01-14-11

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New York City Issues New Procedures

New York City has again issued new cutoff procedures for ordering permits! The process is effective Monday, January 17 and will have significant impact on carriers operating to and from NYC. It is the intent to better respond to permit request needs of carriers and is slated as a pilot process.

DOT Reconsiders Long-Haul U.S.-Mexico Trucking Program

On January 6, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood shared with Congress and the government of Mexico an initial concept document for a long-haul cross-border Mexican trucking program that prioritizes safety, while satisfying the United States’ international obligations.

Model Legislation Seeks to Improve Safety at Highway-Rail Grade Crossings

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), together with states, has published model state legislation for use in developing bills to improve safety at highway-rail grade crossings without gates or barriers.

NLRB Proposed Rule Would Force Employers to Post Employee Rights Notice

On December 22, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) submitted to the Federal Register a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for a regulation that would require employers to notify employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In the notice, NLRB said it “believes that many employees protected by the NLRA are unaware of their rights under the statute.

Crane Operators in British Columbia Must Be Certified by February 28

To continue working legally in British Columbia, crane operators must have a valid operator’s certificate issued by the Industry Training Authority (ITA) or Fulford CraneSafe by February 28. Crane Operators who have not booked an assessment or registered with the BC Association for Crane Safety are encouraged to contact that association at (604) 525-1227; or click here. Operators who are required to apply to ITA should be aware that approval of applications before testing takes four to six weeks.

Companies Must Avoid Favoring Key Employees with Health Care Benefits

Under the new Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, many employee benefits are excluded from employees’ gross income and thus are not taxable when specific conditions from the IRS are met, according to Associated Benefits Research (ABR), administrator of SC&RA’s exclusively endorsed health plan. One of these conditions, a nondiscrimination requirement, is meant to discourage the favoring of certain highly compensated or key employees.

HIS Global Insight Predicts Flat Construction Spending in 2011

After falling 8.3 percent in 2010, U.S. construction spending will be flat in 2011, pushed higher by positive second half gains in the residential and commercial sectors as they begin to move up from the historic lows of the recent past, according to a December 8 IHS Global Insight report: 

Key findings include:

  • Commercial. Following losses of more than 50 percent from 2008 levels, the commercial construction sector will reach bottom in 2010 and will see significant improvement in 2011, with growth of 3.1 percent in the sector.

Cape Wind Project Becomes First Offshore Wind Farm to Receive Final Clearance

Ten years after planning began on Cape Wind, a wind farm proposed for a 24-square-mile tract of Nantucket Sound off Cape Cod, Mass., received its final government permits on January 6 – from the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency.  Cape Wind is the first U.S. offshore wind farm to receive all its permits, according to the sponsors. 

They said construction is scheduled to begin in 2011 even though they have not yet lined up a market for all of the electricity.

Deadline Nears for Scholarship and Grant Applications

Applications for the next round of SC&R Foundation annual scholarships and grants must be postmarked by January 31 and received by the Foundation by February 11. Scholarships up to $3,000 will be awarded to students attending four-year colleges and universities.

SC&RA to Offer Free Webinar on Crane Operator Certification Requirements

SC&RA members may now register for the Association’s Crane Operator Certification Webinar on Wednesday, January 26 from noon to 1:30 p.m. EST. This free webinar will provide an overview of the impact of the Federal Cranes and Derricks Rule on Personnel Certification/Qualification and detail the new requirements for Crane Operators and for other personnel such as signalpersons and riggers.