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Anne Ferro to depart as FMCSA Chief in August

Anne Ferro, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) chief, announced on July 25 that she plans to  step down from her post in August, when she becomes President and CEO of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. She had been with FMCSA since her appointment by President Obama in 2009, making her the longest-serving head of the agency.    

MSHA publishes proposed rule on civil penalty assessments

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced on July 29 that it is proposing a rule to amend its existing civil penalty regulations by simplifying the criteria for assessing health and safety violations and increasing emphasis on more serious safety and health conditions. 

FMCSA announces changes to SMS website

On July 25, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a package of enhancements to the Safety Measurement System (SMS) website. SMS is an automated system that quantifies the on-road safety performance of commercial truck and bus companies that is used to identify and prioritize high-risk carriers for enforcement interventions, including increased roadside inspections and compliance reviews. 

Trailer net orders jump 45 percent for first half of 2014

June net orders of 22,000 were off 1 percent month over month, but up 42 percent year over year. Year-to-date net orders of 156,000 are up 45 percent over the same period last year. This information was included in the most recent State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers published by ACT Research Co. (ACT).

FMCSA expands program to ease veterans access to CDLs

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced on July 25 that its waiver program that helps experienced veterans and active duty personnel transition into civilian jobs as commercial truck and bus drivers has been expanded to all 50 states and the District of Columbia. On June 27, Alaska became the 50th state to participate in the FMCSA Military Skills Test Waiver Program. 

Save $60 by registering now for Crane & Rigging Workshop

Be sure to register soon for the SC&RA Crane & Rigging Workshop, Sept. 24-26, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas. Early bird rates for members are $379, but rates increase to $439 after Friday, August 8. Similar early registration discounts are available for nonmembers of SC&RA.

Also, be sure to book your hotel registrations now as well. SC&RA’s room block is at 77 percent of capacity with a cut-off date of Sept. 2. After that, SC&RA cannot guarantee room availability or rates.  

ATA forecast projects continued growth for trucking

On July 21, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) released the latest edition of its look ahead at the future of freight: ATA U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast to 2025, which shows continued growth for not just the trucking industry, but for the freight economy overall. According to Forecast, collaboration between ATA and IHS Global Insight, overall freight tonnage will grow 23.5 percent from 2013 to 2025 and freight revenues will surge 72 percent.

Route unveiled for proposed canal through Nicaragua

The government on Nicaragua and Hong Kong-based HKND Group recently unveiled the route of a proposed $40 billion inter-ocean canal designed to compete with the Panama Canal. The route, which will stretch 173 miles, starts on the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of river Brito, heads south through the city of Rivas and crosses 65 miles of Lake Nicaragua. From Lake Nicaragua, it goes by the Tule and Punta Gordas rivers until reaching the southern Caribbean by Bluefields Bay. Plans call for the canal to handle the widest container ships now being planned.

Missouri finalizes list of hundreds of transportation priorities

On Aug. 5, Missouri voters will decide on Amendment 7, a ballot measure to temporarily raise Missouri’s sales tax by ¾ of a cent. All proceeds from the 10-year tax would go toward much-needed transportation improvements across the state. On July 9, the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission approved a list of hundreds of transportation projects totaling $4.8 billion that would be covered if the ballot is approved. 

June construction unemployment hits lowest level in six years

Construction employers added 6,000 workers to payrolls in June as the industry’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.2 percent, its lowest June level in six years, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). “The construction industry continues to expand gradually and unevenly,” said AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson. “Despite recent job growth, construction employment is still more than 1.7 million jobs or 22 percent below its 2006 peak.”