Wednesday, May 4, 2011 by
Two new laws would open up more roadways to heavier trucks in southern Indiana. The hope is that the increased traffic will boost the economic development of the region.
The first bill was signed into law by Gov. Daniels and creates the River Ridge Commerce Corridor. The corridor will essentially link the River Ridge Commerce Center, Charlestown State Park and a planned east-end Ohio River bridge, which will link Charlestown, IN, to the east side of Louisville, KY.
Previously HB1265, the law establishes the commerce corridor in an area that includes a section of state Road 62 in Clark County between Interstate 265 and state Road 3. The affected seven miles of roadway will be designated as an extra-heavy-duty highway after structural upgrades are complete.
The designation allows companies to use over-limit loads and wide truckloads to haul heavy equipment without needing special permits. The loads will be routed from barges at the Ports of Indiana at Jeffersonville to the warehouses or manufacturers at the commerce center.
According to a fiscal impact statement, the price tag to upgrade the affected roadway is nearly $5 million.
The new law takes effect July 1.
A the second bill is still on the governor’s desk and would add a Chicago-area roadway to the list of 22 highways where heavier trucks can travel. HB1137 would allow extra-heavy-duty loads of up to 264,000 pounds on state Route 912 in East Chicago. The maximum permitted weight is 134,000 pounds.
A fiscal impact statement notes that the state redesigned the route across a bridge between Dickey Road and Riley Road. The bridge is designed to handle the extra load.
Friday, April 8, 2011 by
A bill introduced to the Senate on Thursday could put an end to the federal freeze on changes in truck sizes and weights. If passed, the bill would permit states to allow 97,000-pound, six-axle rigs on their highways.
The Safe and Efficient Transportation Act (SETA) is cosponsored by Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio).
Similar to companion legislation pending in the House of Representatives, SETA gives each state the option to selectively raise interstate weight limits from 80,000 pounds to up to 97,000 pounds. The higher limit applies only to vehicles equipped with six axles instead of the typical five. The additional axle does not affect truck size, but it does allow shippers to safely use extra cargo space while maintaining, or improving, all safety and handling characteristics.
Idaho currently allows for 97,000-pound loads under special permitting and axle options. The SETA bill would allow other states the same option if axles are added to maintain safety and weight standards. Under present law, trucks heavier than 80,000 pounds are forced off the Interstate and onto local roads in some states.
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates that the trucking industry will haul 30 percent more tonnage in 2021 than it does today. If current weight restrictions remain the same, ATA estimates that our economy will require 18 percent more trucks on the road driving 27 percent more miles than they do now. SETA would help correct this imbalance by allowing shippers to safely reduce truckloads, fuel, emissions and vehicle miles traveled for each ton of freight shipped.
However, the bill might also force companies to purchase new equipment to remain competitive.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011 by
A leading trucking industry group has now come out in support of an expanded Electronic Onboard Recorder ("EOBR") rule being pushed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ("FMCSA"). The Truckload Carrier Association ("TCA") recently announced publically that it now supports the FMCSA's EOBR proposal, which would require all 500,000 U.S. motor carriers to maintain driver logs electronically via EOBRs. The FMCSA's new EOBR rule would take effect three (3) years after being made final.
Monday, March 21, 2011 by
According to FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro, Mexican trucks will temporarily be equipped with electronic recorders. Ferro states that this is the only way the FMCSA can ensure that the trucks are monitored.
Ferro, who spoke to trucking executives gathered during the annual meeting of the Truckload Carriers Association, acknowledged that the subject has been a flashpoint among carriers who do not support the idea of the U.S. spending taxpayer money on equipment for Mexican trucks.
She explained that under the North American Free Trade Agreement ("NAFTA"), the U.S. cannot require Mexican carriers to do anything that U.S. carriers are not required to do, but the agency still must provide a way to monitor those carriers for compliance with both the hours of service rules and the cabotage rules that restrict freight hauling between points in the U.S.
That program cost about $250,000 and the budget for the EOBR program is between $500,000 and $700,000, she said.
FMCSA's decision to install the electronic monitors is in light of the agreement to reopen the border to long-distance trucking is key to getting Mexico withdraw the more than $1 billion in tariffs it has levied on U.S. producers in retaliation for shutting down the prior program.
Ferro said the agency will publish its proposal for the border opening in a matter of weeks. At that point the public will have a chance to comment, before the deal is made final.
Border Program Concept
The concept for the border opening envisions a reciprocal, phased-in program, in which Mexico initially will reduces its tariffs by half. The rest of the tariffs would be suspended when the first Mexican carrier is granted operating authority.
The concept contains three elements: pre-operations vetting, monitoring of operations and communications to the public and Congress. Neither hazmat carriers nor buses would be permitted.
Pre-operations vetting would include an application process in which the number of participants in the first phase of the program would be limited to ensure oversight, subject to agreement with Mexico.
Included in the vetting would be are a pre-authority safety audit in which the agency would review the Mexican carrier's safety management program and the records of drivers who would be crossing the border, including their Mexican federal and state records. The drivers would be tested for English proficiency and knowledge of U.S. traffic laws. Mexican carriers' safety performance in Mexico would be reviewed, and the audit would include inspections of the trucks for U.S. safety and emissions compliance.
The "operations" component of the Border Program Concept provides for inspections - including inspections every time a truck crosses the border, for a period of time to be negotiated - and reviews to follow up on the initial screening review. A Mexican carrier would need to clear a Compliance Review and earn a Satisfactory Safety Rating in order to get full operating authority. Also, the FMCSA could conduct compliance reviews of Mexican drug and alcohol testing facilities.
Thursday, June 10, 2010 by
Starting Friday, June 11, West Virginia's anti-idling rule will take effect. The rule applies to diesel-powered vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds. Such vehicles will be limited to idling for no more than 15 minutes and violators will face a fine from $150 to $300. Owners and/or operators could be subject to the fines, including those at locations where trucks load or unload.
Exceptions to the anti-idling rule include idling while sleeping or resting, while in traffic, when required by law to stop, or when it is necessary "to operate defrosters, heaters, air conditioners or cargo refrigeration equipment."
Wednesday, June 9, 2010 by
On Friday, June 4, Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed House Bill 1271, which increases the permitted truckload for tractor-trailers traveling on designated routes on intrastate highways. The permitted truckload is increased from 80,000 to 88,000 pounds; however, the 80,000-pound limit still applies to interstate roads. In addition, trucks equipped with auxiliary power units (APUs) are allowed to run 400 pounds over the weight limit. Currently, the penalty for overweight truckloads is a 5% fine for every pound over the limit.
Crist also vetoed a provision in another transportation bill that would have authorized the reallocation of $160 million from the State Transportation Fund to the state budget in order to help cover the deficit.