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Kansas truck permitting system awarded for reduced paperwork and wait times

The Kansas Truck Routing and Intelligent Permitting System (K-TRIPS) won in the “Under Budget” category of America’s Transportation Awards out of the Midwest region of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). K-TRIPS allows truckers to apply and pay for most over-dimension permits at any time of the day or night, every day of the year.

Construction unemployment falls to 14-year low

Construction employment in July climbed to the highest level since February 2009, while the number of unemployed workers with construction experience shrank to a 14-year low, according to an analysis released on Aug. 7 by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). “It is encouraging to see construction employment rising again, but the industry could hire many more workers if they were available,” said AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson. “The lack of experienced construction workers may be impeding the industry’s ability to start or complete new projects.

Number of Hours-of-Service violations drop from 2011 to 2014

Analysis of Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) safety data by the Journal of Commerce (JOC) indicates that the number of violations doled out by roadside inspectors for exceeding the 11-hour driving limit plummeted 35.8 percent from 2011, when there were 39,317 violations, through 2014, when there were 25,258 violations. The Aug. 13 issue of JOC additionally noted that the number of violations for driving more than 14 hours dropped 33.2 percent, from 71,699 to 47,870.

OSHA approves Maine plan to protect state and local government workers

On Aug. 5, Maine was approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as the newest State Plan responsible for protecting the safety and health of state and local government employees. The Maine State and Local Government Only State Plan covers more than 81,000 employees of the state and its political subdivisions under an OSHA-approved plan. 

New Hampshire requires OS/OW Pre-Trip Checklist

Effective August 14, all truck drivers must complete the New Hampshire Department of Safety “Oversize/Overweight Checklist for each Permitted Load” immediately prior to driving on New Hampshire roadways for any travel authorized by a New Hampshire Department of Transportation Oversize/Overweight Permit. Truck drivers should review “Driver Guidelines for Completion of Pre-Trip Inspection” for guidance on completion of the checklist.  Click here for copies.

Washington state increases gas tax by 7 cents

The gas tax in Washington state jumped 7 cents to 44.5 cents per gallon in August. Including the current federal gas tax of 18.4 percent, total per gallon gas tax in the state is now 62.9 cents. Next summer, the tax will increase an additional 4.9 cents a gallon, putting the total state tax at 49.4 cents, making it the second-highest gas tax in the nation behind Pennsylvania, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

Contractor associations ask White House to halt contractor executive actions

Four federal contracting trade associations asked senior White House advisors for relief from the flow of federal contractor-focused executive actions, in a letter released on Aug. 11.

New $27.5 million Port of Brownsville project boosts capacity, freight volume

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), state and local officials gathered a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of a marine cargo dock at the Port of Brownsville, Texas on Aug. 7. The $27.5 million project, of which $12 million was provided by the DOT through its Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) competitive infrastructure grant program, will increase cargo capacity and efficiency and help to mitigate congestion in port operations. The Port of Brownsville matched funds for road, lighting and other improvements.

IRS addresses question about suspension of heavy vehicle use tax

The heavy vehicle use tax (HVUT) is not owed on a vehicle otherwise subject to the tax unless and until the vehicle travels 5,000 miles or more on the highway during the tax year (which runs from July through June), according to the Internal Revenue Code. As noted in the Aug. 7 issue of State Laws Newsletter (SLN), owners who reasonably expect a vehicle will not reach that mileage level may apply to the IRS to have the HVUT suspended for the whole year—or until the vehicle travels 5,000 miles. 

Preliminary Class 8 truck order surprises at 23,920 units

FTR released preliminary data on Aug. 5, showing July 2015 North American Class 8 truck net orders rose for the first time this year  to 23,920 units, which is up 21 percent month-over month, but down 19 percent compared to last July. Class 8 orders were much higher than expectations as a few big fleets placed their large 2016 requirement orders a few months early. Orders were down year-over-year due to a similar, but heftier, spike last July. This follows a comparable rise in commercial trailer orders in June.