Overdrive Staff | January 01, 2012

MINNESOTA. The state Pollution Control Agency has a Clean Diesel grant for state-based fleets that operate primarily in the state, with a focus on 2006 and older vehicles. The $350,000 grant covers EPA/CARB-certified idle reduction and emissions reduction technologies, emission upgrades and reefer re-powers. Contact Martina Cameron at (651) 757-2259.

MISSISSIPPI. Many state and municipal officials oppose for safety reasons Congressional proposals to increase heavy truck weights to 97,000 pounds from 80,000. The American Trucking Associations and Truckload Carriers Association support the increase.

OREGON/WASHINGTON. Plans to replace the aging Interstate 5 Columbia River Crossing Bridges and build an interstate transit link have advanced. Final clearance was given to the project’s environmental review that allows Oregon and Washington to begin right-of-way acquisition and construction.

WASHINGTON. The State Patrol’s Commercial Vehicle Division is using a new tool to track compliance. The State Department of Transportation has installed automated cameras at 12 weigh stations and ports of entry that take a picture of the truck and license plate. Troopers can check the time the truck crossed the locations and compare it to the truck driver’s log book.

WEST VIRGINIA. A new online service from the state Division of Motor Vehicles makes it easier to obtain permits. Trucking companies with vehicles not registered in the state must obtain trip permits for temporary travel at the IRP/IFTA section of the department’s website. Truckers can obtain a single-trip permit by entering information and paying by credit card.

WISCONSIN. A new law allows the state Department of Transportation to issue overweight permits up to 90,000 pounds for sealed containers hauled by trucks with six or more axles. The permit would apply for produce and livestock hauls to or from a field or farm.

FTR: Hours rule delay postpones ‘crisis’

Trucking is experiencing a normal recovery from the recession and should be able to impose rate increases of 6 percent to 8 percent, including fuel, in 2012, economist Noel Perry said at an FTR Associates online seminar Dec. 8.

Trucking will not be able to restore quickly the driver and truck capacity it lost during the recession, said Perry, an FTR senior consultant.

He said the “capacity crisis” he forecast for 2011 will be pushed back to this year because of the delay in revising the hours of service rule, which was expected to be released in late December. By late 2012, the industry likely will be dealing with that impact and the effects of slow economic recovery.

Perry said only now is the industry recovering from the recession. Freight transportation is growing almost as fast as the gross domestic product and has recovered about 41 percent of tonnage hauled before the recession. He doesn’t expect a complete recovery until the end of this decade, perhaps sooner. He’s forecasting economic growth of 2.5 percent to 3 percent next year.

One growing niche is in serving those doing hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and oil wells. Trucks haul water and sand to these often remote exploration sites. “Short-term it’s a big bonanza for trucking,” Perry said.

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