Latest Industry News Briefs Courtesy of PMTA
The Lewis And Clark Bridge Between Rainier And Longview, WA Will Close For Up To Eight Days Starting July 16th
The Lewis and Clark Bridge between Rainier and Longview, Washington will close for up to eight days beginning at 8 p.m. Sunday, July 16 for bridge deck repairs.
During the closure, crews from Combined Construction, Inc. will replace two bridge expansion joints and a fractured floor beam. Pedestrians, bicyclists and emergency responders will be able to cross the bridge during the closure except during a small window when the floor beam is being replaced.
Closure of the only bridge across the Columbia River between Astoria and Portland may create hardships for communities along the Columbia River and require residents to reschedule medical and other important appointments.
The bridge must be closed to ensure a long-lasting repair and for the safety of travelers and construction crews in the work zone. To set the new expansion joints in place, crews will pour concrete which needs four days to cure and strengthen, without movement and disturbance from moving traffic. The replacement of the floor beam also requires no traffic on the bridge.
“There is no good time to close a bridge, and the vital importance of the Lewis and Clark Bridge to Washington and Oregon communities cannot be overstated,” said WSDOT Southwest Region Administrator Carley Francis. “Our goal is to do this repair work right and re-open the bridge to travelers as soon as safely possible.”
Construction work taking place before and after the closure will be done at night using single-lane closures and alternating traffic across the bridge. The five-week construction schedule of nighttime lane closures and a bridge closure of up to eight days shortens the construction timeline for this $1 million preservation project. It also avoids months of daytime single lane closures that would create congestion throughout Southwest Washington and Northwest Oregon.
On April 12, bridge inspectors discovered a fractured floor beam resulting in an emergency 12-hour closure. Prior to that discovery, the bridge was scheduled to close for up to six days for expansion joint replacement work. The closure has been extended to accommodate the additional work of installing a new floor beam.
Construction is estimated to begin the week of June 12 and travelers should expect traffic delays or detours for approximately five weeks.
The full closure of the Lewis and Clark Bridge for up to eight days begins at 8 p.m. on Sunday, July 16.
* Emergency vehicles – including only ambulances with active critical medical needs or law enforcement emergency response – can use the bridge during the closure except when crews install the new floor beam. The timing of this work will be communicated in advance.
* Due to safety, no park and ride facilities are available.
* Before and after the closure, crews will reduce travel across the bridge to one lane each night beginning at 8 p.m. and alternate traffic through the work zone.
* There will be no single lane closures during the Fourth of July holiday weekend -Friday, June 30 – Tuesday, July 4.
* For the safety of travelers and the construction crew, the work zone will have reduced speed limits.
Plan for longer travel times During the following times travelers should expect longer delays and congestion due to nighttime single lane closures:
* 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. Sunday through Friday.
* 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. Friday to Saturday.
* 8 p.m. to 9 a.m. Saturday to Sunday.
Plan ahead for lengthy detours
During the closure, all traffic crossing the Columbia River will detour to either U.S. 101 Astoria-Megler Bridge between Astoria and Megler, WA or the Interstate Bridge on Interstate 5 between Vancouver and Portland.
The Wahkiakum County Ferry between Cathlamet, Washington and Westport, Oregon will run twice an hour 24 hours a day while the bridge is closed. This ferry has extremely limited capacity. Its use should be reserved for urgent matters that do not require an ambulance. Travelers should also be prepared for lengthy wait times and long lines.
Depending on where people begin and end their travel, using the detour routes can add upwards of two and a half hours of travel time. People who use the SR 433 Lewis and Clark Bridge to access scheduled medical services should plan their travel time with this in mind and contact their providers to confirm or reschedule their appointments.
We plan to share more news later about this project. The best way the traveling public can stay up-to-date on news and closure dates is to subscribe to email alerts for this project.
For real time traffic updates in Oregon, go to TripCheck.com.
NATSO Commends Lawmakers for Re-Introducing Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act
Alexandria, VA… NATSO, representing truckstops, travel centers and off-highway energy retailers, today commended Congressman Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and a group of bipartisan lawmakers for re-introducing the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, which would allow grant recipients to partner with private truck parking providers to expand truck parking capacity nationwide.
“Representatives Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Angie Craig (D-Minn.) and Senators Mark Kelly (R-AZ) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) have worked diligently to advance opportunities to expand the number of commercial truck parking spaces for America’s truck drivers,” said NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings. “Truckstops and travel centers are committed to serving professional drivers, including providing safe places to stop and rest, as they deliver America’s economy and keep the supply chain moving. Allowing grant recipients to harness the collective expertise that private travel centers can provide affords an opportunity to maximize federal funds and increase truck parking capacity along those freight corridors where it may be needed.”
The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act recognizes the important role that travel centers and truckstops play in serving America’s long-haul truck drivers by prioritizing grant applications that demonstrate consultation with private providers of truck parking as well as a demonstrated shortage of commercial vehicle parking.
NATSO appreciates that the measure does not call for commercializing rest areas, noting that rest area commercialization would likely decrease, not increase, truck parking capacity.
With more than 5,000 Interstate truckstops and travel centers providing 90 percent of the truck parking capacity in the United States, truckstops and travel centers play a key role in addressing any state concerns over truck parking capacity.
Under the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, grant recipients, which include state transportation departments, metropolitan planning organizations and local governments, may utilize funds to put in commercial truck parking adjacent to private commercial truckstops or travel plazas. Travel Centers are uniquely positioned to provide all of the amenities that truck drivers need, including food, fuel, and showers along with a place to rest, as they travel the nation’s Interstate Highways.
NATSO looks forward to working with lawmakers in support of this legislation and urges Congress to quickly advance the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act.
USDOT Announces Effort to Accelerate Surface Transportation Project Delivery under Inflation Reduction Act
WASHINGTON, DC… As part of an ongoing effort to help deliver surface transportation projects faster, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today announced a Request for Information (RFI) seeking public input on environmental review processes that can be improved under the Inflation Reduction Act.
FHWA will consider ideas and recommendations from public and private stakeholders on how to reduce project delays through the development of more efficient and effective environmental reviews.
“Under President Biden’s leadership, we now have historic funding to bring better roads, bridges, railways, highways and transit to the American people,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. “To make the most of that funding, we are stepping up efforts to help communities deliver their transportation projects on time, on task, and on budget.”
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provides guidance and resources to several Federal agencies to facilitate efficient and effective reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act and other Federal processes. This could include identifying new strategies that would mitigate environmental impacts and thereby reduce timeframes for environmental reviews.
“The Inflation Reduction Act is providing the nation with historic investments and new opportunities to build an economy that works for working families,” said Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt. “Our goal with this request for information is to identify new strategies and evidence-based solutions that can both increase the efficiency of environmental reviews and reduce delays when it comes to delivering projects.”
The IRA includes Environmental Review Implementation Program funds to be administered by FHWA to support environmental reviews of surface transportation projects, including intercity rail projects funded by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and public transportation projects funded by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The funds may also be used by FHWA to develop guidance, technical assistance, templates, training, or other tools to facilitate an efficient and effective environmental review process for surface transportation projects. In order to use the Environmental Review Implementation Funds optimally, FHWA is seeking information through the RFI on what the agency should consider while implementing the funds.
“Like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the IRA provides unprecedented investment opportunities for America’s transportation system,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Amit Bose. “Delivering great projects on time and budget requires careful planning and strong execution. Like the Capital Project Guidance FRA recently issued, this RFI will enhance project delivery across the board.”
“Building great projects quickly is important to realizing the promise of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” said Federal Transit Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “Collecting feedback from transit project leaders will help us support the industry in advancing expeditious project delivery while aligning with our intent for an efficient environmental review process.”
FHWA is also seeking information on:
* the types of assistance that would be most beneficial to recipients of direct funding and facilitate an efficient and effective environmental review process for surface transportation projects;
* what program areas would most benefit from new or continued research; and,
* ways in which FHWA can make resources available to the eligible entities while promoting equity and maximizing the opportunity to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the environmental review process.
FHWA also hopes to learn of additional opportunities to make improvements or accelerate the environmental review process for existing surface transportation programs, in addition to other State, local, and tribal programs.
The Environmental Review Implementation Program builds on FHWA’s ongoing efforts to implement efficiencies in project delivery and environmental review. These efforts include consulting with other federal agencies on program-level actions; considering benefits and impacts to the environment during the transportation planning process; providing transportation liaisons in resource and regulatory agencies, such as the US Fish and Wildlife Service and US Army Corps of Engineers; and integrating NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) and environmental permitting.
Comments in response to FHWA’s RFI, “Inflation Reduction Act, Request for Information,” can be submitted at regulations.gov. The RFI is expected be published in the Federal Register on April 17, 2023. For more information on the IRA, please visit www.CleanEnergy.gov.
U.S. Government to Remove Border Vaccine Requirements as of May 12, 2023
TORONTO… The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it will be removing border vaccine requirements impacting all non-U.S. citizens entering the country as of May 12, 2023. A statement from the DHS confirmed the removal of the mandate stating the following:
“Beginning May 12, 2023, DHS will no longer require non-U.S. travelers entering the United States via land ports of entry and ferry terminals to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination upon request. DHS intends to rescind these Title 19 travel restrictions in alignment with the end of the Public Health Emergency and the termination of the Presidential Proclamation on air travel.”
The White House also confirmed the removal of the mandate along with a number of additional COVID related emergency measures, and further stating that additional details relating to the ending of these requirements would be available in the coming days.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) continues to work on several additional border barriers and areas where border policies remain misaligned with a coalition of trucking groups, including the American Trucking Associations (ATA), National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC) and Truckload Carriers Association (TCA).
CTA will continue to share additional information on these issues over the coming months.
OOIDA Supports Bill To Prevent Dangerous FMCSA Mandate - Restricted Truck Speeds Mean Rolling Roadblocks, Road Rag
Washington, DC - The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) today announced its strong support for the Deregulating Restrictions on Interstate Vehicles and Eighteen-Wheelers (DRIVE) Act (H.R. 3039). The legislation was introduced by Congressman Josh Brecheen (OK-2) to prohibit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) from promulgating any rule or regulation mandating speed limiters on large commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).
Speed limiting devices on large trucks have been proven to create unnecessary congestion and dangerous speed differentials among vehicles. This results in higher rates of vehicle interaction and higher crash rates.
“The physics is straightforward - limiting trucks to speeds below the flow of traffic increases interactions between vehicles and leads to more crashes,” said OOIDA President Todd Spencer. “OOIDA and our 150,000 members in small business trucking across America thank Congressman Brecheen for his leadership in keeping our roadways safe for truckers and for all road users.”
“This overreach by the Biden Administration has the potential to negatively impact all facets of the agricultural and trucking industries. I know from experience driving a semi while hauling equipment, and years spent hauling livestock, that the flow of traffic set by state law is critical for safety instead of an arbitrary one-size-fits-all speed limit imposed by some bureaucrat sitting at his desk in Washington, D.C.,” said Congressman Josh Brecheen. “This rule will add one more needless burden and Congress must stop it. For example, if a rancher is transporting cattle in a trailer across state lines, under this rule, the federal government would require a speed limiter device when above 26,000 lbs. Out-of-control bureaucrats are trying to impose ridiculous regulations on Americans who are trying to make ends meet.”
“The National Association of Small Trucking Companies strongly supports the Deregulating Restrictions on Interstate Vehicles and Eighteen-Wheelers (DRIVE Act). Mandating speed limiters on commercial vehicles would increase speed differentials between cars and trucks, increase traffic density, and increase impatience and risky driving by those behind a plodding truck. Mandatory speed limiters would likely cost more lives and cause more accidents and injuries. NASTC commends the DRIVE Act for stopping a predictable regulatory disaster,” said David Owen, President, National Association of Small Trucking Companies.
The DRIVE Act was introduced in response to an FMCSA rulemaking process announced in April 2022. The agency has received more than 15,000 comments on the proposal, the majority from truck drivers expressing opposition.
* American Farm Bureau Federation
* Livestock Marketing Association
* National Association of Small Trucking Companies
* National Cattleman’s Beef Association (NCBA)
* Owner Operated Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA)
* Western States Trucking Association
New Task Force Movement Report Builds on Trucking Action Plan to Move Military-Connected Community into High-Demand Truck Driving Jobs
Washington, DC… Department of Transportation Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy Carlos Monje and U.S. Department of Labor Veterans Employment and Training Services (VETS) Assistant Secretary James Rodriguez joined the Task Force Movement (TFM), an initiative chaired by former Congressman and Obama Army Under Secretary Patrick Murphy and launched a year ago at the White House in support of President Biden’s Trucking Plan, to release a report highlighting the challenges and opportunities to connecting military-adjacent personnel to career opportunities in trucking to help assuage a critical labor shortage.
“We’ve made incredible progress over the last year engaging more than 100 stakeholders in this effort, connecting hundreds of veterans, military-connected individuals, and Afghan SIV holders, who worked alongside our troops in Afghanistan, with well-paying jobs in trucking,” said Task Force Chairman, former Congressman and Army Under Secretary Patrick Murphy. “This new report offers a roadmap for stakeholders in the public and private sectors to remove barriers to opportunity for this critical part of our workforce.”
The report focused on four key themes to build on the success of the initiative thus far, to include:
* Theme 1: Transform the Narrative, and Elevate the Brand
* Theme 2: Increase Access to Quality Training and Employment
* Theme 3: Improve Documentation, Recognition, and Transferability of Military Skills
* Theme 4: Explore Linkage Between Whole Person Care and Veteran Workforce Success
As of last year, America faced a 80,000 truck driver shortage and the federal government is facing a 40,000 shortage and 700,000 private-sector shortage of cyber professionals. Moreover, military spouses face a 22 percent unemployment rate and have critical skills that could be utilized for these jobs. Within weeks of its establishment, TFM launched Drive for 500 with Indeed and Hiring Our Heroes. As a result, 500 veterans have already matriculated through the program and received their CDL license. Later the Department of Transportation, along with private sector partners, stepped up with millions of dollars in scholarships, including Operation Open Road, which provided scholarships for Afghan SIV holders.
TFM’s April 5th meeting featured a presentation of findings from the new report, Task Force Movement (TFM): Life-Cycle Pathways for Military and Veterans into Trucking. The event also centered on the one year anniversary of the launch of TFM, and included partners in private industry, as well as industry partners, armed services, employers and associations, academic and vocational institutions, and veteran services organizations.
Since it began its work, TFM has led convening sessions with 132 industry stakeholders from trucking and cyber security that have aided in reducing the strain on the supply chain. Employer partners have stepped in and advanced their hiring efforts to include transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses.
New Roadmaster Truck Driving School in Houston, Texas, Offers Training for a Career with Steady Pay, Flexibility, and Job Security
St. Petersburg, FL… With a growing national need for truck drivers amid supply chain disruptions and driver shortages, Roadmaster Drivers School, the leading Class A CDL (commercial driver's license) truck driver training program, is opening a new Houston, Texas location. The new school is Roadmaster’s fourth location in Texas and could be a tremendous opportunity for Houston residents who may be unemployed, underemployed, or looking for a career change. Brad Ball, President of Roadmaster Drivers School, explains that the demographics of the greater Houston area are well-suited to a truck driving career.
Ball says, “The national economy relies on a new generation of trained truckers to help meet the needs of the country’s biggest trucking state, Texas.” The state of Texas employs over 170,000 truck drivers, which equates to 15 of every 1000 jobs, and that number continues to grow year after year.1 Because Texas is centrally located from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, the average turnaround time is only 48 hours for truck drivers to reach most parts of the U.S. As one of only four states bordering Mexico, the Texas trucking industry facilitates 85% of the trade between Texas and Mexico.2
The pandemic created a massive disruption in the traditional job market. In 2021, people started to re-examine their work-life balance and began seeking new jobs that provided better pay, increased flexibility, and more personal fulfillment. This career uncertainty contributed, in part, to The Great Resignation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 47 million people opted to willingly quit their jobs.3
Supply chain disruptions and driver shortages were already problematic before the pandemic, but COVID-19 certainly exacerbated the issue. Studies predict a shortage of 240,000 drivers by 2023 driven by factors such as truck drivers retiring (the average age of truck drivers is 55 years old), new regulations and qualification requirements, and truckers who never returned to the industry after pandemic-related layoffs.4 As a result, 2.6 million global positions remained unfilled in 2022.5
A truck driving career offers job security, competitive pay, and benefits. According to Indeed.com, the average entry-level truck driver's salary in the U.S. is $73,907 per year!6 Ball states, “We’ve proudly trained more than 160,000 men and women to build a career in truck driving, positively changing their families’ lives in the process. There’s a growing diversity in truck driving with no wage gap tied to race or gender.” Once considered an almost exclusively male occupation, the industry is experiencing record growth among women now choosing truck driving as a career.7
More than 90% of truckload fleets gave raises in pay to drivers in 2021, with an average increase of 10.9%. A majority of fleets are also offering significant sign-on and referral bonuses.8 Ball says wage increases look promising over the next few years.
Ball explains, “On average, completing CDL training classes takes about a month. We thoroughly prepare you every step of the way, including hands-on experience driving a truck and classroom training. Financial assistance is available for those who qualify.” He adds, “We encourage you to stop by our new facility and let us show you what life on the road could look like. Taking a few hours out of your day could be the first step to a fascinating and profitable new profession. We’re excited to meet the Houston area residents and support them on their new career path."
On May 18th, between the hours of 11:00 am and 3:00 pm, members of the press, prospective students, and the general public are warmly invited to the grand opening ceremony of Roadmaster’s new training facility at 1224 Normandy Street, Houston, Texas 77015.
Ball remarks, “Trucking is an essential and increasingly well-paid and respected profession. If you — or someone you know — are in the market for a better future, I urge you to come and talk to us. It might turn out to be the best thing you ever did.”
Roadmaster, headquartered in St. Petersburg, FL, is a nationwide training organization for professional truck drivers. The organization has over 30 years of experience training more than 160,000 graduates with 24 training locations nationwide. By focusing on giving students the best education and maintaining high job placement standards, Roadmaster has gained a national reputation in the trucking industry for quality training of entry-level commercial truck drivers — noted for their training practices to be the most hands-on and safety-focused training in the country. For more information, visit www.roadmaster.com.
Massachusetts Trucking Executive Urges Congress To Set Achievable Emissions Standards -Warns Against Unrealistic Timelines And State Regulatory Patchworks
Washington, DC… Andrew Boyle, co-president of Massachusetts-based Boyle Transportation and first vice chairman of the American Trucking Associations, told Congress the trucking industry was committed to further reducing emissions but that regulations must be technically achievable, national in scope, and set on a realistic timeline.
Testifying before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s Clean Air, Climate and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee, Boyle touted the industry’s incredible strides in reducing emissions, citing that today’s clean diesel trucks produce 99% lower emissions than those from the 1980s. Attributing those gains to innovation and achievable national standards, Boyle warned against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s creation of a state regulatory patchwork in granting a waiver for California’s ‘Advanced Clean Trucks’ rule, which is heavily predicated on the adoption of electric trucks.
“While we share the passion for EVs in cars and light duty vehicles, projecting an automotive construct onto trucking industry dynamics is a massive mistake,” Boyle said. “Let me be clear: if battery electric trucks had adequate range, there was adequate charging infrastructure, and utilities brought online necessary electricity, we truckers would be delighted. But let me explain our reality.”
Today’s clean diesel trucks can spend 15 minutes fueling anywhere in the country and then travel about 1,200 miles before fueling again. In contrast, today’s battery electric trucks have a range of about 150-330 miles and then take up to ten hours to charge.
“And this is assuming there are chargers where you need them,” Boyle said. “We would need far more trucks to haul the same amount of freight, and each of those trucks would cost 2-3x a comparable diesel truck. Converting the US fleet of Class 8 trucks to Battery Electric would require a $1 trillion investment, which ultimately would flow to consumers.”
“We recognize that most people don’t understand how the trucking industry works behind the scenes to supply the American public,” Boyle said. “But we can’t allow unrealistic timelines, a state patchwork, and technically unachievable regulations to set trucking up for failure.
“Remember, we deliver food, medicine, and baby formula. Failure is not inconvenient; it’s catastrophic,” he said.
In his written testimony, Boyle identified several key areas where Congress can realize immediate and significant environmental gains, including:
* Investing Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds to reduce traffic bottlenecks on the National Highway System, which wastes 6.87 billion gallons of fuel and pumps 67.3 million metric tons of CO2 into our environment annually; and
* Repealing the Federal Excise Tax, which adds 12% to the cost of a new, clean truck.
Nearly $300 Million Slated for 9 Bridge Projects as Part of Investing in America Agenda
WASHINGTON, DC… The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced nearly $300 million for nine small and medium-sized bridge projects in both rural and urban areas in eight states and the District of Columbia. The grants from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Bridge Investment Program are an integral part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to rebuild our infrastructure and grow our economy from the middle out and bottom up. It comes on top of billions of dollars in other bridge and highway funding already flowing to every U.S. state and territory that is helping communities rebuild, repair, and replace tens of thousands of bridges across the nation and restoring connections that are vital to commuters, emergency responders, truck drivers, public transit riders, and more.
The nearly $300 million investment announced today will fund the repair, rehabilitation, and/or replacement of the following nine bridge projects:
* California: City of San Diego – Palm Avenue/Interstate 805 Bridge – $24 million – Bridge rehabilitation and preservation for the 50-year-old Palm Avenue overcrossing bridge in San Diego. This bridge is a key connector for the Otay-Mesa-Nestor community and is only a few miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. An estimated 38,160 vehicles per day cross this bridge every day and this project will reduce traffic delays and increase freight movement, while reducing long-term maintenance costs. The project sponsors estimate this project will create over $30 million in benefits from reduced congestion and traffic delays.
* Michigan: Michigan Department of Transportation – Lafayette Bascule Bridge - $73 million – Replacement of the 85-year-old, bascule-style Lafayette Avenue Bridge over the Saginaw River with a new bascule bridge. This bridge is an important link in the transportation network for Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region. An estimated 16,000 vehicles cross this bridge every day and project sponsors project tens of millions of dollars in costs savings associated with shorter travel time and safety benefits.
* New York: New York State Thruway Authority – Castleton-on-Hudson Bridge – $21 million (Rural) – Rehabilitation of the Berkshire Spur of the New York Thruway, which connects I-87 in Albany County to the New York State/Massachusetts State line. An estimated 17,000 vehicles cross this bridge every day and project sponsors estimate a reduction of $13.5 million in maintenance costs and a reduction of $8.8 million in travel time costs.
* Oklahoma: Circuit Engineering District 8 – Improving Rural Bridges in Northwest Oklahoma – $11.5 million (Rural) – Replacement of seven bridges would benefit economic growth, the mobility of people and goods, and transportation-network efficiency and accessibility. Nearly 3,000 vehicles cross these bridges every day and the project will improve reliability and capacity of the bridges for the region’s farmers, ranchers, and energy workers.
* Oregon: Portland Bureau of Transportation – Burgard Bridge – $13.9 million – Replacement of the existing 93-year-old viaduct over the Union Pacific Railroad in the St. Johns neighborhood of Portland. This project will provide an essential connection between the North Portland peninsula and other areas of the city. Over 8,000 vehicles cross this bridge every day and project sponsors estimate millions of dollars in costs savings related to travel time and vehicle operating costs.
* South Carolina: South Carolina Department of Transportation – Investing in South Carolina’s Rural Bridges – $51.2 million (Rural) – Replacement of six bridges that range from 68 to 101 years old. These bridges serve multiple communities that heavily rely on them to travel to work and school, as well as to transport goods across the state and region. An estimated 13,000 vehicles cross these bridges every day. Without the project, the project sponsors say these bridges will all eventually close to traffic, causing vehicles to take long detours that would result in increased costs.
* Texas: Texas Department of Transportation – US-59 San Antonio River Bridge t – $14 million (Rural) – Replacement of the U.S. Highway 59 bridge over the San Antonio River, which is located fewer than 70 miles from three key water ports (the Port of Corpus Christi, Calhoun Port Authority, and Port of Victoria) and within 150 miles of Port Laredo, the country’s largest inland port along the U.S./Mexico border. Over 4,200 vehicles cross this bridge every day and project sponsors estimate that without this investment, the bridge would need to be closed for at least 9 months, resulting in traffic taking a nearly 50-mile detour. This project is estimated to save millions of dollars through reduced travel time and add significant safety benefits.
* Washington, D.C.: District Department of Transportation – Arland D. Williams Jr. Memorial Bridge – $72 million – Rehabilitation of the northbound I-395 bridge, also known as the Arland D. Williams Jr. Memorial Bridge. This is a four-lane, nearly half-mile bridge that carries people and goods from Arlington, Virginia, over the Potomac River to Washington, D.C. Over 88,000 vehicles cross this bridge every day and project sponsors estimate that this project will save millions of dollars in reduced maintenance costs, while improving travel times and safety for users.
* Wisconsin: City of Madison – John Nolen Drive Bridges – $15.1million– Replacement of six off-system bridges along the John Nolen Drive Causeway, which is a major artery that travels across Lake Monona and into downtown Madison. 45,000 vehicles drive across these bridges every day, and project sponsors estimate the community will save tens of millions from more efficient travel, while realizing safety benefits and increased property value.
These competitive grants are limited to bridge projects with eligible costs of up to $100 million. Today’s announcement follows earlier announcements under the Bridge Investment Program umbrella:
* In October 2022, FHWA announced $20 million in bridge-planning grants for 24 projects in 24 states. Those grants were designed to create a pipeline of construction-ready bridge projects that are now in the early stages of project development.
* In January 2023, FHWA announced $2.1 billion in large-bridge project grants to make critical improvements to four nationally significant bridges that serve as a vital link for local residents, communities, and both the regional and national economy. In addition to the four FY22 Large Bridge Project Grants, FHWA also announced an additional Bridge Planning grant to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the amount of $1.6 million to advance critical planning work in support of replacement of the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges over the Cape Cod Canal.
“Bridges tie together communities across our country – large and small,” said Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt. “Over the next five years, the Bridge Investment Program will help repair, replace, and rehabilitate structures that allow working people to get to their jobs, families to get their kids to school, and truck drivers to get goods to store shelves. That is an investment in our country’s economic strength and in the safety and long-term growth of the communities nearby.”
The Bridge Investment Program is a competitive grant program that will invest $12.5 billion over 5 years to rebuild, repair, and replace small, medium, and large bridges. This program already invested $2.4 billion in Fiscal Year 2022, and complements the $27.5-billion Bridge Formula Program, representing the single-largest dedicated investment in bridges since the construction of the Interstate Highway System.
For more information on the Bridge Investment Program, please visit the FHWA’s Bridge Investment Program webpage.
CTA Provides Comments on Future Vision of Canada’s Immigration System
TORONTO… The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has made a formal submission on the Future Vision of Canada’s Immigration System.
As part of consultations – which Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently wrapped up – CTA signaled its strong support for a robust immigration system that is responsive to the Canadian economy.
The trucking industry has one of the highest job vacancy rates and the oldest workforce in the country. The acute labour shortage in the industry is well documented and presents as one of the biggest threats to long term economic recovery and stability.
Trucking’s labour shortages affect all Canadians and all Canadian businesses both directly and indirectly. In turn, trucking has a much larger economic multiplier than most other sectors – meaning investments made in trucking’s labour force pays some of the highest dividends to Canada’s overall economy.
The submission also made comments on key programs like Express Entry, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, and concepts such as ‘Known Employer’ programs. When it comes to express entry, the CTA submission laid out both short- and longer-term reforms that could be made to better allow the program to be responsive to the trucking industry’s needs.
“As IRCC and the Government of Canada know, the economy and the skills that are most needed to sustain it are changing. The Express Entry program itself is also changing with the inclusion of occupations like trucking, which have historically been excluded from these types of programs” said Jonathan Blackham, CTA’s Director of Policy and Public Affairs.
As the NOC system itself has changed to better categorize and recognize the true classification of occupations, Blackham says immigration programs like Express Entry will need to similarly adapt to ensure the most in-demand jobs, like truck drivers, are being prioritized.
Long standing issues relating to the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process, processing times, consistency of service, among others, were also raised as part of the submission. In addition, CTA highlighted labour abuses and issues relating to Driver Inc., employee misclassification and other schemes that seek to suppress and manipulate workers in our sector. This is why CTA has been a longstanding champion of the Government’s proposal to bring in Trusted/ Known Employer programs that would involve detailed vetting of participating companies to ensure that newcomers are being treated and paid fairly.
The submission also contained detailed information on trucking’s role as an essential service, its position as the lead freight mode, and its overall importance to the Canadian economy. The submission also discussed relevant public opinion polling, and the business case for improved access to key immigration programs and pathways.
Coalition Asks for Bilateral Cooperation to Address Misaligning Border Policies & Barriers for Trucking Operators
TORONTO… The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) – as a part of a coalition of Canada-U.S. trucking industry associations, including the American Trucking Associations (ATA), National Tank Trucking Carriers, Inc. (NTTC), and Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) – is requesting the Canadian Ambassador to the U.S., Kirsten Hillman, and U.S. Ambassador to Canada, David L. Cohen, work bilaterally to ensure reciprocal treatment, and remove unnecessary trade barriers for cross-border operators and truck drivers, considering the importance of Canada-U.S. trade and the enormous amount of freight moving between our two countries.
In its correspondence, the coalition highlighted misaligning trade policies such as the need to establish a permanent U.S. in-transit program for Canadian carriers, which has remained in a pilot with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) since 2016. Prior to 9/11, the use of in-transit movements remained common for Canadian fleets, allowing for access to suitable infrastructure, reduced transit times and operational flexibility. The ability to move in-transit continues to remain in place for all U.S. fleets and is instrumental to deliveries into Alaska, and to the supply chains in the U.S. mid-west, eastern Michigan, and Northeastern U.S.
The importance of a permanent in-transit program was underscored during the B.C. floods situation in 2021, where both countries came together to quickly implement a temporary in-transit process to assist with goods delivery and recovery efforts in the province. This crisis further reinforced the importance of implementing a permanent bilateral solution.
The coalition also reiterated its multiple requests to have U.S. border vaccine restrictions removed, emphasizing the importance of increased truck capacity to support supply chains and U.S. based businesses, and that unifying border rules for all truck drivers crossing the border was a simple and long-overdue change considering the current state and perception of the pandemic in both countries.
Other issues that were highlighted included the need to address the bilateral dispute around the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) enrolment process; addressing pandemic related backlogs for obtaining B1/B2 visas, which continue to hinder the ability of some truck drivers to cross the border for work purposes; and other historical supply chain inefficiencies that continue to exist between both countries.
“Alignment on these bilateral policies will serve to increase the usable capacity of Canadian-based trucking fleets and all cross-border operators supporting our integrated economies. They will also act as a potential hedge against further supply chain disruptions and driver shortages being experienced in both countries,” says Lak Shoan, Director of Policy and Industry Awareness Programs for the CTA.
Bendix Tech Tips: Antilock Braking System (Abs) Troubleshooting And Repair
AVON, OH… The upcoming Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) International Roadcheck inspection program, May 16-18, will include a focus on violations involving antilock braking systems (ABS). While ABS violations – indicated by warning lights in the cab or on the trailer – aren’t typically categorized as out-of-service infractions, the technology plays an important role in driver and vehicle safety. This installment of the Bendix Tech Tips series discusses what to do if you discover an illuminated ABS warning lamp.
The Basics of ABS
Antilock braking systems use wheel speed sensors that indicate to the ABS electronic control unit (ECU) if wheel slip is happening. The ABS system often works with the vehicle’s electronic stability control (ESC) full-stability system, if equipped, to help prevent a tractor or trailer’s wheels from locking up and causing skids on surfaces like ice, wet roads, or loose gravel. ABS is a proven technology, mandatory on most air-braked commercial vehicles manufactured in North America for more than 20 years. A properly functioning ABS helps the driver maintain control of the vehicle while braking and serves as a foundation for more advanced safety systems like full stability and collision mitigation.
“Checking your ABS lamps for proper functioning should be part of your typical pre- and post-trip inspection,” said Ryan Hurley, vehicle systems engineer at Bendix. “It’s important to note, though, that if your ABS warning lamp does come on while you’re driving, it’s not going to affect standard service brake application: Your truck’s service brakes will still work. ABS, ESC, and collision mitigation technologies, however, may not be fully functional. Keep driving to the next safe stop and check out the situation there. While an ABS warning lamp doesn’t require a roadside fix, it’s important – given the other systems on the truck that work with ABS – to get it addressed by a technician as soon as possible.”
ABS Roadside Inspection: What to Expect
Because ABS activates only under specific conditions, it can be difficult for drivers to tell if the system is in good operating condition – that’s why the CVSA focuses its inspections on the yellow or amber malfunction indicator light (MIL). In-cab, they’re easily spotted on the dashboard – they are standard lights and look the same on all vehicles. Trailer ABS malfunction indicator lamps are located on the exterior near the red rear side marker lamp on the driver’s side; converter dollies also need to have the lamp located on the driver’s side. And they need to be clearly identified with the letters “ABS.”
“During a CVSA roadside inspection, the inspector’s going to first check to see whether ABS is required on your vehicle,” Hurley said. “If it is, they’ll ensure the lamps cycle on and off during the diagnostic check. If any of the lamps remain on, they’ll take that as a sign of a malfunction. Again: Not an out-of-service violation, but it is recordable, and you can be ticketed for it, so the best thing to do is address an illuminated lamp as soon as possible.”
Diagnostic Tools for Technicians
Brake manufacturers and OEMs provide diagnostic software designed specifically for the braking or vehicle systems they manufacture or include on their vehicles. The software is key to diagnosing and troubleshooting ABS faults on ABS systems since it provides specific information about what may be wrong with the system, as well as procedures on how to diagnose and repair it.
An example is Bendix® ACom® PRO™ Diagnostics Software, Bendix’s PC-based diagnostic tool that supports all of Bendix’s ECUs. For technicians not familiar with the tool, Bendix offers more than 20 training videos at the Bendix On-Line Brake School (www.brake-school.com), in-person three-day brake schools around the country, and the 1-800-AIR BRAKE line to get direct help on ACom PRO and brake system faults.
ACom PRO support is based on Service Data Sheets, which are the primary source of technical information for the technician on any given Bendix system – including ABS. They detail all of the important aspects of diagnosing and troubleshooting Bendix systems. Information such as SPNs/FMIs, blink codes, service action codes, wiring diagrams, connector pin-outs, and other key information is documented. All Service Data Sheets can be found at B2Bendix.com.
“Some trailers have the ability to provide diagnostic blink codes, which can help technicians who don’t have access to ACom® PRO™,” said Brian Screeton, Bendix manager of technical training. “To display active diagnostic troubleshooting codes (DTCs), turn on ignition power to the trailer; press and release the brake pedal three times, waiting 1 second between brake pedal applications within the first 15 seconds of turning on the ignition. After a 5-second pause, the ABS electronic control unit will start flashing the active DTCs with the ABS light – for example, two flashes followed by one flash would indicate a fault code of 21. For this, the technician would perform the specified troubleshooting and resolution steps indicated in the appropriate Bendix Service Data Sheet.”
If troubleshooting indicates that the basic ABS components – wheel speed sensors and modulators, for example – are not malfunctioning, then it could be chassis wiring or other complex issues that would require in-depth troubleshooting to get to the root cause.
“Blink codes can be useful for trailer ABS diagnostics, but they are limited,” Screeton said. “Considering the Bendix stability ECUs on trailers now, blink codes will only go so far in helping to diagnose ABS issues and are best supplemented with diagnostic software.”
What Drivers Can Do
“As a driver, if you notice an ABS light illuminated on the dash or another indication the ABS system is not performing correctly, we recommend you follow fleet procedures to have a qualified technician look at the vehicle,” Screeton said. “If the driver is the technician, then the best initial step in troubleshooting is to consult the appropriate diagnostic software and, as available, the applicable service documentation to diagnose the vehicle. It is the same process we recommend for a dedicated technician.”
According to Screeton, drivers on the road with an illuminated ABS light should plan to increase following distance behind vehicles, reduce speed, and avoid panic braking, which can lead to a potential loss of control. Also, it’s important to remember that, as noted earlier, if ABS is out, then stability control and collision mitigation technologies may also be inoperative. Already-safe driving practices should be modified to even safer driving practices.
You can find more information from the Bendix Tech Tips series in the Bendix multimedia center at knowledge-dock.com. Additional instructional videos and interactive education on wheel-ends, air systems, and electronics are also available at the Bendix On-Line Brake School, www.brake-school.com, and at B2Bendix.com. You can reach the Bendix Tech Team at 1-800-AIR-BRAKE, option 2. And as always, complete maintenance and troubleshooting information can be found in the library of Service Data Sheets and Technical Bulletins located atB2Bendix.com and bendix.com.
ATA Truck Tonnage Index Decreased 5.4% in March
Washington, DC… American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index fell 5.4% in March after increasing 0.9% in February. In March, the index equaled 111.6 (2015=100) compared with 118 in February.
“After increasing a total of 2.6% during the three previous months, March’s sequential decline was the largest monthly drop since April 2020 during the start of the pandemic,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Falling home construction, decreasing factory output and soft retail sales all hurt contract freight tonnage – which dominates ATA’s tonnage index – during the month. Despite the largest year-over-year drop since October 2020, contract freight remains more robust than the spot market, which continues to see prolonged weakness.”
Compared with March 2022, the SA index decreased 5%, which was the first year-over-year decrease since August 2021. In February, the index was up 1.9% from a year earlier. During the first quarter, tonnage was 0.6% below the same three month period in 2022.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 117.2 in March, 9.3% above the February level (107.2). 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 72.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.93 billion tons of freight in 2021. Motor carriers collected $875.5 billion, or 80.8% 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 EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Emission Proposals for Heavy-Duty Trucks
Washington , DC… American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear issued the following statement on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Phase 3 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles rule:
“The trucking industry starts at ‘yes.’ We share the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving fuel efficiency and believe any regulation must be practical, achievable, and based on sound science. Our members have a long history of adopting the cleanest emissions technology on the road today and are making the necessary investments to support a decarbonized future.
“While these standards are directed at manufacturers, it is fleets – the customers and end-users of this equipment – who will ultimately determine their level of success. The Phase 3 standards must take into account the complex challenges and operating conditions facing motor carriers as we manage the transition to a zero-emission future while simultaneously moving more than 72 percent of the economy’s freight.
“As we review the proposed rule, ATA will remain engaged in the regulatory process to ensure the agency arrives at a regulation that has realistic equipment adoption timelines, is technologically feasible, and will not cause additional inflationary pressures if finalized.”
Spear also addressed the agency’s decision to reopen its Phase 2 regulation that was finalized in 2016:
“We are extremely disappointed that EPA has chosen to reopen the Phase 2 regulation, which had been set for years. To make the plans and investments necessary for a successful transition, our industry needs regulatory certainty — not whimsical changes of mind from year to year.
“Our industry has always found ways to partner with EPA on regulations that are tough but achievable. If EPA wants us to remain a willing participant, their going back and changing what was already agreed upon is not how to do it.”
ATA Statement on DRIVE Act Introduction
Washington, DC… American Trucking Associations issued the following statement on the Deregulating Restrictions on Interstate Vehicles and Eighteen-Wheelers, or DRIVE Act:
“The easiest position anyone in Washington can take is ‘No.’ It requires little effort, zero facts and an unwillingness to compromise. ATA isn’t the association of ‘No.’ We put safety first. We deploy the best technology to help save lives. In short, we care about the motoring public, and we feel our position on a speed limiter rule is based on data, not baseless rhetoric,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “Driving as fast as you can as long as you like kicks safety to the curb. It’s irresponsible. Safety is a winning issue and ATA enjoys winning. This issue is no exception.”
ATA policy on speed limiters supports electronically governing “Class 7 and 8 trucks manufactured after 1992 used in commerce should be governed by tamperproof devices either limiting the vehicle to a fixed maximum of 65 mph; or limiting the vehicle to 70 mph with the use of adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking. The Department of Transportation should conduct a recurring five-year review of speed governing regulations to ensure that the regulations are appropriate and consistent with currently deployed technologies.”
“Everyone knows excessive speed kills, and ATA policies support technology to address this irrefutable fact of physics. It is vital that any regulation get the details right, and the technologies are changing every year,” said ATA Executive Vice President of Advocacy Bill Sullivan. “These efforts to prohibit the development of safety policies are misguided, they will lead to more serious crashes, and this bill will never become law, even if it passes the House.”
Applications Open for First Year of $400M Competitive Grant Program to Reduce Truck Air Pollution at America’s Ports
WASHINGTON, DC ....The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration has opened applications for the first round of a new $400 million grant program under President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that focuses on port electrification and efficiency improvements. This program is one of several ways the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda is investing billions of dollars in ports of all sizes to modernize their infrastructure, improve air quality, and strengthen supply chains.
The FY2022-2023 funding for the Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities Grant Program totals $160 million. The funding will focus on projects that reduce emissions from idling trucks at our nation’s ports, which negatively impacts air quality for surrounding communities, including small children, truck drivers, and port workers.
“When truckers spend hours idling at ports, it costs them time, takes money out of their pockets, and pollutes the air in nearby communities,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “The investments we are announcing today will save truck drivers time and money, help ports reduce congestion and emissions, and deliver better air quality for workers and communities alike.”
“This new competitive grant program will modernize and update our nation’s port system by helping to combat a notorious source of air pollution,” Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt said. “Reducing the impact that truck emissions have on neighboring communities will help improve the health and wellbeing of port workers, truck drivers, and families who live nearby.”
The program is part of the Justice40 Initiative, which advances President Biden’s commitment to environmental justice by aiming to ensure that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.
The FHWA seeks to fund projects that reduce truck emissions in communities adjacent to ports, which disproportionately bear the negative environmental impacts. Port-related trade has increased in recent years and this activity has led to the queuing of trucks waiting to offload their goods. Port facilities, port workers, and surrounding neighborhoods often experience poor air quality due to significant truck congestion and idling both inside and outside the port facility.
Eligible project activities include:
* the development of port-related infrastructure that reduces emissions from port-related truck idling;
* on-truck technologies that reduce emissions from port-related truck idling;
* the use of zero or low emissions powertrains or fuels on trucks;
* reducing truck congestion within or adjacent to ports, including through enhanced intermodal rail connections; and
* reducing port-related emissions from idling trucks, including through port electrification and improving the efficiency of port operations.
Further, the Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities Grant Program will make possible more charging stations and electrical hookups for trucks alongside auxiliary electric power units that are used to provide power to the cab or sleeper berth while allowing the truck’s engine to be turned off and save fuel.
The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023 is available on the program office website. See this fact sheet for more information: Bipartisan Infrastructure Law - Apportionment Fact Sheet | Federal Highway Administration (dot.gov) The program complements the Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP), which provides grants to safety, efficiency and reliability of the movement of goods through ports and intermodal connections to ports.