DOT Seeks Stakeholder Input on the Next ITS Strategic Research Plan, 2015-2019

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The U.S. Department of Transportation Seeks Stakeholder Input on the Next ITS Strategic Research Plan, 2015-2019

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The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is seeking public input as it develops the next version of the ITS Strategic Plan. A new document called An Open Dialogue on the Draft Focus and Themes for the Next ITS Strategic Research Plan: Engaging Stakeholders in Their Discussion and Development was released today and it identifies the ITS-related issues that USDOT will focus on for the rest of the decade.

The current  ITS Strategic Research Plan—2010-2014 established a focused research agenda to prepare the next generation of intelligent transportation system (ITS) technologies for widespread deployment throughout the nation. This discussion document is the first step in developing the ITS research agenda for 2015 to 2019.

The purpose of the document is to identify the focus and themes for the next installment of the ITS Strategic Research Plan and invite stakeholders to participate in their discussion. This open dialogue will enable continuity of the USDOT’s current research programs while establishing new or redefined goals and objectives to meet emerging research needs.

The document presents the following broad themes for discussion:

  • Maturing Connected Vehicle Systems – Focuses on what is needed to accelerate the maturity of vehicle-based communications with surrounding systems
  • Piloting and Deployment Readiness – Focuses on the security, policy, business opportunities, capabilities, pilots, and incentives needed to support vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) implementation
  • Integrating with the Broader Environment – Focuses on the integration and decision support capabilities to enable V2V and V2I interaction with other governmental services and public utilities.

The discussion document provides an opportunity for stakeholders to share their perspectives and help shape the future of federal ITS research.

To participate in the discussion, visit  The full document is available at


Additional ITS Resources on the Federal Highway Administration Office of Operations Website

Legislative Report - 2.16.2013

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On February 11, 2013, the National Association of State Approving Agencies (NASAA) held its Mid-Winter Training & Business Meeting.  NASAA facilitates the efforts of the state approving agencies (SAAs) to promote and safeguard quality education and training programs for all veterans and other eligible persons.  SAAs are established on a state-by-state basis to approve programs of education within each state and their primary responsibility and focus is the review, evaluation, and approval of quality programs of education and training under state and federal criteria.

A panel discussion entitled: Challenges and Opportunities: The GI Bill included representatives from the American Legion, VA, NASAA, National Association of Veteran's Program Administrators (NAVPA), StudentVeterans of America (SVA), and Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW).  The panel discussion focused primarily on implementation efforts at the VA of the Principles of Excellence established by Executive Order 13607 and H.R. 4057, the Improving Transparency of Education Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-249).

Lautenberg Won't Seek Re-Election in 2014

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Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), a longtime advocate of transportation safety and infrastructure, will not seek reelection in 2014, he announced Thursday.

Lautenberg has continuously pushed to improve trucking safety, including a proposal enacted last year to mandate electronic logging devices to track drivers' hours of service on all trucks.

He has also pushed against increasing truck size and weight regulations and advocated for more laws to crack down on drunk driving.

Lautenberg, who leads the subcommittee responsible for surface transportation within the Senate's Commerce, Science and Transportation committee, has focused much of his work since his 1982 election on improving passenger rail service and infrastructure.

"While I may not be seeking re-election, there is plenty of work to do before the end of this term and I'm going to keep fighting as hard as ever for the people of New Jersey in the U.S. Senate," he said in a statement.

Job Fair to Highlight Need for Transportation Workers

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Transportation, one of Nebraska's fastest-growing industries, needs workers, and labor and trucking officials are encouraging people who are unemployed or underemployed to consider applying for those jobs.

Anyone interested in jobs related to the movement of people and products by road, rail, air and water is encouraged to attend a job expo Tuesday at Metropolitan Community College's south campus that will feature about 35 transportation companies.
“We're doing industry-specific job fairs because what we're trying to do is show people where there are jobs and where there's a need. In this transportation, distribution and logistics area, they're doing lots of hiring — and all kinds,” said Deb Christensen, a business service representative for the Nebraska Department of Labor, which is sponsoring the event with the Nebraska Trucking Association.

The challenge will be matching skills with jobs, trucking industry people say.

Among those hiring is Brad Morehouse, vice president of W.N. Morehouse Truck Line. The Omaha company currently has 118 drivers and is looking to fill about five positions. Morehouse said the company could add up to 30 additional trucks to its fleet because it has the freight and customer volume, but he knows he couldn't find enough drivers.

“We get stacks and stacks of applications. We just can't get them qualified for numerous reasons,” he said. “Sometimes it's our own company policy, while the other half would be regulations — government regulations, physical regulations. There's so many and it's definitely gotten more challenging.”

Another issue is that because the state requires drivers be at least 21 years old before they can drive a truck across state lines, high school graduates who choose to not go to college select a different trade to pursue. They become electricians, plumbers and framers.

“There's different options,” he said, “but we're not one of the options.”

Generally, trucking companies require that driver applicants have a commercial driver's license, some over-the-road driving experience and a good driving record and work history. Other companies offer on-the-job training opportunities.

Christensen said insurance companies have a lot of influence on driver requirements. They want experienced, safe drivers because of the injury they can cause on the road and the high cost of the trucks.

Nationally, about 90 percent of for-hire truckload carriers say they can't find enough drivers who meet U.S. Department of Transportation requirements, according to a study last year by the American Trucking Associations. The group estimates the industry is short 20,000 to 25,000 drivers now and says the driver shortage could balloon to 239,000 by 2022.

The driver shortage could lead to delayed shipping of products and shortages of products for the consumers to purchase. Long term, the shortage of transportation workers could be felt in consumers' pocketbooks in the form of higher prices at the meat counter or retail stores, said Larry Johnson, president of the Nebraska Trucking Association.

The American Trucking Associations has said the bulk of the shortage is in long-haul, over-the-road jobs.

While drivers and diesel mechanics are the most immediate need, the Tuesday event is geared toward any position in transportation, like the planning, management and distribution processes. Those jobs can include warehouse workers, dispatchers and office managers.

The event isn't just for people new to transportation, but also for students who are choosing a career and for workers looking to re-enter the field and move up.

“We want people to see there's room for them to move up in the industry,” Christensen said. “With their knowledge, they can do a lot to help the industry.”

In 2010, the transportation and warehousing industry employed 49,578 in the state, according to projections by the Nebraska Department of Labor, and the department projects it will grow 17.6 percent by 2020. That puts it behind only three other categories: mining (18 percent), construction (22.5 percent) and administration/waste management services (18.8 percent).

Each transportation and warehousing subcategory shows strong growth the next 10 years: air transportation at 13.7 percent, rail transportation at 15.5 percent and truck transportation at 21.6 percent. The support activities for transportation subcategory, which is generally logistics, is projected to grow 16.8 percent.

Truck driving in particular has been designated as a “hot job” by the state because there are more openings than applicants, Christensen said.

The driver shortage remains a challenge for Sarpy-based Werner Enterprises, one of the largest trucking firms in the nation. In its fourth quarter of 2012 earnings report, Werner pointed to driver pay increases by competitors, fewer and increased competition for truck driving school graduates and an improved housing construction market as factors.

Werner's executive vice president-driver resources, Bob Synowicki, said it's difficult to quantify the number of people transportation has lost to construction, but the company has noticed the trend increase the past several months.

That's despite its truck-driving pay — starting at about $40,000 annually and reaching more than $60,000 annually.

The draw of construction jobs, Synowicki said, is that they allow for workers to get home every night.

He said Werner's driver retention rates improved some during the fourth quarter, noting that about 70 percent of its driving jobs are shorter-haul, regional fleet operations that allow drivers to get home weekly or sooner.

Johnson said there have been pushes by companies to ensure workers are getting home regularly and partnerships by community colleges and the Nebraska Departments of Education, Economic Development and Labor to help steer applicants toward the industry.

But he thinks it'll take more than that for workers to realize the opportunities.

“The big national problem is kind of a systemic result, maybe because of an emphasis on (higher) education over the last 20 years,” he said. “What we're seeing in the economy is that it's going to take some time to change people's minds — not only the workers, but the young workers, parents and high school counselors.”

The positive side is that the expos seem to help. Last year, Johnson said, similar expos specifically for truck drivers and diesel mechanics drew big turnouts, and companies, the underemployed and unemployed made connections.

“We hope that people will enter by choice, not chance,” he said.


Webster, Chamberlain and Bean to Assist CVTA with Legislative and Legal Issues

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Webster, Chamberlain & Bean, LLP is the leading law firm in the United States specializing in the provision of a full range of legal services to non-profit organizations. Since 1970, WC&B has provided comprehensive legal services to a broad range of trade associations, professional societies, public charities, private foundations, scientific organizations, churches, clubs, schools and civic groups, lobbying groups, and political committees and candidates.

WC&B also assists individuals and businesses of all sizes on business transactions and other legal matters. In providing legal and counseling services, the attorneys of WC&B seek to combine their legal experience with solid business judgment gained from over four decades of service. Our clients appreciate this approach, as well as our ability to effectively address their needs by involving attorneys with complementary areas of expertise.

Our main point of contact will be David Goch. David is currently working with the Board of Directors to seek information on prioritizing the important issues for CVTA. David will then put together a plan of action with the Board of Directors. The results will be highlighted in a presentation at the 2013 Spring Conference. We are also delighted to welcome John Hazard, who will be working with us on legal issues and clarifications.

If you have any issues you would like CVTA to address, please contact Cindy Atwood at the CVTA office 703-642-944 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thank you for your continued support.

All the Best
Cheryl Hanley

Legislative Report - 2.8.2013

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WASHINGTON — Sen. Marco Rubio delivered a short speech about education on Wednesday, February 6th discussing the need to modernize education for a new century and ensure that students receive the skills necessary to succeed in the changing job market.

Speaking at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as part of a larger event on coordination between the business community and educational institutions, the likely 2016 presidential contender said that a “fundamental obstacle to economic progress is the skills gap that exists in our nation. The fact of the matter is that millions of our people do not have the skills that they need for the 21st century.”

Congratulations to J.J. Keller on Their 60th Anniversary

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J. J. Keller Celebrates 60 Years of Helping Guide Companies in Compliance, Safety and Best Practices
Neenah, WI — In 2013, the “Diamond K” logo of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.® will take on new meaning as the company begins a year-long celebration of its 60th “Diamond” Anniversary (officially November 1, 2013).

John “Jack” Keller established the company in downtown Neenah, Wis. in 1953, as a one-man regulatory consulting, warehousing and insurance underwriting operation.

As government regulations evolved and new compliance challenges materialized, the company kept pace with new product and service offerings, building a solid reputation for providing companies in a variety of industries with solutions that help them manage safety and regulatory compliance.

“Over the years, we have seen markets develop and grow, and we’ve adapted accordingly,” said Robert Keller, Chairman of J. J. Keller. “We believe we have contributed positively to that growth and development by helping companies meet their safety and compliance goals and by supplying the industries we serve with cutting edge products and services that, as a whole, are unsurpassed by any other provider.”

Now the nation’s most-trusted source for safety and compliance solutions, J. J. Keller stays on top of new regulations and industry needs, and offers over 5,500 products and services for the transport, manufacturing, hazardous materials, human resources, construction, food and government markets.

At the core of the company’s success is a strong commitment to providing outstanding customer service and quality resources. J. J. Keller's subject matter experts research and write content, answer questions, and speak on subjects covering 1,500 topics.

“Throughout the years, we’ve promoted a number of core values among our associates,” said James Keller, President/CEO. “Today J. J. Keller associates continue to deliver these important values through quality products, dedicated customer service and innovative thinking.”

Along with growing the company, Jack and his wife Ethel Keller made it their personal mission to give back to the community. In 1990, Jack established the J. J. Keller Foundation in honor of Ethel’s 70th birthday. This private, independent family foundation provides charitable funding to many worthwhile organizations, especially those addressing the causes and consequences of poverty in the neighboring communities.

To date, gifts and commitments from the Foundation and funding programs have totaled more than $35 million.

J. J. Keller and its associates also support numerous charitable endeavors, such as Habitat for Humanity® home builds, United Way, Boy Scouts, Catalpa Health, and other benevolent work in the community.

Along with a commitment to community, J. J. Keller has demonstrated a commitment to the environment by achieving ISO 14001 certification, a standard aimed at reducing the environmental footprint of a business and decreasing pollution and waste.

Today, J. J. Keller remains a privately owned business. It ranks as one of the largest employers in Wisconsin’s Fox River Valley, employing over 1,200 associates and serving over 350,000 customers, including more than 90% of the Fortune 1000. While most associates work at the company’s four locations in Neenah and Appleton, a number of associates are located throughout the United States to provide personalized service to customers.

Celebration of the 60th anniversary will continue throughout 2013 with events and a J. J. Keller history book supplement highlighting the company’s changes and growth over the past 10 years. The company has also developed an online photo album that chronicles the history of J. J. Keller. It can be viewed at