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Overdrive Staff | October 01, 2011

President Obama Sept. 16 signed legislation that extends taxes funding federal highway spending through March and the Federal Aviation Administration through January.

The Surface and Air Transportation Programs Extension Act of 2011 (H.R. 2887) resulted from an agreement between House and Senate leaders and was seen as a high priority because both federal highway and FAA funding was due to expire.

The American Trucking Associations said that while a jobs proposal announced by Obama in September could boost employment temporarily, it is no replacement for passing long-overdue multiyear transportation legislation.

ATA President Bill Graves said that while the $27.5 billion in Obama’s jobs proposal would help the nation’s economy by funding needed repairs and expansion of roads and bridges, it doesn’t solve the real problem.

Graves also said ATA was skeptical of the president’s plans for an infrastructure bank and for using increases in other taxes to pay for roads and bridges and other programs in the jobs bill.

— Staff reports



SHORT HAULS

TRADE USING SURFACE TRANSPORTATION between the United States and Canada and Mexico rose 11 percent in June over a year earlier to $ 77.5 billion, the U.S. Department of Transportation says.

A WEIGHT-LOSS CONTEST aimed at truck drivers and other trucking industry workers is being sponsored by the Truckload Carriers Association, which is partnering with Lindora Clinic. Prizes will be awarded to the fleet and individual achieving the greatest percentages of weight loss. Further information is available at Truckload.org.

NICHOLAS LEWIS, a driver for Swift Transportation, is a Truckload Carriers Association Highway Angel. On July 31, Lewis was driving through a construction zone on I-70 in Lawrence, Kan., when a car attempted to pass him along the shoulder of the highway. When the shoulder ended, the driver swerved in front of Lewis, who steered into a ditch to avoid a collision. Lewis and his truck were OK.


TOLLS HAVE INCREASED and will go higher on bridges and tunnels managed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The toll for E-ZPass customers during peak hours rose from $40 to $50 for a five-axle truck and will increase another $2 an axle each December from 2012 through 2015. Cash customers pay a penalty of $3 per axle. The tolls apply to eastbound crossings. The E-ZPass overnight fee remains at $27.50 and the overnight window is expanded to 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

CLASS 3-8 used truck sales fell 10 percent in July, due in part to lack of inventory, says ACT Research Co. Total commercial trailer net orders declined 2 percent in July from June.

TRUCKING ACTIVITY as measured by the American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 1.3 percent in July from June. The July index was 3.9 percent higher than a year earlier, ATA reported.

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