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FMCSA opens 30-day comment period for SC&RA’s HOS exemption request

In a response to SC&RA’s request for a limited exemption for specialized carriers from compliance with the 30-minute rest break requirement of the agency’s Final Rule on Hours of Service of Drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) began a 30-day public filing period on Nov. 24. In its letter to FMCSA, SC&RA pointed out that the travel hours specified by states on oversize/overweight (OS/OW) permits often conflict with the timing of the required 30-minute rest break.

Construction spending slips in September

Construction spending decreased for the second consecutive month in September as declines in public and private nonresidential construction, as well as multifamily projects, offset growth in single-family homebuilding, according to an analysis released on Nov. 3 by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). “These data show that construction gains remain fragmentary and volatile, even though industry employment has been picking up in more states,” said AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson.

States consider boosting fuel taxes

Because Congress has been dragging its feet on boosting federal tax spending for transportation, a number of states are stepping up by increasing their own fuel taxes, according to a Nov. 13 article in The Hill. Examples include:

ATA Truck Tonnage Index rose 0.5 percent in October

The advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index posted by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) increased 0.5 percent in October, following a revised decline of 0.8 percent during the previous month. In October, the index equaled 132.1 (2000=100), which was the second highest level on record after August.

Compared with October 2013, the SA index increased 4.5 percent, up from September’s 2.9 percent year-over-year gain. Year-to-date, compared with the same period last year, tonnage is up 3.2 percent.

State gubernatorial elections bode well for fuel production

“Expect the U.S.’s oil and natural gas supply to be bolstered further” by the recent elections, predicted the Nov. 14 issue of The Kiplinger Letter, noting:

  • The Republican governor-elect of Illinois is expected to support hydraulic fracturing in the state, particularly in the southern part of the state’s New Albany Shale Formation.
  • Although the governor-elect in Pennsylvania, a Democrat, has pledged to impose a 5 percent severance tax on gas producers in the state, the industry is expected to win concessions to soften the blow.

SC&RA lauds increase to 46,000-pound cap for tandems in Arkansas

Arkansas transportation officials announced this week that, effective December 17, the maximum allowable weight on a permitted tandem-axle group combination will increase in the state from 40,000 to 46,000 pounds. Additionally, drivers will be allowed to carry and display permits electronically on screens with at least seven-inch displays. Both changes were approved in November by the Arkansas legislature.

SC&RA Expects Another Sell-Out of Symposium Exhibit Center

By the time exhibit space for the Exhibit Center for the SC&RA 2015 Specialized Transportation Symposium opened to the public on November 17, 27 of the 40 booths already had been secured by past exhibitors. Because of the Exhibit Center’s popularity with hundreds of industry executives who make major purchasing decisions, SC&RA expects all booth space to be reserved well before the Symposium, March 3-6, at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, GA.

Foundation needs footage from members for video

The SC&R Foundation urgently needs actual jobsite footage from SC&RA members for a video under production, which will primarily be used to recruit young people to the industry. Ideally, specialized carrier footage should show loads being tied down, inspected or transported, and crane and rigging footage should demonstrate equipment being assembled properly, followed by a successful lift. The format should be the highest resolution possible. All footage must demonstrate best practices for safety. To meet production deadlines, the Foundation needs the footage by Dec. 4.

Enter drawing for iPad Air by renewing SC&RA membership by December 1

Members that pay their SC&RA dues for 2015 by December 1, 2014 will automatically be entered in a drawing for a new 16g Apple iPad Air, valued at $500. All membership renewal payments are eligible, including those made online, by check, or credit card. For more information or a copy of your renewal invoice please contact Jason Bell, Membership Manager, at (703) 207-3589 or jbell@scranet.org.

SC&RA to close for Thanksgiving holiday

SC&RA will be closed November 27-28 for the Thanksgiving holiday. The annual TripAdvisor Thanksgiving travel survey of more than 2,500 U.S. respondents showed that 43 percent plan to travel for Thanksgiving this year, up from 36 percent who said they traveled for the holiday in 2013. Of those traveling for Thanksgiving, 60 percent will drive to their destination while 35 percent will fly. Last year, 57 percent said they were planning to drive and 37 percent expected to fly.