefully for opportunities to create healthier communities through transportation choices. The importance of collaboration resurfaced throughout the day.

The fact that we're having important conversations like yesterday's is a terrific development. But when it comes to the critical intersection of health and transportation, we cannot be content with talk. So in closing the day's activities, Mary Beth Bigley of the Surgeon General's office charged each participant to take at least one action building on the lessons shared by their colleagues.

At DOT we've already been hard at work partnering with HUD and EPA to help build livable communities. And as we begin implementing the new transportation legislation known as MAP-21, we look forward to working with our partners to build transportation options that provide safe, accessible, healthy communities.



Crete Carrier Corporation’s Keith Redvay Named Trucking’s Top Rookie

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randall-reilly-business.jpgFor Immediate Release
Contact: Brad Bentley
(256) 241-3310
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Cash and prizes awarded at Great American Trucking Show

TUSCALOOSA, Ala., (August 2012) – Randall-Reilly Business Media & Information announced Crete Carrier Corporation company driver Keith Redvay as the winner in its Trucking’s Top Rookie program at a ceremony on Friday, August 24 during the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas.

Redvay.jpgRedvay was chosen for the award by an expert panel of judges, which included representatives from motor carriers, training schools, suppliers and trade associations. As Trucking’s Top Rookie, Redvay won $10,000 in cash and the following prizes:

  • One-year complimentary membership in the National Association of Independent Truckers (NAIT), plus a NAIT OGIO briefcase and duffle bag
  • $1,000 cash and 100,000 MyRewards points from Pilot Flying J
  • A GPS unit and Bluetooth-enabled CB radio from COBRA Electronics
  • American Trucking Associations “National Truck Driver Appreciation Week” prize package
  • A Year’s supply of 5-Hour Energy drinks
  • Lindora Clinic Lean for Life® On-the-Road program

Immediately following the awards ceremony, Red Eye Radio’s Eric Harley conducted a live interview with Redvay, who will soon be featured in Randall-Reilly’s Student Driver Placement and Company Driver publications.

A Franklin, Ind. native, Redvay received his CDL training at Roadmaster Drivers School. Before becoming a driver with Crete Carrier Corporation, Redvay served in the Army for 26 years, retiring as a Battalion Sergeant Major and was involved with returning soldiers who would be looking for civilian work in the near future. Keith was preparing to join the trucking industry once he retired from the military, and worked diligently to promote the transportation industry to these returning service men and women. He is now a proud member of Crete Carrier Corporation’s new Patriot Fleet that transports freight around the United States thanking our service men and women for a job well done.

“Keith’s transition to the trucking industry from the military has been seamless. The skills and training that Keith received while in the military allowed him to be successful in Crete’s training program and now in the trucking industry. Keith is an exceptional representative of Crete Carrier, the Military, and the Trucking’s Top Rookie honor,” says Jeff Dady, Driver Development Manager at Crete Carrier Corporation.

The Trucking's Top Rookie contest was created to highlight the opportunities in the truck driving profession and promote the truck driving career choice during a severe shortage of drivers. Carriers were asked to nominate their top rookie who had graduated from a PTDI certified, or NAPFTDS- or CVTA-member driver training school within the past year and had been employed by their trucking company for less than one year. Nominees were judged on their safety performance, customer service and achievements within their organization.

Nine other finalists for the Trucking’s Top Rookie award each received $1,000 in cash and a variety of other prizes. The other finalists were Scott Curry, Werner Enterprises; Annette Dellinger, C.R. England Global Transportation; Michael Gartner, Roehl Transport; Roberto Jaimes, Werner Enterprises; Andrew Lee, TMC Transportation; James Perdue, Roehl Transport; Mike Samra, Schneider National; Paul Webb, Epes Transportation and Jerry Wolff, TMC Transportation.

Trucking’s Top Rookie is a partnership between Randall-Reilly, Truckload Carriers Association, Progressive Insurance, the National Association of Independent Truckers, Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA), Shell ROTELLA, National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools, American Trucking Associations and the Red Eye Radio Network.