DeFazio says the only workable solution to the current gridlock on the issue is to renegotiate the section of NAFTA that requires a commitment to liberalize cross-border trucking.
“Mexico’s regulatory standards and enforcement on trucks aren’t even remotely equivalent to what we have here,” said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. “To open the border at this time is insanity from both an economic standpoint and safety.”
LaHood and his Mexican counterpart met April 12 in Monterrey, Mexico, to discuss a broad range of transportation issues, including the next steps of the cross-border trucking program. The countries agreed to establish a working group to consider the cross-border trucking program.
— Staff reports
Feds reject Pennsylvania I-80 tolling
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said he will call the General Assembly together at an unspecified time to address transportation funding after federal officials rejected the state’s application to toll Interstate 80.
A Rendell spokesman said the Federal Highway Administration rejected the state’s application because “their interpretation is that it would be using funds from tolls for other projects other than I-80,” such as transit projects.
The Legislature passed Act 44 in 2007, which called for I-80 tolling and additional revenue from the Pennsylvania Turnpike to fund road work and public transit agencies across the state.
— Jill Dunn
Forecast: Driver shortage looming
Beginning this year and continuing into 2012, there will be a shortage of truck drivers, the result of a modestly growing economy and tighter government regulation of drivers. In turn, the shortage will create trucking capacity problems.
That was the forecast Noel Perry, managing director and senior consultant at FTR Associates, presented April 8 at an FTR online freight outlook seminar.
Perry noted carriers have cut overhead by removing trucks from service and laying off drivers, and have been slow to restore it. “It’s almost certain that as the marketplace expands, even slowly as we’re forecasting, there will be a driver shortage,” Perry said. “If there’s a driver shortage, that means there’s a truck shortage.”
Perry estimated the driver shortage could be close to 200,000 this year and could grow to about 400,000 in 2011 and 2012. The economist forecast trucking growth of 4 to 6 percent over the next three years, a good growth rate compared with average figures for the last 30 years but conservative when measured against previous upturns, during which growth in some quarters reached 10 percent or better.