The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) recently unveiled its list of the critical issues facing the North American trucking industry. For the third year in a row, the industry ranked the Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules as its top industry concern.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has not increased its maximum penalties since 1990, but that likely will change in dramatic fashion next year. A bipartisan provision in the budget agreement negotiated in the House and Senate and signed into law Nov. 2 would effectively raise maximums for alleged willful, repeat and serious violations by over 80 percent, in order to catch up with inflation. Moreover, the legislators also established provisions for annual adjustments in later years.
Wind energy output records fell across the U.S. in October, according to a report released by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) on Oct. 30. Highlights include:
The Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will meet in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 1-2 for updates and discussions with agency officials. Three working groups – on Health Hazards, Emerging Issues and Prevention through Design; Temporary Workers; and Training and Outreach – will meet Tuesday, Dec. 1, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The full committee meets the following day from 8:30 a.m. to noon.
On Oct. 30, Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) filed an amendment (H.R. 680) to the $325 billion highway bill, which would raise federal gas and diesel taxes 15 cents over three years and index them to inflation.
Construction spending in September reached a new seven-year high while climbing at the fastest rate since early 2006, according to an analysis released on Nov. 2 by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). However, total spending on nonresidential construction declined by 0.1 percent between August and September as growing workforce shortages likely impacted the amount firms were able to perform for the month.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently announced nearly $2.3 million in grants, double the amount provided in 2014, to 13 technical and community colleges across the country to help train veterans and their families for jobs as commercial truck and bus drivers. The funding is provided through FMCSA’s Commercial Motor Vehicle - Operator Safety Training (CMV-OST) grant program.
Through Oct. 19, the average first-year wage increase for all collective-bargaining settlements in 2015 was 2.5 percent, compared with 2 percent reported in the comparable period of 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg BNA. Construction contracts provided an average increase of 3.2 percent, compared with 2.7 percent in 2014, and a median of 3 percent, compared with 2.6 percent in 2014.
On Nov. 3, the House voted against an amendment to the multiyear highway bill that would allow an increase in truck weight limits on interstate highways from the current standard of 80, 000 pounds to 91,000 pounds. The amendment from Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) was co-sponsored by Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), David Rouzer (R-N.C.) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.). The House continues to consider other amendments to the highway bill, which is expected to pass by the end of next week.