Overdrive Staff | April 01, 2010

IdleAire could restart

Tennessee-based IdleAire made a brief announcement on its website that a new group is working to restart the truck shore power provider, but provided no details. A company official did not respond to requests for more information. IdleAire, the major provider of shore power, closed Jan. 29 after its investment owners of the previous 18 months did not find a buyer.

Truck-only toll lanes set for Florida

Workers are scheduled to begin building a series of ramps linking Florida’s I-4 and Selmon Crosstown Expressway, which will include dedicated ramps for trucks working the Port of Tampa.

John McShaffrey, a spokesman with the Florida Department of Transportation, described the project as a one-mile elevated interchange between the two highways. “I am not sure if this will be the first truck-only toll lanes in the U.S.,” McShaffrey said.

Truckers using dedicated truck lanes will pay $1.

The FDOT is managing construction of the project, which is expected to be built by summer 2013.

The $3.89 million project is funded through federal and state fuel tax revenues, future toll revenues and federal stimulus funds. Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise will handle the tolling, which will be electronic open road tolling through SunPass and Toll-by-Plate tolling, the process in which a vehicle’s license plate is photographed to identify the driver responsible for payment.

— Jill Dunn

Short Hauls

NAFTA TRADE using surface transportation was 10.5 percent higher in December 2009 than in December 2008, with a value of $58.5 billion, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation. It was the first year-over-year increase since September 2008, though the value of trade in December still remained 4 percent below the value in December 2007.

FOR-HIRE TRUCKING jobs declined 4,300 in February from January, according to revised seasonally adjusted figures from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. For-hire trucking employment in February was down nearly 81,000, or 6.2 percent, from February 2009.

FTR ASSOCIATES forecasts marginal gains at best for Class 8 truck demand in 2010. While demand for freight appears to be improving and expected GDP growth for 2010 is edging higher, the combination of excess capacity and the impact of the new emissions mandate will hold Class 8 equipment demand this year essentially flat compared to 2009, the transportation research firm said.

JANUARY NET ORDERS for Class 5-8 trucks dropped 18 percent from January 2009, after a December buying flurry ahead of the 2010 emissions mandate, according to ACT Research. January orders fell to 6,513 units, the firm announced. ACT said stronger orders at year-end to beat the 2010 deadline pushed production into January, so North American Class 8 production was only 3 percent below January 2009.

Driver status key to port suit

The American Trucking Associations is challenging the driver classification program implemented by the Port of Los Angeles.

The Port of Los Angeles and the American Trucking Associations will face off in a civil suit in federal court beginning April 20 over driver classification aspects of the port’s drayage emissions program.

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