$826 Mil to Modernize and Repair the Nation’s Transit Buses & Facilities

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U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces More Than $826 Million to Modernize and Repair the Nation’s Transit Buses and Facilities, Highlights President Obama’s Call for Greater Investment as Part of an America Built to Last

Discretionary Funds Support State-of-Good-Repair, Sustainability Objectives for Transit

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced the availability of $826.5 million in Fiscal Year 2012 discretionary funds to modernize and repair transit vehicles and facilities around the country and promote the widespread use of sustainable clean fuel. The funding commitment highlights President Obama’s call for investing in an America that’s built to last.

“An American economy that’s built to last must be built on a solid foundation, and when we have buses, transit facilities, and other equipment that’s in disrepair, we simply cannot afford to ignore them,” Secretary LaHood said. “The President knows that transportation projects like those we’ll fund from today’s announcement will help provide businesses and families with the safest, fastest, most efficient way to connect with opportunity.”

“Reliable and desirable transit systems enable hard-working American families to keep billions of dollars in their wallets rather than hand them over at the gas pump,” said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff. “These investments will ensure that transit remains a dependable option and advance President Obama’s goal for an America Built to Last.”

The notice of funding availability (NOFA) published in today’s Federal Register invites competitive proposals for three of the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) top policy priorities through the discretionary Bus and Bus Facilities and Clean Fuels grant programs, all subject to funding availability, as follows:

  • State of Good Repair. Approximately $650 million available in FY2012 discretionary funds will bring the three-year total to $1.5 billion for over 300 projects aimed at replacing or rehabilitating transit infrastructure and for transit asset management. As transit ridership continues to increase putting even greater demand on our transit systems, FTA will also consider maintenance facility and equipment expansion requests to help address ongoing capacity constraints that limit a transit agency’s ability to maintain vehicles and equipment in a state of good repair.
  • Livability. Approximately $125 million is available for projects that will improve the quality of life through expanded transportation choices, new and better intermodal connections, reduced congestion, and/or services aimed at economically disadvantaged populations, including senior citizens and people with disabilities.
  • Clean Fuels. Approximately $51.5 million is available to help communities meet national air quality standards that do not do so now. The program also supports the development and marketing of emerging clean fuel and advanced propulsion technologies for transit buses. This year, as in years past, FTA will consider expanding the eligible applicant pool by drawing upon additional discretionary Bus and Bus Facilities Program funds.

These discretionary funds are made available through FTA’s Bus and Bus Facilities and Clean Fuels Programs. The public announcement of recipients receiving funds will be likely be made in July 2012. A complete schedule of FTA’s upcoming discretionary programs, along with details on FTA’s FY2012 apportionments, may be found here.

New Regulations Added To SMS

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of January 17, 2012
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance


Regulations are an ever changing thing. This week, FMCSA has announced the addition of several recently created regulations, and their violation weights, to the SMS methodology.

As anyone familiar with the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) system will surely know, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ranks its regulations in order of the likelihood that violating the regulation would cause an accident. These scores, or ‘Violation Severity Weights’, give a carrier a good idea of how badly the violation will affect their CSA Behavior Analysis Safety Improvement Categories (BASIC) scores at the end of the month.

Regulations, however, are an ever changing thing and every now and again, FMCSA is required to issue updates to the Safety Measurement System methodology. This week, FMCSA issued updates regarding the new cellphone use regulations.

New Weights

All of the new regulations were added to the Unsafe Driving BASIC so violating them will affect your Unsafe Driving score.

  • 177.804(b): Failure to comply with 49 CFR 392.80 - Texting while Operating a CMV - Placardable HM.
  • Violation Severity Weight: 10
  • 177.804(c): Fail to comply with 392.82 - Using Mobile Phone while Operating a CMV - HM.
  • Violation Severity Weight: 10
  • 392.80(a): Driving a commercial motor vehicle while texting.
  • Violation Severity Weight: 10
  • 392.82(a)(1): Using a hand-held mobile telephone while operating a CMV.
  • Violation Severity Weight: 10
  • 392.82(a)(2): Allowing or requiring driver to use a hand-held mobile telephone while operating a CMV
  • Violation Severity Weight: 10

Heavy Penalties

As you may have noticed, all of these violations have been rated a 10: this is the maximum ranking in the system. This means that FMCSA have assessed that violating these regulations is very likely to cause an accident. You can expect that tickets issued for these violations, and the FMCSA investigations that result from them, are going to come with very heavy penalties.

February Report

These new violations were put into the SMS methodology in January so you should see their effect in your February report. Also in that report, FMCSA has broken down six Vehicle Maintenance violations into 22 separate violations. This was in an effort to paint a clearer picture as to who was responsible for the error, the carrier or the intermodal equipment provider.

If you have BASIC scores that were previously elevated because of violating these regulations, you may notice a change in that score in your February report.

Violation Weights

For those of you unfamiliar with how the CSA system works, and the importance of the weights, we have included a brief refresher course on how FMCSA judges as violation based on time and severity.

Under SMS, all violations are time and severity weighted. So, a violation for not wearing a seatbelt 18 months ago will impact a carrier’s ranking a lot less than a reckless driving citation from 60 days ago. Below are brief explanations of the two types of violation weights used in SMS.

Severity Weight: Violations are assigned a weight based on the likelihood that such a violation would cause a crash. The least likely culprits are given a score of 1, while the most likely are given a 10. FMCSA has published a table that lists severity weights for violations in each BASICs category. Open the PDF below to view severity weight by BASIC:

Time Weight: Under SMS, a violation is weighted based on the amount of time that has passed since the violation occurred. Violations committed in the last 6 months are given a 3. Violations committed between 6 and 12 months ago are given a time weight of 2. Violations committed between 12 and 24 months are given a weight of 1.

Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • • Vol. 111, No. 723 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011

Fourth Round of Funding Under Highly Successful TIGER Program

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U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces Fourth Round of Funding Under Highly Successful TIGER Program

Following President Obama's call in his State of the Union address for greater infrastructure investment as part of “An America Built to Last,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced the availability of funding for transportation projects under a fourth round of the popular TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Discretionary Grant program. TIGER 2012 will make $500 million available for surface transportation projects having a significant impact on the nation, a metropolitan area, or region.

The previous three rounds of the TIGER program provided $2.6 billion to 172 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Demand for the program has been overwhelming, and during the previous three rounds, the Department of Transportation received more than 3,348 applications requesting more than $95 billion for transportation projects across the country.

“President Obama made clear in his State of the Union address that investing in transportation means putting people back to work, and that’s just what our TIGER program is doing in communities across the country,” said Secretary LaHood. “Americans are demanding investments in highways, ports, commuter rail, streetcars, buses, and high-speed rail. These kinds of projects not only mean a stronger economic future for the U.S., but jobs for Americans today.”

As in previous rounds, high-speed rail and intercity passenger rail projects remain eligible for funding. TIGER 2012 provides for the possibility of up to $100 million being used toward these projects. TIGER 2012 will also continue to encourage the development of transportation projects in rural areas, providing $120 million for rural transportation projects.

On November 18, 2011, the President signed the FY 2012 Appropriations Act, which provided $500 million for Department of Transportation infrastructure investments. Like the first three rounds, TIGER 2012 grants are for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure and are to be awarded on a competitive basis.

Projects will be evaluated on primary criteria that include safety, economic competitiveness, livability, environmental sustainability, state of repair and short-term job creation.

Pre-applications are due February 20 and applications are due March 19. You can click here to view the Notice of Funding Availability.

Self-Certification/Medical Examiners Certification

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All Third Party CDL Skills Testers,

As you may know, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently amended their regulations to require people who have, or who are seeking a commercial driver license, to self-certify the type of driving they engage in or expect to engage in to their state’s licensing agency. Additionally, all commercial driver license (CDL) holders, subject to the physical qualification requirements of the FMCSRs, must provide a current copy of their Medical Examiner’s Certificate to their state driver licensing agency. These provisions were signed into state law on January 27, 2012

Current CDL permit holders, Out-of State CDL transferees, and people seeking a CDL on or after Jan. 30 will be required to meet the provisions of the new law when testing, applying for a permit or transferring a CDL from another state.

Beginning Jan. 30, 2012, when submitting commercial test results to PennDOT for processing, please include a completed Self-Certification Form (DL-11CD) along with the DL-402CD and DL-403CD. In addition, drivers who self-certify on the DL-11CD that their driving type is “Non-excepted Interstate” or “Non-excepted Intrastate” are also required to submit a copy of their valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC) along with the Self-Certification Form (DL-11CD). (Drivers will be required to continue carrying the MEC until 2014.) Unless the required information is submitted along with the commercial test results, the examinee will not be issued an upgraded CDL. If you have any questions relating to this updated process, please contact me via email or (717) 787-4219.

Additionally, PENNDOT will begin notifying existing CDL holders by letter in March of the requirements. Failure to complete and submit the self-certification form or to provide a copy of a valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate (if required) by the due date listed in the notice will result in their commercial driver license being downgraded, meaning that they will lose their commercial designation and only be authorized to drive non-commercial vehicles. Drivers who have their license downgraded will be required to go through the entire commercial learner’s permit process to regain their commercial driving privilege.

Attached is a Self-Certification/Medical Examiner’s Certification Fact Sheet regarding the new law, a copy of the Self-Certification Form (DL-11 CD), and the Notification Schedule for Existing CDL Holders. Further information is available on PENNDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services Web site,, by clicking on the “New CDL Law 2012” button.

Thank you for your attention to this matter,

Timothy D Schaffner | Manager
PA Department of Transportation
Bureau of Driver Licensing | CDL Third Party Testing
1101 South Front Street | Harrisburg, PA 17104
Phone: 717-787-4219 | Fax: 717-705-1131

Stevens Transport to Equip 2,000 Tractors with Qualcomm’s MCP200

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Stevens Transport, a Dallas-based refrigerated carrier, announced that it has selected Qualcomm’s Mobile Computing Platform 200 to integrate across its fleet of about 2,000 tractors to enhance its customer service while increasing efficiency and productivity.

“With the adoption of Qualcomm’s MCP200 and many of our key applications, Stevens Transport will be able to better optimize its fleet operations by leveraging important analytics and critical business information to increase productivity, run more loaded miles and generate more revenue, all while providing its customers with the best possible shipping experience,” says Norm Ellis, vice president of sales, services,and marketing at Qualcomm Enterprise Services. “We are committed to providing our customers with smooth, comprehensively managed operations that ultimately ensure success for their own customers... Continue reading...


Download Your 2012 Pocket Guide to Transportation

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The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration produces the Pocket Guide to Transportation as a compact resource that provides snapshots of the U.S. transportation system and highlights major transportation trends. The Pocket Guide contains a wealth of information divided into five sections:

  • Safety
  • State of Good Repair
  • System Use and Livable Communities
  • Economic Competitiveness
  • Environmental Sustainability

The Pocket Guide to Transportation supports the BTS mission to create, manage, and share transportation statistical knowledge. This contributes to data driven and evidence based decision making.

Click here to download the entire document.

Recording of Webinar on Web-based Training

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You can see how the Delmar products (copyright PTDI) align with the PTDI standards at Page 16 of the Curriculum Standards is an overview of the required units and time, followed on subsequent pages by details of objectives for each unit. In the Certification Standards, see specifically Standards 5.2 (Instructional Time) and 9.2 (Distance Learning Option). Guidelines on distance learning and the related standards for PTDI course certification are also provided below.

Contact information for the product or the standards is listed at the bottom of this page.

How many hours does PTDI allot to a distance learning program?

The PTDI Certification Standard on Distance Learning (DL) (page 50 of the Certification Standards and reprinted below) was updated and re-released in May 2011.  Formerly it had allowed two hours per chapter.  It now basically requires the school to ensure that the a student gets the equivalent training by DL as if in the classroom setting.  Equivalent does not mean equal to; i.e., if you have four hours for a unit to be completed in the classroom, via DL it may take only two or three hours for a student to learn the same information.  The school is responsible for verifying that the student is getting the same (equivalent) training.  Also note that independent study (IS) is a separate option from distance learning and has its own requirements, which includes a minimum of 70 (84 50-minute hours) of actual classroom/lab instruction.  IS is Certification Standard 9.1 (page 49 & printed below) and also has guidelines in the Curriculum Standards (page 7-8).

PTDI Certification Standard 9.2 – Distance Learning Option:

  1. All PTDI enrollment standards as outlined in Standard 1.4 (Student Eligibility and Admissions) are applicable.
  2. Distance learning is defined as: educational or instructional activity that is delivered electronically to students. This could include interactive instructional models such as audio or video computer conferencing, or Internet/Web-based instruction. The use of home-based learning using only a workbook as a study guide is not acceptable.
  3. The core curriculum in distance learning must be the same or comparable to the curriculum in the on-campus program.
  4. The course provides for timely interaction between instructor and student.
  5. The course being offered electronically must be the equivalent of all hours of credit as required for classroom/lab time in PTDI Standard 5.2 (Instructional Time).
  6. The school must verify appropriate training and support services to instructors who teach courses and programs electronically as outlined in Standard 3.2 (Instructor Development). Training must be documented and placed in the instructor file.
  7. Prospective students in distance education programs must be provided with information regarding admission; skills needed to participate; equipment requirements; academic support services available; course and program completion requirements; and any additional costs for distance learning programming as outlined in Standard 1.1 (Truth in Advertising & Public Information).
  8. Each student must take a proctored exam at a certified location offered by the school. Documentation of identity, date and time, location of the test and test scores must be signed by the appropriate administrator and placed in the student file.
  9. Courses begin and end within a specified or controlled time frame and require that the assignments and tests be submitted by specific due dates. Students must be able to review completed lessons as part of the course offered prior to any proctored exam.

(Rev. 5/20/11)

PTDI Certification Standard 5.2 – Instructional Time (excerpt) states: Classroom and lab time must be a minimum of 104 hours (60-minute hours) or 125 (50-minute hours).

  • Classroom/lab and skills training must include each component outlined in the Curriculum Standards Units of Instruction as found in “Curriculum Standards and Guidelines for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Courses.”

PTDI Certification Standard 9.1 - Independent Study Option:

Independent study is an alternative method of guiding student learning in addition to traditional classroom instruction and must meet the same objectives with regard to content, time on task and mastery of material.  It requires independent consideration and mastery of a designated body of knowledge and is, therefore, differentiated from homework, which merely reinforces materials covered in class.  Independent study should include the following key elements for each unit:

  • Number and title of PTDI curriculum classroom unit for which it is proposed independent study be substituted; e.g., Unit 1, Unit 2 (See Curriculum Standard Units of Instruction in “Curriculum Standards and Guidelines for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Courses.”)
  • Classroom hours required for that unit, including both classroom contact hours and independent study
  • Total number of hours being submitted with independent study
  • Performance objectives
  • Knowledge objectives
  • Independent study materials to be used
  • Estimated time to complete independent study materials
  • Procedure used to determine whether the student did in fact achieve the objectives
  • Evaluation instruments and other documentation indicating successful completion of independent study

Thirty-four (34) (41)hours of independent study may be utilized for classroom/lab instruction, subject to a minimum of 70 (84) hours actual classroom/lab instructions, in order to meet the required 104 (125)hours of classroom/lab time.  Courses must explain how the option is used and complete and file the time waiver form.  (See Appendix C of these standards.)

If independent study is used it should be cited in the school catalog, brochures, and other documents where it is legal to do so.

(Rev. 5/20/11)


Marlene Dakita
Certification Coordinator
Professional Truck Driver Institute
555 E. Braddock Rd., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-647-7015; fax 703-836-6610
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Jennifer Barbic
Senior Marketing Manager
Delmar | Chilton
Cengage Learning
5 Maxwell Drive, Clifton Park, NY 12065
(0) 800.998.7498 x2691 | (e) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. |