Trucking news & briefs for August 3, 2020:
OOIDA asks Congress to suspend HVUT collection for 1 year as pandemic relief
With the American Truck Dealers group and a bevy of other industry stakeholders urging a suspension of the federal excise tax on heavy trucks to offer relief for a variety of businesses from manufacturers and dealers to trucking companies and owner-operators, a new letter to congressional leadership from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has urged lawmakers to consider what might amount to a “much more immediate and equitable” source of relief for all trucking business owners. OOIDA proposed a suspension of the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax, most commonly $550 annually for a Class 8 over-the-road truck, for one year.
“While some trucking operations have been able to qualify for pandemic assistance” through SBA-led loan programs, wrote OOIDA President & CEO Todd Spencer, “many others have not been able to for one reason or another. Suspending the HVUT would bypass the complications of these programs and provide a simple way to make sure that all truckers get relief.”
Senate and House of Representatives leaders continue to debate various items that could make up yet another relief/stimulus package, following the House’s passage of a May package worth about $3 trillion. The legislative bodies have disagreed on some provisions, such as the extension of pandemic unemployment assistance benefits, which expired after Friday, July 31.
Trucking radio legend ‘Midnight Cowboy’ Bill Mack passes away
I’m deeply saddened to tell you that my Dad passed away early this morning due to COVID-19 with underlying conditions….
Bill Mack, known to listeners of his country music show as the Midnight Cowboy, died Friday, July 31. He was 91.
His son, Billy Mack Smith posted on Facebook that his father died of “COVID-19 with underlying conditions.”
Starting in 1969, Mack rose to fame, especially with truckers, as a disc jockey on WBAP-AM in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. His program was known first as The Country Roads Show, then the U.S. 1 Trucking Show and later still as The Midnight Cowboy Trucking Show. Mack eventually joined what would become the satellite broadcaster SiriusXM, having a show there until 2011.
Mack also had a varied career in country music as a performer, songwriter and concert promoter. He is credited with launching the career of a then-teenaged LeAnn Rimes. She recorded his song, “Blue,” when she was just 13. It won her the Grammys for Best Country Female Vocal Performance and Best New Artist. And, the song won Mack the Grammy for Best Country Song.
Mack is survived by his wife, Cynthia and three children: Misty Dawn, Billy Mack III, and Sunday Renee. They had several grandchildren. He also had a daughter named Debbie from a previous marriage.
U.S. 51 Ohio River ‘Cairo’ bridge closed through approximately Aug. 31
The U.S. 51 bridge over the Ohio River between Cairo, Illinois, and Wickliffe, Kentucky, is closed now through approximately Aug. 31.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet closed the bridge Saturday, Aug. 1. It will remain closed for up to 30 days to allow extensive maintenance work along a nearly two-mile section of the Kentucky approach levee.
The normal five-mile drive from Wickliffe to Cairo is now an 80-mile detour via the I-24 Ohio River Bridge in Paducah. Motorists and truckers are advised to self-detour via the I-24 Ohio River Bridge at Paducah to U.S. 45 North at Metropolis, Illinois, then take Illinois Route 169 through Karnak to Illinois Route 37 South to Cairo, or to connect to I-57 into Missouri. Drivers at Cairo will reverse that route.
“We carefully considered about a half-dozen options for completing both the bridge work and the levee work this construction season,” said KYTC District 1 Chief Engineer Kyle Poat. “We looked at overnight closures and weekend closures. Those options did not allow enough construction time for completion of the work this year. This 30-day closure, while creating a temporary hardship, gets the work completed and the bridge reopened to one-lane traffic in the shortest possible time.”
KYTC says the bridge carriers approximately 7,000 vehicles a day between Kentucky and Illinois, with nearly a third of that traffic being commercial trucks hauling wheat, soybeans and corn to nearby grain handling facilities.