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Vermont to Increase State Diesel Tax by 2 Cents per Gallon on July 1

Vermont Legislation (H.B. 510) signed into law April 29 will increase the state’s diesel tax on July 1 from 29 cents a gallon to 31 cents—a rate consisting of a 27 cent-fuel tax, 1 cent clean-up fee, and 3-cent “motor fuel assessment.”  This is the rate other states will collect for Vermont through the International Fuel Tax Agreement. The diesel tax will increase another cent on July 2014. 

Wind Energy Plans Announced for Canada, Chile and Japan

Recent issues  of Wind Energy SmartBriefs included the following items of interest to SC&RA members outside the United States:

North Carolina Bill Would Prohibit Tolls on Existing Interstates

Earlier this month, the North Carolina House Transportation Committee unanimously passed a bill (H.B. 267) out of committee that would limit the ability of the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to impose tolls on existing interstates, including Interstate 95. Although the bill would permit NCDOT to toll new capacity, it would prohibit the agency from closing existing lanes to build new tolled lanes. Passage of this legislation would advance efforts to halt NCDOT’s campaign to toll Interstate 95.

New MAASTO Subcommittee Chair Optimistic on Harmonization

SC&RA members have reason to believe the new leader of the Midwestern state permit officials group will continue its exceptional track record of effective communication and progress in collaboration with the specialized transportation industry. Scott Marion, Missouri’s Assistant Director of Motor Carrier Services, was elected Chairman of the Mid America Association of State Transportation Officials Subcommittee on Highway Transport (MAASTO-SCOHT) during the group’s spring meeting in conjunction with SC&RA’s Specialized Transportation Symposium in March. 
 

Specialized Carriers Need Proven Track Record to Attract Shippers

A recent trade article geared to the general trucking industry suggested reliability and cost are the primary factors shippers consider when hiring carriers. But the stakes, risks, and hence, the criteria, change dramatically when it comes to selecting specialized carriers for larger, more expensive loads. For shippers moving multi-million dollar transformers, pressure vessels, generators and the like, a proven track record of safety, top-of-the-line equipment, excellent insurance and the expertise to efficiently obtain and move on numerous oversize/overweight permits are a must. 

FHWA Deploys Robot to Collect Bridge Information

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced on May 15 that it is deploying an innovative new robot to help inspect the safety and structural integrity of concrete bridge decks. Automated and created in partnership with Rutgers University, the robot combines a number of advanced, customized imaging technologies that gives inspectors more accurate information, in real time, on the deck’s overall health.

ATA Urges DOT to Allow Collection of Hair Samples for Drug Testing

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) wants the Department of Transportation (DOT) to allow trucking companies to collect hair samples for drug testing. “ATA knows for a fact that thousands of truck drivers who have failed hair tests have obtained driving positions with other carriers because they were able to pass DOT-authorized urine tests,” wrote ATA President Bill Graves in a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

NEW MAASTO CHAIR OPTIMISTIC ON HARMONIZATION

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SC&RA members have reason to believe the new leader of Midwestern state permit officials will continue the group’s exceptional track record of effective communication and progress in collaboration with the specialized transportation industry.  Missouri Department of Transportation’s Scott Marion was elected Chairman of the Mid America Association of State Transportation Officials Subcommittee on Highway Transport (MAASTO-SCOHT) during the group’s spring meeting in conjunction with SC&RA’s Specialized Transportation Symposium.  
 

Law Enforcement Warns SC&RA of HOS Enforcement from Day One

Through conversations with officials at major law enforcement organizations nationwide, SC&RA has learned that motor carriers can expect enforcement of the new Hours-of- Service (HOS) regulations from day one of the scheduled July 1 implementation date. The new rules from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) include use of the 34-hour restart once every 168 hours (once per week) and the use of two off-duty periods that include 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. for anyone using the 34-hour restart provision as part of a restart.

SC&RA Webinar to Examine Top Federal Highway Funding, Policy Issues

Greg Cohen, President of the American Highway Users Alliance, will present an SC&RA webinar titled “View from Capitol Hill: Current Federal Highway Funding & Policy Issues” on May 22 at noon Eastern Time. Among the important topics he will cover are the status of federal surface transportation programs, Congressional reaction to the looming insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund, options for new sources of revenue to fund the program, and the context of transportation’s funding woes in relation to the larger fiscal problems facing the nation.