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Overdrive Staff | December 01, 2011

Oklahoma City (19.8 percent) topped the chart for metro areas of 1 million to 2 million, as did Tulsa, Okla. (27.5 percent), for metro areas between 500,000 and 1 million.

“There are more deficient bridges in our metropolitan areas than there are McDonald’s restaurants in the entire country,” says James Corless, director of Transportation for America.

Nearly 70,000 bridges nationwide are rated “structurally deficient” and are in need of substantial repair or replacement, according to federal data. Metropolitan-area bridges carry 75 percent of the trips that are made on structurally deficient bridges, Corless says.

The Federal Highway Administra-tion estimates the backlog of potentially dangerous bridges would cost $71 billion to eliminate, while the federal outlay for bridges amounts to $5 billion a year.

— Staff reports


SHORT HAULS

FTR ASSOCIATES’ Trucking Conditions Index spiked 3.1 points in September to 9.2 but remains well below a recent peak of 13.3 in March. Any reading above 0 indicates an adequate trucking environment, with readings above 10 a sign that volumes, prices and margin are good for trucking companies. FTR says tight capacity control, modest growth in truck tonnage and falling fuel prices helped improve the trucking environment through September.

DETROIT is the new name for Daimler Trucks North America’s Detroit Diesel brand of engines. Daimler says the change, effective next March, is intended to help expand the scope of products offered and allow Detroit to offer alternate fuel and unconventional powertrain technologies. DTNA acquired Detroit Diesel in 2003.


Coalition supports more tolls

A coalition of highway construction groups in nearly a dozen states has launched a national campaign to urge Congress to allow states to impose tolls to pay for long-overdue highway improvements.

The U.S. Tolling Coalition says Congress should provide maximum flexibility to states to add tolls to any portion of their interstate or federal highways for reconstruction and rehabilitation.

“Seventeen percent of our interstates and one quarter of our nation’s bridges are structurally deficient,” says Patrick Goss, coalition co-chairman and executive director of the Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association. “With Congress struggling to find the money to meet basic maintenance needs, allowing more tolling will stretch dollars, jump-start construction projects and create new jobs.”

Under a pilot program, the U.S. Department of Transportation recently allowed Virginia to add tolls along the I-95 corridor in that state to pay for critical rehabilitation and upkeep. Missouri also has been cleared to add tolls. The U.S. Tolling Coalition wants to expand the program nationwide, which requires congressional authorization.

“What’s good for Virginia and Missouri is good for the rest of America,” says Don Shubert, coalition co-chairman and president of the Connecticut Construction Industries Association. “States are confronting accelerating pavement deterioration due to age and high traffic. As a result, American business is hurting, and we need to act now to give states the power to toll.”

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