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Overdrive Staff | December 01, 2010

Group recommends fuel tax rise

A federal panel recommends a gradual increase in the fuel tax to feed the Highway Trust Fund and pay for transportation spending.

The White House commission on fiscal reform and deficit reduction is recommending a 15-cent increase in the federal fuel tax.

The bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, created by President Obama, was charged with identifying policies to improve the government’s fiscal situation. It proposes to raise the fuel tax gradually by 15 cents beginning in 2013. That money would be dedicated toward financing the transportation trust funds, eliminating the need for further general fund bailouts, according to the report.

U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio) urged the commission to consider a 25-cent fuel tax increase. They suggested that 15 cents go toward the Highway Trust Fund and the other 10 cents temporarily be applied to national debt reduction. The federal fuel tax hasn’t been increased since the early 1990s.

The commission’s draft proposal is part of a proposed final report, due by Dec. 1. It requires the approval of at least 14 of the 18 members of the commission, which is chaired by Alan Simpson, former Republican senator from Wyoming, and Erskine Bowles, former chief of staff to President Clinton.

The commission was created in February and tasked with proposing recommendations designed to balance the budget, excluding interest payments on the debt, by 2015.

— Staff reports



FMCSA adjusts CSA cargo scoring

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced it planned to withhold carrier scores in the Cargo-Related Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) from public view when the Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 Safety Measurement System becomes fully operational in early December.

CSA 2010 goes into effect nationwide this month. Read our online guide to have all your questions answered: CSAdrivers-Handbook.com.

FMCSA is recalibrating the cargo securement violation severity weightings. The decision to withhold percentile ranking and intervention status stemmed from a need to make certain that the weightings were appropriately identifying carriers with safety risks. Industry groups have protested that this BASIC unfairly elevated exposure and targeted specific segments, namely flatbed carriers.

FMCSA is also analyzing the impact on the different industry segments of a carrier’s exposure in this BASIC. During this analysis period, the BASIC results will continue to be used for intervention prioritization by enforcement personnel. Accordingly, percentile rankings and intervention status will be accessible to the FMCSA enforcement community and motor carriers only.

— Staff reports






SHORT HAULS

AVERAGE USED TRUCK prices increased 3 percent from August to $42,100 in September, ACT Research said. ACT also reported the number of units sold declined by 5 percent during the same period. Dealers reported a tighter supply of late-model equipment.

THE FOR-HIRE TRUCK TONNAGE INDEX, seasonally adjusted, increased 1.7 percent in September. The American Trucking Associations compiles the index.

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