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Indiana Toll Road operators files for bankruptcy

ITR Concession Co. LLC, operator of the 157-mile Indiana Toll Road, filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago on Sept. 21. The prepackaged plan, which was backed by a majority of its creditors, proposes selling its assets or reorganizing its business. ITR Concession is owned by units of Spanish infrastructure company Ferrovial SA and Australian investment bank MacQuarie Group Ltd.

California may test vehicle miles traveled tax

On Sept. 4, the California Legislature passed SB1077, a bill that authorizes a pilot program for a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax as a possible alternative to the state’s fuel tax. If Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signs the legislation, drivers would be asked to volunteer to participate in the VMT tax in order to assess its viability as a state-wide funding method. California would become the third West Coast state to test a VMT tax as an fuel-tax replacement.

Association increases recognition for member recruiters

As an Association member, your participation is vital in accomplishing the goal of continued SC&RA membership growth. New SC&RA members create more business opportunities for all members and provide the Association with a stronger voice when advocating for the industry.

OSHA announces new requirements for reporting severe injuries

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a final rule on Sept. 11 that requires employers to notify OSHA when an employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye. The rule, which also updates the list of employers partially exempt from OSHA record-keeping requirements, will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015 for workplaces under federal OSHA jurisdiction.

Minnesota, Wisconsin open online portal for oversize/overweight permits

Commercial carriers applying for oversize/overweight travel permits in Minnesota and Wisconsin now have a simplified online process that allows them to apply for permits simultaneously from the two states. The WINNDOT Portal will simplify the permitting process and save time and money for carriers and the states, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Fatalities decline for construction and transportation workers in 2013

A preliminary total of 4,405 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2013, lower than the revised count of 4,628 fatal work injuries in 2012, according to results released Sept. 11 by the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rate of fatal work injury for U.S. workers in 2013 was 3.2 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, compared to a final rate of 3.4 per 100,000 in 2012.Of particular interest to SC&RA were improvements for construction and transportation occupations.

DOT Announces 72 TIGER 2014 Recipients

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced on Sept. 12 that it would provide $600 million for 72 transportation projects in 46 states and the District of Columbia from its TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) 2014 program. The Department received 797 eligible applications from 49 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, an increase from the 585 applications received in 2013.  Overall, applicants requested 15 times the $600 million available for the program, or $9 billion for needed transportation projects.

U.S. construction machinery exports decline 17.3 Percent in first half of 2014

U.S. construction machinery exports dropped 17.3 percent during the first half of 2014 compared with midyear 2013: $8.93 billion in exports were shipped to global markets compared to $10.8 billion for first-half 2013, according to an Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) report released on Sept. 15. AEM produces global trends reports using U.S. Commerce Dept. information to assist members’ business planning.

New York Supreme Court certifies OOIDA tax suit as a class action

On Sept. 1, a lawsuit filed nearly a year ago by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) against New York’s Department of Taxation and Finance was certified as a class action by the state’s Supreme Court, according to an article in the Sept. 8 issue of OOIDA’s Land Line. The class action lawsuit challenges the constitutionality, under the Commerce Clause, of taxes that impose $15 for a certificate of registration and a $4 decal charge on all trucks, including those based outside of New York, using the state’s highways.

Freight Transportation Index improves in July

The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, rose 0.9 percent in July from June, rising after a one-month decline, according to a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) report released on Sept. 10. The TSI in June increased 3.2 percent in July from the same month last year. The July 2014 index level was 26.5 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.