Senate Committee OKs Highway Bill

on .

By Michele Fuetsch, Staff Reporter
This story appears in the Nov. 14 print edition of Transport Topics.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last week approved a transportation bill that would authorize $84 billion in highway spending over two years, the first such measure to move in Congress since the previous funding legislation expired in 2009.

Sponsored by two Republicans and two Democrats, the measure was sent to the full Senate on Nov. 9, although identified revenue sources to fund it fell $12 billion short.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the panel’s highest-ranking Republican, said the vote was “predicated” on finding additional revenue to fully fund the measure. “It’s not going to go anywhere outside of this committee until we find that funding,” he said.

Introduced Nov. 4, the bill contains several proposals that would affect trucking, including creation of a national program designed to speed freight along the nation’s highways

Click here to read the full article (Free 14 Days Subscription Available)

Team truck drivers becoming scarcer than solos, brokerage exec says

on .

By Mark B. Solomon
DC Velocity

Team drivers "are like gold," says head of Con-way Multimodal.

The president of the brokerage division of transport logistics giant Con-way Inc. said it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract and retain two-person team drivers, an important factor in carriers' ability to execute long-haul deliveries of high-value, time-sensitive shipments such as perishables.

C. Thomas Barnes, president of Aurora, Ill.-based Con-way Multimodal, said that while the brokerage is not having much trouble locating solo drivers to move his customers' loads, procuring team drivers is another story. Finding teams is a "much bigger issue" than obtaining the services of solo drivers, Barnes said, adding that "teams are like gold."

In an interview with DC Velocity on Monday at the National Industrial Transportation League's annual meeting in Atlanta, Barnes said team drivers are in short supply for the same reasons that plague companies seeking qualified long-haul truckload drivers, namely a difficult work-life balance and relatively low pay for long hours on the road. In addition, team drivers are often asked to handle specialized freight such as perishables and hazardous materials because those commodities often require fast deliveries—usually in less than three days—over long distances.

Finding team drivers certified to transport hazardous materials is probably the most formidable of the recruitment challenges, said Barnes, who estimated that "specialized" commodities account for about 35 percent of Con-way Multimodal's traffic mix... Continue reading...


Comprehensive Truck Safety Data Shows Trucking as Safe as Ever

on .

By Lyndon Finney
The Trucker Staff

WASHINGTON — The Analysis Division of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has published its comprehensive safety report on large trucks for 2009, and while the information about the total number of truck-related fatalities was not new (3,380 in 2009 versus 4,245 as reported in 2008), the report delivered additional, in-depth data that shows the trucking industry is as safe as it ever has been.

Meanwhile, the fact that the FMCSA did not publicize the report has become a story in itself.

“Based on the report, fatal crashes involving a large truck have fallen 31 percent from 2007 to 2009 and crashes resulting in injury have fallen 30 percent,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said. He praised the efforts of the nation’s truck drivers, safety directors and law enforcement officers for their contributions to the continued progress in the industry’s safety record.

The report shows that the large truck fatal crash rate fell to 1.04 crashes per 100 million miles in 2009, down from 1.21 in 2008, and that since 2000, the fatal crash rate for large trucks has declined 54.5 percent, more than twice the passenger vehicle crash rate.

“These safety gains,” Graves said, “are the result of many things — sensible regulation, improvements in technology, slower more fuel efficient driving, the dedication of professional drivers and safety directors — as well as more effective enforcement techniques that look at all the factors involved in crashes, not just a select few.”

Graves was quick to chide FMCSA for not doing more to share this good news about trucking’s safety progress.

“These results deserve to be heralded as tremendous progress and very good news for American motorists, our industry and our industry’s regulators,” Graves said. “However, FMCSA has chosen not to highlight these important results. By not celebrating this success, the agency is doing itself a disservice. These results are as much an achievement for FMCSA as they are for the nation’s trucking industry. We are at a loss on why FMCSA chose not to communicate this final data indicating great safety progress.”

A spokesperson for the FMCSA said the agency published the information last year when it was first published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and that the only thing new in the report was the data about vehicle miles traveled... Continue reading...


SCAM ALERT - Nov 16, 2011

on .

From: Christopher G Antonik 

"Looks like we've got another scammer.  I just got a call from someone claiming to be from Western Express looking for drivers. He said his name was Jody Vance and hung up on me when I asked for his job title. I called
Western Express, and they said that they had no one by that name, and I was the second school that called about him."

Forwarded by Crissie Moffett, NAPFTDS

U.S. Delays Decision on Keystone Oil Pipeline

on .

by Transport Topics

The U.S. State Department said it has delayed its decision on the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline and will examine alternate routes that would avoid environmentally sensistive areas in Nebraska, the Associated Press reported.

Calgary-based TransCanada seeks to build the 1,700-mile pipeline to connect oil sands in Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast. The pipeline would run from Canada through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

President Obama said the pipeline could affect the environment and the health and safety of the American people, AP said.

“We should take the time to ensure that all questions are properly addressed and all the potential impacts are properly understood,” Obama said in a statement, AP reported.

Last month, an American Trucking Associations official told the State Department the pipeline would provide a stable and secure source of energy for the U.S. and its trucking industry and its construction should be approved.


Highway Funding Bill Makes Significant Process

on .

by Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)

The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, led by senators Barbara Boxer and Jim Inhofe, took a significant step toward passing a bipartisan highway funding bill that will help manufacturers and farmers move their products to overseas markets and create thousands of American jobs.

Congress began consideration of the long overdue multi-year surface transportation reauthorization legislation known as Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, or MAP 21, a two-year bill which seeks to prevent a decrease in federal funding for America’s transportation infrastructure needs.

At the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hearing, Sen. Boxer specifically referenced the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) in her testimony, stating:

"To close, I want to read only one sentence from one letter, and this is from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and this is what they write us: ‘We believe there is no single piece of legislation that this Congress can consider that could do more to quickly create jobs and generate economic activity.’ "

AEM President Dennis Slater stated, "Road and bridge deterioration is one of the greatest barriers to global competitiveness. U.S. manufacturers and farmers alike say deteriorating roads, bridges and highways cost them time and money transporting their products to ports for export to overseas markets. For example, the recently passed export agreements with Columbia, South Korea and Panama have the potential to create thousands of new jobs, but if farmers and manufacturers can’t transport products at a competitive rate, they lose."

Slater added, "Global competitiveness and productivity require modernizing and rebuilding America’s transportation system. Bipartisan support in Congress for the transportation reauthorization bill is vital to U.S. manufacturers and farmers."

View Sen. Boxer’s remarks at minute 28 here.