Latest Industry News Briefs Courtesy of PMTA
Wreaths Across America Welcomes Chief of Police (Retired)Janine Roberts as its New Law Enforcement Liaison
COLUMBIA FALLS, ME… Wreaths Across America (WAA) is proud to announce the hiring of law enforcement trailblazer Chief Janine Roberts (retired) as its new Law Enforcement Liaison.
As Law Enforcement Liaison, former Police Chief Roberts will be tasked with working with federal, state, and local law enforcement representatives to support WAA’s Mission to Remember, Honor and Teach, on a local level, connecting officers with some of the more than 2,500 participating locations across the country.
In addition, Roberts will continue to lead and mentor the Law Enforcement Planning Team that coordinates and plans the week-long WAA convoy from Harrington, Me., to Arlington, Va. The convoy typically consists of 15 WAA wrapped Chevrolet SUVs, three 15-passenger vans, five motorcycles, a bus, 12 tractor trailers, and 15 police cruisers. Participants include Gold and Blue Star Family members, veterans, professional truck drivers, police officers, members of the WAA extended family, and members of the public. During the week-long event, the convoy stops at 20+ local venues through nine states and the District of Columbia for ceremonies, culminating with the laying of the veterans’ wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery on Wreaths Across America Day – to be held this year on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021.
“Janine has volunteered her services to Wreaths Across America for many years, and the people who are involved with our convoy consider her family,” said Karen Worcester, Executive Director, Wreaths Across America. “When she retired from police work, we knew we had to find a way for her to continue to work with us and are just thrilled she has decided to lend her expertise and experience to better serve the mission and help grow the involvement of the law enforcement community in it.”
Former Chief Roberts served 35 years in law enforcement between 1985-2020. She served with the Portland Maine Police Department for 29 years, reaching the rank of Lieutenant, before stepping into the Police Chief’s position for the Westbrook Maine Police Department in 2014. Throughout her distinguished career, one of Janine’s strengths was her dedication to creating positive and lasting relationships with all segments of the communities she served. We look forward to WAA benefiting from her many skills and talents in the coming years.
“I am honored and excited to be selected as WAA’s Law Enforcement Liaison,” said Chief Roberts. “Having the opportunity to join the WAA family to make a difference for our veterans and their families while recruiting officers from across the country to join WAA’s mission to Remember, Honor, Teach, is the perfect job for me.”
To learn more about Chief Roberts’ and other law enforcement involvement in the WAA Mission, please watch and share the following video: https://youtu.be/HwWLOWceZ8M
For more information or to sponsor a wreath please visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.
Congress Again Fails To Address Truck Parking Crisis
In The Midst Of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, House Democrats Show They Have Little
Washington DC… The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association issued the following response regarding the passage of the U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee's portion of a new $3.5 trillion federal spending bill, which failed to provide funding for truck parking projects:
Todd Spencer, president and CEO:
“Despite the long history of broad, bipartisan support, numerous government studies and repeated pleas from truck drivers, Democrats on the T&I Committee opposed efforts to address trucking’s number one safety concern, the lack of safe parking. Truckers likely face another five years of a worsening crisis that jeopardizes their safety on a daily basis.
It’s tough to swallow the fact that in a year when Congress is authorizing hundreds-of-billions of dollars for infrastructure projects and highway safety programs, not a single penny was set aside for truck parking.
America’s professional drivers have been working tirelessly to keep the country safe and productive throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Every region of our country and segment of our economy rely upon long-haul truck
drivers, yet their biggest safety need continues to be ignored by Congress.
Addressing the parking shortage would also have supported efforts to reduce carbon emission from the transportation sector. Truck drivers waste approximately 56 minutes per day looking for parking, all the while
needlessly burning fuel, emitting carbon and contributing to congestion.
And although we are disappointed with the outcome, we want to thank Rep. Mike Bost for having introduced an amendment, which would have provided $1 billion for truck parking projects. We will continue working with him and other allies on Capitol Hill to find opportunities to enact meaningful truck parking legislation. We also thank all the Republicans for their vote and Sam Graves.”
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 150,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, Mo. area.
Canadian Truckers Roll to Battle Child Hunger
TORONTO… More than two dozen Canadian trucking companies hit the road this summer to join the fight against child hunger.
Food Banks Canada, through the organization’s After the Bell program, enlisted the help of Canadian truckers to help support the delivery of 150,000 healthy food packs to children in need this summer. Food Banks Canada reports that 34 per cent of the people who rely on food banks in the country are children.
The food packs are sent to participating food bank programs throughout the country to help children living with hunger. Since the start of the pandemic, food banks have experienced a rise in the number of people accessing their services. The organization says they expect to see more people accessing their services as social support programs such as the Canada Recovery Benefit begin to wind down.
To help meet the new demands on food banks, 25 Canadian carriers – who are part of the Canadian Trucking Alliance and members of the Trucks for Change Network, stepped up to volunteer their services to transport the food across the country. CTA/T4C carriers moved a total of 227 pallets to 52 local food banks in Canada.
“Having assisted Food Banks Canada with After the Bell campaigns in previous years, the Trucks for Change network welcomed the support of the Canadian Trucking Alliance and its members to help move essential food packs to address child hunger across the country,” said T4C chair Scott Smith.
“Carriers and drivers alike embraced this opportunity to help out fellow Canadians through this annual program,” echoed the network’s executive director, Betsy Sharples. “Our member companies are proud to have been able to play a critical role in making the After the Bell program a success, and we look forward to working with CTA to expand our network of carriers so that we can support similar future national initiatives.”
“Since the start of the pandemic, Canadian carriers and truck drivers have stepped up to deliver the essential products, food and medical supplies Canadians rely on. We are grateful for the outpouring of appreciation Canadians have shown our industry during that time and we always welcome any opportunity to pay it forward and give back,” says CTA’s CEO Stephen Laskowski.
Chris Hatch, CEO of Food Banks Canada, is thankful for CTA’s and T4C’s support.
“Food Banks Canada has begun a journey to incorporate community research related to the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion into our decision-making so that we can ensure equitable distribution of the After the Bell healthy food packs,” he says. “Thanks to partners like CTA and Trucks for Change, we can ensure the packs can reach children in even the most remote communities.”
The CTA/T4C carriers that took part in delivering food are:
* Apps Cargo Terminals
* Atlas Logistics
* B & R Eckels
* Bandstra Transportation
* Brian Kurtz Trucking
* Chariot Express
* Cold Star Solutions
* Erb Group
* Gordon Food Service
* GX Transportation
* Hartrans Cartage
* J.D. Smith & Sons
* JBC Transport
* Jete's MTB
* JR Hall
* Laidlaw Van
* Manitoulin Transport
* ONE For Freight
* Onfreight Logistics
* Reilly Transfer
* Rosenau Transport
* Thomson Terminals
* XTL Transport
“By donating truck space to help charities distribute donated food and materials, leading trucking companies and industry suppliers who are part of the T4C network are making communities across Canada a better place to live,” says Sharples.
ATA Truck Tonnage Index Decreased 1.2% in July
Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 1.2% in July after falling 2% in June. In July, the index equaled 109.8 (2015=100) compared with 111.1 in June.
“Softness in tonnage over the last few months is due more to supply constraints, rather than a big drop in freight volumes,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Not only are there broader supply chain issues, like semiconductors, holding tonnage back, but there are also industry specific difficulties, including the driver shortage and lack of equipment. For-hire truckload carriers are operating fewer trucks than a year earlier. It is difficult to haul significantly more freight with fewer trucks and drivers.
“In addition to these supply issues, retail sales and housing starts, both large drivers of truck freight, retreated in July, although both rose on a year-over-year basis” he said.
June’s reading was revised down to -2% from our July 20 press release.
Compared with July 2020, the SA index fell 2.9%, which was the first year-over-year drop since March. In June, the index was flat from a year earlier. Year-to-date, compared with the same seven months in 2020, tonnage is down 0.2%.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 111.9 in July, 3.2% below the June level (115.6). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015. ATA’s For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index is dominated by contract freight as opposed to spot market freight.
Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 72.5% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 11.84 billion tons of freight in 2019. Motor carriers collected $791.7 billion, or 80.4% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.
ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the 5th day of each month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators.
ATA Statement on Vaccine Mandates
American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear issued the following statement today regarding the Administration's proposed vaccine mandate on employers with more than 100 employees:
"The first rule of any public health policy should be 'do no harm.' Unfortunately, these latest mandates and the unintended consequences they’ll create fall short of that standard.
"ATA, its members and our drivers remain committed to delivering life-saving COVID vaccines, but these proposed requirements—however well-intentioned—threaten to cause further disruptions throughout the supply chain, impeding our nation’s COVID response efforts and putting the brakes on any economic revival.
"If these mandates are designed to protect Americans, then why the discriminatory 100-employee threshold, picking winners and losers for both employees and employers?
"As this proposal moves forward, ATA is examining all options and will choose a path that protects our industry—so that it can continue delivering on behalf of our country."
PA Turnpike Makes Final $450 Million Transit Payment to PennDOT - Commission Can Now Expedite Road Projects Needed For Safety And Economic Development
HARRISBURG, PA… The PA Turnpike Commission (PTC) delivered its final $450 million payment to PennDOT for transit systems around the state, as mandated by Act 44 of 2007, bringing the total transferred over the last 15 years to $7.9 billion. The payments have driven significant annual toll increases and deep cuts to the Turnpike’s capital plan to rebuild and expand its aging system.
“Today we are making our last annual payment of $450 million to PennDOT,” said PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “This marks our final major payment to PennDOT, but it also marks our next, unburdened, step into our financial future.
“Our $7.9 billion of payments over 15 years have supported highways, bridges, public transit services, and associated facilities that benefit Pennsylvanians in every county. The commission and our customers have done our fair share to support ground transportation statewide, but we now look forward to returning focus to our own system and investing in its future.”
Compton was joined by PennDOT Deputy Secretary for Multimodal Transportation Jennie Granger, PA Turnpike Chief Engineer Bradley Heigel, and PA Turnpike Chief Financial Officer Richard Dreher at a news conference to announce the final $450 million payment.
Under Act 89 of 2013, the PTC’s payment drops from $450 million annually to $50 million at the end of this current fiscal year; at that time, $450 million for transit will come from the state’s General Fund. Lawmakers will have to address this shift in the next state budget, explained Deputy Secretary Granger.
“These investments have helped communities across the state, but as per Act 89, the funding source will shift from the PTC to the use of vehicle sales tax revenues, specifically the Commonwealth's Motor Vehicle Sales and Use Tax,” Granger said. “We have more projects and services that need to become reality, and we will continue working with our partners on sustainable, long-term revenue options.”
Before the enactment of Act 44 of 2007, the PTC raised tolls only six times in 64 years. Toll dollars met only the needs of the toll systems as originally intended. After the enactment of Act 44, the Turnpike was forced to raise tolls from 2009 onward and take on stifling debt.
“With about 200 million vehicles on our roadway each year, our greatest obligation is to ensure safe travel for our customers and keep this roadway in good working order,” Chief Engineer Heigel explained. “While we regularly outpace national standards in safety, quality, and mobility, this became extremely challenging under the financial obligation mandated by Act 44 which caused us to defer adding new capacity including more lanes and new interchanges.
“In essence, we could only focus on what we call ‘protection’ projects, which are those that maintain the roadway and shelve, for the most part, our ‘performance’ projects which are those that improve upon our system. These limited methods don’t last as long as true long-term reconstruction.”
Heigel highlighted several critical projects that were deferred because of the Act 44 payments. Now, the PTC can start to get back on track with its investments to completely rebuild and widen sections of its roadway — some of which are turning 81 years old this fall — starting with a two-mile segment in Chester County. Other major projects gradually being added back into PTC plans include various tunnel improvements, the Delaware River Bridge, Hawks Falls Bridge and Beaver River Bridge replacements as well as several new interchange projects.
Due mainly to Act 44 payments, the commission today has $14 billion in total debt, which matches the Commonwealth’s General Obligation debt.
Earlier this month, the commission announced a 2022 toll increase of 5% — slightly lower than the 6% increases that approved every year since 2016. Due to the commission’s massive debt, incurred mainly to fund the Act 44 payments, tolls will increase for the foreseeable future, but those annual increases, which are based on current traffic and revenue projections, will be reduced to 3% by 2028.
Drivewyze Expands with Weigh Station Bypass Now in Wyoming
DALLAS, TX… Drivewyze Inc., the leader in connected truck services and operator of the largest public-private weigh station bypass network in North America, has announced the addition of weigh stations in Wyoming for bypass opportunities.
With Wyoming, Drivewyze PreClear is now in 48 states and provinces – providing bypass opportunities at more than 800 locations. Two sites – one along I-25, and the other on I-80, will be activated by the end of August. Three more sites are being planned for future activation.
“The Wyoming Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol are strong advocates for safer highways and supporting industry,” said Brian Heath, president and CEO of Drivewyze. “We are excited about the benefits this partnership will bring to the motor carrier industry.”
Added K. Luke Reiner, Wyoming’s DOT director: "We welcome Drivewyze to Wyoming and look forward to working with them as they provide a service to the freight industry.”
Drivewyze PreClear customers will now receive uninterrupted bypass coverage along I-25. Drivewyze’s first site is northbound in Cheyenne – the major port of entry for those entering the state from Northern Colorado. The interstate, which starts in New Mexico and goes up to Buffalo, Wyoming (where it intersects with I-90) connects Denver, Colorado Springs, and Albuquerque. Along both directions, a trucker could see 10-12 bypass opportunities along I-25.
Going west to east, Drivewyze has added the weigh station in Evanston on I-80 – just 80 miles east of Salt Lake City. “I-80 is a major artery connecting California, going all the way through to New Jersey,” said Heath. “More than 6,500 trucks travel I-80 through Wyoming each day. We’ve got I-80 well covered coast-to-coast, so drivers originating in San Francisco could have up to 32 bypasses during their round trip.”
That all adds up, according to Heath. “Based on an industry average of five minutes per weigh station visit – and up to an hour or more, if you get inspected, Drivewyze customers can enjoy a meaningful cost advantage over their competitors. Reduced on-route delays, and more productive drive times go straight to a carrier’s bottom line. Drivewyze unlocks a carrier’s investments in compliance to deliver world-class driver satisfaction and the highest ROI in the industry.”
To learn more about Drivewyze, visit www.drivewyze.com.
Costs for Fleet Maintenance and Repair Rise in First Half of 2021
Cleveland, OH… American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council and Decisiv Inc., reported during TMC’s Fall Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition that costs for parts and labor for repairs rose over the first six months of the year.
According to the Decisiv/TMC North American Service Event Benchmark Report, labor costs for repair and maintenance increased 2.6% between the 1st and 2nd quarters in 2021 and overall parts costs increased by 2.8%. In that same period, parts costs for Tires increased by 10.7% and Transmissions part costs rose 9%.
“The increases in costs for parts and labor reflect the changes taking place in the North American economy,” said Decisiv President and CEO Dick Hyatt. “Ongoing economic growth has led to a rise in freight volume and demand for carrying capacity. That is also being driven higher by the need to replenish supply chains that have been depleted due to manufacturing and distribution shutdowns during the pandemic.
“For fleets, that activity has increased vehicle mileage as well as meant the addition of more trucks, both of which drive up service activity,” he said. “Higher parts prices may have contributed as well, but in all cases we do not see a drop in efficiency and productivity taking place among the nation’s fleet maintenance or service provider operations. They are continually striving to maintain the highest possible levels of asset performance and uptime.”
Focusing on parts and labor pricing year over year revealed that the three most significant changes between Q2 2020 and Q2 2021 were in Lighting systems, which were up 17.4% while Transmissions costs rose 16.4% and Brakes costs increased 11.1%.
The report covers power unit parts and labor costs in the nine top Vehicle Maintenance Reporting System (VMRS) System Level Code categories, including Brakes, Steering, Tires, Transmissions, Electrical, Charging, Lighting, Exhaust and Engines.
“The going partnership between TMC and Decisiv offers Council fleet members a great benefit to help them benchmark their overall parts and labor costs against a large sample size of their peers,” said TMC Executive Director Robert Braswell. “We’re very excited to join with Decisiv to make this important information available to our fleet members.”
The Decisiv/TMC North American Service Event Benchmark reports are made possible because of the rapidly growing amount of data being collected on service and repair events for the more than 7 million commercial assets operating across the U.S. and Canada that are being serviced on Decisiv’s SRM platform. The summaries are compiled from more than 600,000 monthly service maintenance and repair operations conducted across nearly 5,000 service locations.
The monthly benchmark reports provide a detailed profile of service costs monthly, quarterly and annually, and on a regional basis. The partnership between Decisiv and TMC to produce the North American Service Event Benchmark reports was announced earlier this year.
TMC fleet members will receive the report electronically via email. For more information on joining TMC, call (703) 838-1763 or visit http://tmc.trucking.org.