The American Transportation Research Institute today released a new report detailing the costs of deploying and operating a national vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax. This study was identified as a top research priority by ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee in 2020.
With a goal of understanding the opportunities and challenges of a federal system, the research first explored the technical and administrative requirements of charging every U.S. driver for miles driven. Next the costs of operating a VMT tax program were calculated, including those associated with technology, data communications and account management.
It was found that replacing the federal fuel tax with a VMT tax that is assessed on 272 million private vehicles could result in collection costs of more than $20 billion annually – or 300 times higher than the federal fuel tax. The central reason for this large increase in costs is the shift in collection points – from a couple hundred fuel terminal operators to every registered motor vehicle in the U.S.
“It’s clear that a VMT tax is a far more complicated and costly replacement for the fuel tax than many had anticipated,” said James Burg Trucking Company President and CEO Jim Burg. “If a system like this is going to work for everyone, many years of thoughtful planning and federal leadership are needed.”
Additionally, the report found that hardware costs alone would have an initial price tag of $13.6 billion and require ongoing replacement, telecommunications costs would be approximately $13 billion annually, and account administration would be an additional $4.3 billion each year. On top of these costs, credit card transactions for electronic payment and even the shipping costs for the hardware could each cost more than $1 billion.
“With policymakers preparing to lay out a vision for the future of America’s infrastructure, ATRI’s analysis could not come at a more critical time,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “Most experts agree that some sort of VMT system is a part of that future, and ATRI’s report makes clear that implementing it will take thoughtful leadership, cooperation from stakeholders and a strong plan to transition away from current funding streams.”
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has set May 4-6 as the dates for this year’s International Roadcheck. Over that 72-hour period, commercial motor vehicle inspectors in jurisdictions throughout Canada, Mexico and the U.S. will conduct inspections on commercial motor vehicles and drivers.
“CVSA shares the dates of International Roadcheck in advance to remind motor carriers and drivers of the importance of proactive vehicle maintenance and driver readiness,” said CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police. “International Roadcheck also aims to raise awareness of the North American Standard Inspection Program and the essential highway safety rules and regulations in place to keep our roadways safe.”
Inspectors will ensure the vehicle’s brake systems, cargo securement, coupling devices, driveline/driveshaft components, driver’s seat, exhaust systems, frames, fuel systems, lighting devices, steering mechanisms, suspensions, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels, rims, hubs and windshield wipers are compliant with regulations. Inspections of motorcoaches, passenger vans and other passenger-carrying vehicles also include emergency exits, electrical cables and systems in the engine and battery compartments, and seating.
Inspectors will be looking for critical vehicle inspection item violations, outlined in the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria. If such violations are found, the vehicle will be placed out of service, which means that vehicle cannot be operated until the identified out-of-service conditions have been corrected.
Vehicles that successfully pass inspection, without any critical vehicle inspection item violations found after a completed Level I or Level V Inspection, should receive a CVSA decal. In general, vehicles with a CVSA decal are not re-inspected during the three-month period during which the decal is valid. Instead, inspectors focus their efforts on vehicles without a valid CVSA decal.
Also during an inspection, inspectors will check the driver’s operating credentials, hours-of-service documentation, seat belt usage, and for alcohol and/or drug impairment. A driver will be placed out of service if an inspector discovers driver-related out-of-service conditions.
Each year, CVSA asks its member jurisdictions to capture and report data focusing on a certain category of violations during International Roadcheck. This helps bring awareness to certain aspects of a roadside inspection. This year, inspectors will capture data on two categories, corresponding to the two main inspection categories of the North American Standard Level I Inspection – driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness. For the driver category, hours of service will be highlighted this year, and for the vehicle category, inspectors will be paying special attention to lighting.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the lighting violation “lamps inoperable” (Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations 393.9) was the number one vehicle violation in fiscal 2020, accounting for approximately 12.24% of all vehicle violations discovered that year. And during last year’s International Roadcheck, the top driver out-of-service violation category in North America was hours of service, accounting for 34.7% of all driver out-of-service conditions.
“It’s important to remember that International Roadcheck is a data collection effort,” said Sgt. Samis. “The inspections conducted during the three days of International Roadcheck are no different from the inspections conducted any other day of the year. Other than data collection, the inspection process is the same.”
As was the case last year, in consideration of COVID-19, law enforcement personnel will conduct inspections following their departments’ health and safety protocols during 2021 International Roadcheck.
In addition, as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues, every effort will be made to get vaccine shipments to their destination, quickly and safely. COVID-19 vaccine shipments will not be held up for inspection, unless there is an obvious serious violation that is an imminent hazard.
International Roadcheck is a CVSA program with participation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, Transport Canada, and Mexico’s Ministry of Communications and Transportation and its National Guard.
All commercial vehicle restrictions have been lifted in CT/NJ/NY
IN PA I-84 Empty trailer ban has been lifted.
After extensive developing and testing, the all-new Indiana Oversize/Overweight Permitting System is scheduled to go live on Feb. 8.
To facilitate the transition to the new system, DOR’s Motor Carrier Services (MCS) will stop taking applications for new OSW permits at 4 p.m. EST on Monday, Feb. 1.
Carriers may travel on permits previously applied for as long as permit applications are completed by 4 p.m. EST on Feb. 1 and paid for by 4 p.m. EST on Feb. 4. Due to increased volume, we ask that you submit your requests as early as possible.
MCS is asking our customers to carefully review the detailed information on osw.in.gov now to prepare for the temporary disruption in permitting services.
Online access to the current system will be limited to viewing, payments and downloads of permits in process until 4 p.m. EST on Thursday, Feb. 4. From the afternoon of Feb. 4, until the new system goes online on Feb. 8, there will be no online permitting functions available. (See the graphic below for more details). Procedures are in place for OSW permits in case of an emergency (as defined by INDOT).
Also, you may review the user guide to learn how the new system works. It is recommended to have it readily available when you use the new system for the first time.
The new Indiana Oversize/Overweight Permitting System, will have a new look and several new features. While, you’ll be able to access the system in the same way, the new system will be easier to use. Additionally permits will be more accurate and processing times will be reduced. Customers will be able to enter specific destinations, rather than just city names, choose among up to four pre-approved routes (where available) and immediately download permits without waiting up to 24 hours for a manual review (for most permits). You will not need to create a new account when using the new system for the first time.
Funding for the new Indiana Oversize/Overweight Permitting System, developed by ProMiles Inc., was provided by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT).
Motor Carrier Services
Indiana Department of Revenue
Bernard A. Brown, the visionary behind National Freight, Inc., one of the oldest trucking companies in the United States and the predecessor to the third-party logistics leader NFI, died Thursday, at the age of 96, at his home in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Mr. Brown was formerly from Philadelphia and Vineland, New Jersey.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, into a family that fled Europe from religious persecution, Mr. Brown embodied the American dream. At the age of nine, Bernie, as he was affectionately known, and his family moved to Vineland, New Jersey. He graduated from Vineland High School in 1942 and went on to attend Temple University, but left prior to graduating to help his father run his business. At an early age, Mr. Brown was enamored with the trucking business that his father started. Following the untimely death of his father, at age twenty-six he had the vision and courage to take a small company operating a few dump trucks and turn it into one of the most respected trucking companies in the country.
Mr. Brown embodied all of the attributes of a self-made businessman. He quickly figured out that business was all about relationships. In the early part of his career, he created contracts with the government, hauling supplies and goods that supported the military through World War II. He formed partnerships with local glass manufacturers in South Jersey which ultimately led to contracts with the largest companies in the United States. Mr. Brown was a trailblazer in the trucking industry and was at the forefront of federal transportation regulations in the 1980's. His work led to the acceptance of high-cube trailers and the expansion from traditional 48 foot trailers to 53, 55, and eventually 57 foot trailers. In 1988, he was honored as the Man of the Year by the New Jersey Motor Truck Association. He knew the importance of hard work and perseverance as he led his company through wars, recessions, natural disasters, and deregulation. Most importantly, he knew that his employees were his company's most important asset, and he continued his relationships with many of his colleagues and veteran drivers following his retirement.
His vision and spirit led to what ultimately became one of the largest and most successful, family-owned and operated, third-party logistics companies in North America, NFI. Today, that company employs more than 14,000 employees, operates over 250 locations in the United States and Canada, and serves the largest and most sophisticated shippers in the world. To this day, his son's continue to own and operate the legacy freight business that was started in 1932.
Mr. Brown's entrepreneurial spirit did not start and end in the trucking business. He was a real estate investor, founder of two banks, and an owner of a professional hockey team. Mr. Brown saw the natural extension of his transportation business and invested in warehousing and real estate. His real estate company, Vineland Construction Company, of which he was the Chairman of the Board until his death, is led by his daughter Anne and continues to own and operate commercial and retail properties throughout the United States. He was the Chairman of the Board Emeritus of NFI, Sun Bancorp, and Citizens United Bank. In 1960, Mr. Brown was a founder of Citizens United Bank, which was later sold in 1983. In 1986, he was a founder in Sun Bancorp, a small, regional bank that operated more than 50 branches and was ultimately listed on the NASDAQ. Bernie loved sports, and although it was short lived, he was the owner of the Philadelphia Blazers, a World Hockey Association franchise, in 1971. He was the first owner to give a million dollar contract to a professional hockey player. Mr. Brown even owned a horse farm in Vineland where he bred and raced horses under the stable name of Redwood Acres.
Business was a huge part of Mr. Brown's life, but it was not the only thing that defined him. He was a man who cared deeply about his family and his community. Bernie is survived by his wife Shirlee, whom he loved and admired. She was the solid foundation that allowed him to pursue his dreams. They would have been married 70 years this coming February. Mr. and Mrs. Brown believed in giving back to the community and never forgot their roots.
Over the years, Mr. and Mrs. Brown supported numerous local and national organizations with their time and philanthropy. In the mid-1960's, Mr. Brown was instrumental in founding the Cumberland County Community College, where he believed that quality, affordable education, should be accessible to all. As an original founding member and Trustee of Cumberland County Community College he served as Chairman of the Board from 1972 through 1975. In 1991, he was awarded an honorary Associate of Arts degree from Cumberland County Community College. In 2008, the Shirlee and Bernard Brown University Center opened on the campus to support student life. Mr. Brown also served on the Board of Trustees at the former Newcomb Hospital and was a director and member of the Vineland YMCA. He was a Director of the Arthritis Foundation at Hahnemann University Medical Center in Philadelphia. Mr. and Mrs. Brown were also active supporters of the Vineland United Way and Jewish Federation of Cumberland County. In 2004 they joined the Department of Ophthalmology Advisory Board of the Harkness Eye Institute at Columbia University. They endowed a glaucoma research laboratory at Columbia University in 2005, and in 2007, they established the Shirlee and Bernard Brown Professorship of Glaucoma at Columbia. Later, in 2018 they established the Shirlee and Bernard Brown Glaucoma Genetics Initiative Fund at Columbia University. Mr. and Mrs. Brown established the Edward Viner Intensive Care Unit at Cooper Hospital, donated to the Humanism Center at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, and endowed a scholarship fund for the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University. In 2006 Mr. and Mrs. Brown established scholarships at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. He was the President of Beth Israel Congregation in Vineland serving two non-consecutive terms and a supporter of the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County. Mr. Brown was a thirty-second degree mason.
Bernie Brown was larger than life and an icon in the trucking industry. He was able to impact the lives of many through his hard work and generous spirit. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
Bernard A. Brown was preceded in death by his parents, Israel and Anna Brown; brother Sidney Brown; and sister Reba Shuman. He is lovingly survived by his wife Shirlee (nee. Greenblatt); children Anne Koons, Ike (Candy) Brown, Sid (Sandy) Brown, Jeff (Tracy) Brown; ten grandchildren; three great grandchildren; and niece Barbara Weinstein.
Private services were held at Beth El Synagogue in Voorhees, New Jersey and he was buried at Alliance Cemetery in Norma, New Jersey.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in the honor of Bernard A. Brown can be donated to the Cooper Foundation at Cooper Hospital, 3 Cooper Plaza, Suite 500, Camden, New Jersey, 08103 or The Cooper Medical School at Rowan University, 401 South Broadway, Camden, New Jersey, 08103.
ARRANGEMENTS are under the supervision of Rone Funeral Service, 1110 East Chestnut Avenue, Vineland, NJ 08360
To send online condolences please visit our website at www.RONEFUNERALSERVICE.com
Go to Inspection-Bulletin-2021-02-Vaccine-Transport.pdf (wildapricot.org) to view Bulletin.
FMCSA is proposing to revise the regulatory guidance concerning recording time operating a commercial motor vehicle as a ``yard move.'' This guidance applies to all commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers required to record their hours of service. The Agency requests public comments on the proposed guidance, which includes examples of properties that are and are not ``yards.'' Movements of CMVs in ``yards'' would be considered ``yard moves'' and could be recorded as on-duty not driving time rather than driving time.
PA Turnpike Reminds Motorists of Weekend Toll Increases
New TOLL BY PLATE rates now include discount for pre-registered drivers.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) reminds drivers that toll increases announced earlier this year are set to take effect Sunday Jan. 3 just after midnight. In July, the PTC approved a 6 percent toll increase for all E-ZPass rates systemwide and for the PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE rates that had been established before the March 2020 conversion to All-Electronic Tolling (AET) at these six locations:
Like previous annual toll-rate increases, this measure was primarily driven by the PA Turnpike’s annual transit payments of $450 million to PennDOT as mandated by Acts 44 of 2007 and 89 of 2013. Since 2007, the Commission has transferred $7 billion in funding to PennDOT.
Additional Increase for TOLL BY PLATE Rates
The Commission in July also approved new TOLL BY PLATE rates at all other toll facilities that were converted to AET in March. These new rates, which also take effect Jan. 3, include the 6% increase along with an additional 45% increase over the 2020 cash rate for TOLL BY PLATE motorists. The rates — which reflect the higher cost of collecting this way — will not be applied at the six toll facilities listed above.
“The new TOLL BY PLATE rates offset the higher costs the Commission incurs to process the toll, mail the invoices and collect payment — a pricing approach used by tolling agencies across the nation to cover the cost of administering AET systems,” PTC CEO Mark Compton explained. “This balanced approach allows us to maintain a lower rate for those choosing a payment method that is less costly to administer, while those who choose a pricier payment option absorb those costs.”
PTC Toll App Discount
The PTC also announced an upgrade to its tolling smartphone app. In addition to E-ZPass account management, non-E-ZPass customers will be able to use the smartphone app to create an autopay account and receive 15% savings on their monthly TOLL BY PLATE invoices. The enhanced app — called “PA Toll Pay” — will be available for Turnpike travelers Jan. 3, 2021.
“Given the significantly higher rates now associated with the TOLL BY PLATE option, we wanted to offer an alternative that would provide a measure of relief for travelers,” Compton explained.
With the PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE option, high-speed cameras capture license-plate images as vehicles pass by. The registered owner receives an invoice for trips made through the tolling point. Invoices can be paid online, by phone or by mail. Upon receipt of a TOLL BY PLATE invoice, recipients also have an option to open an E-ZPass account and pay the lowest rate.
E-ZPass Offers Lowest Rate
“E-ZPass drivers will continue to receive the lowest toll rates across the PA Turnpike,” Compton said, “with some customers saving nearly 60% in 2021.”
Starting Jan. 3, the most common toll for a passenger vehicle will increase from $1.50 to $1.60 for E-ZPass customers and from $2.50 to $3.90 for those choosing TOLL BY PLATE. The most common toll for a Class-5 tractor trailer will increase from $12.20 to $13 for E-ZPass and from $17.30 to $26.60 for TOLL BY PLATE customers.
Compton strongly encouraged PA Turnpike travelers to switch to E-ZPass, since it is the most convenient, economical way to travel and is accepted in all neighboring states and across the eastern United States.
“Currently, 86 percent of our customers have chosen E-ZPass, with more switching every day. Now that hundreds of grocery stores in the Commonwealth offer E-ZPass, chances are you pass by at least one of them,” Compton said. “Because of our low administration and enrollment fees, and the ability to set up an automatically replenished or cash-funded E-ZPass account, there’s no reason not to get it.”
Most of PA’s top grocery chains offer E-ZPass GoPaks, including Giant Eagle, Acme, Giant Food Stores and Wegmans. In addition, travelers can pick up an E-ZPass GoPak — which includes a transponder that must be registered before it is used — at all 17 Turnpike service plazas and Pennsylvania AAA offices. To find a location nearby, visit https://www.paturnpike.com/toll/sales.aspx.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced a final rule to streamline the process for men and women interested in entering the trucking workforce. The new rule will allow states to permit a third-party skills test examiner to administer the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) skills test to applicants to whom the examiner has also provided skills training.
“During the COVID-19 public health emergency truckers have been American heroes—and the Department is committed to helping our economy by reducing unnecessary barriers for those interested in obtaining jobs in the trucking industry,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.
Federal rules previously prohibited a third-party CDL skills instructor who is also authorized by the state to administer the CDL skills test from performing both the instruction and the qualifying testing for the same CDL applicant. The final rule announced today eliminates that restriction and permits states, at their discretion, to allow qualified third-party skills trainers to also conduct the skills testing for the same individual. This new rule is designed to alleviate testing delays and eliminate needless inconvenience and expense to the CDL applicant—without compromising safety.
“Under Secretary Chao’s leadership, the Trump Administration has continued to examine ways to provide common-sense regulatory reform and help individuals seeking to enter the commercial driver industry. This new rule will provide states more flexibility during the ongoing public health emergency to test CDL applicants and allow more drivers to safely enter the industry,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Wiley Deck.
FMCSA has been focused on reducing regulatory barriers for CDL applicants. In March 2019, the agency authored a final rule streamlining the process and reducing costs to upgrade from a Class B to Class A CDL— a deregulatory action that will save eligible driver trainees and motor carriers $18 million annually.
The rule change is effective 60 days from publication in the Federal Register.
To view a copy of the final rule, visit: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/commercial-drivers-license/third-party-commercial-drivers-license-testers
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