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Transportation News Bulletins - LTL and TL

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Government Launches Distracted Driving Web Site
Wednesday, 30 December 2009 00:00

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched a new web site devoted to distracted driving at http://www.distraction.gov.

The web site lists news releases related to distracted driving, state laws related to distracted driving, statistics and facts, frequently asked questions, research, and a section for reporters. You also can watch a 30-second public service announcement about distracted driving.

In 2008, 5,870 people in the U.S. were killed in crashes involving driver distractions such as texting, cell phone use, eating and drinking.

TruckingInfo.com, 12/30/2009

 
Diesel Notches First Gain in 2 Months, Rising 0.6ยข to $2.732
Tuesday, 29 December 2009 00:00
Gasoline Rises 1.8¢ to $2.607

Diesel rose for the first time in eight weeks, gaining 0.6 cent to $2.732 a gallon, the Department of Energy reported Monday.

Trucking‘s main fuel had fallen 8.2 cents in seven straight weeks of declines before Monday‘s uptick.

The last increase was a 0.7-cent gain on Nov. 2, when it topped out at a 2009 high of $2.808 a gallon. Diesel is now 40.5 cents higher than the same week last year, according to DOE figures.

Gasoline, meanwhile, rose 1.8 cents to $2.607 a gallon, DOE said following its weekly survey of filling stations.

It was the first gain in three weeks, as gas has fluctuated up and down over the past several months in the $2.60‘s range.

Oil prices rose 72 cents to close the New York Mercantile Exchange trading day at a one-month high of $78.77 a barrel Monday, Bloomberg reported.

Each week, DOE surveys about 350 diesel filling stations to compile a national snapshot average price.

Transport Topics, 12/29/2009

 
Senate Tables Biodiesel Tax Credit Extension Beyond Expiration Date
Monday, 28 December 2009 00:00

The Senate has decided to table the consideration of an extension to the biodiesel tax credit until early next year, a move that has biodiesel producers up in arms, as the current tax credit expires Dec. 31. Some say the delay would force biodiesel producers to cease operations and lay off their workers because consumer demand for the fuel would plunge without the credit.

"Our members want to support green initiatives," said Lisa Mullings, president and CEO of NATSO, a national trade association representing travel plaza and truckstop owners and operators. "But they are concerned that if they make the investment in biodiesel fueling infrastructure and the tax credit isn't renewed they won't be able to sell the biodiesel because of the price disparity between biodiesel and other fuels."

Earlier this month, the House of Representatives passed a one-year extension of the current $1 per gallon tax blender credit for biodiesel. The biodiesel tax credit, which is part of the "extenders" package known as H.R. 4213, includes $5 billion in individual tax relief, $17 billion in business tax relief, $1.2 billion to encourage charitable giving, $2.6 billion for disaster tax relief provisions and more than $1 billion to extend expiring energy tax provisions.

But the Senate is tied up with other priorities, especially the health care debate. Sens. Max Baucus, DMont., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, say they will take up the legislation when Congress reconvenes at the first of the year.

"The tax credit is essential in maintaining the competiveness of this clean-burning, domestically produced green fuel," said Grassley, in a floor statement. "The tax credit exists to offset the higher cost of producing biodiesel compared to petroleum diesel.

"Without an extension of the tax credit, all U.S. biodiesel production will grind to a halt. Plants will be shuddered, and workers will be let go. No one should be surprised by the upcoming expiration of this tax credit."

In a recent National Biodiesel Board study examining the economic impact of the biodiesel industry and the consequences of allowing the tax credit to lapse, the NBB concluded that the delay would have negative impacts on the biodiesel industry. The NBB says that without the incentive, the industry would experience a major loss of jobs and income; increased demand for petroleum diesel; a degradation of energy security; decreased demand for soybean oil and lower soybean prices leading to a negative impact on farm income; stranded investment as biodiesel capacity is idled; and lost tax revenue for states and local governments.

"Since it was enacted in 2004, the biodiesel tax incentive has allowed the nation to reap the economic, energy security and environmental benefits associated with commercial scale production and use of biodiesel," said Manning Feraci, vice president of federal affairs for the NBB. "Allowing the credit to lapse will compound the already daunting challenges facing the industry and will cost the nation another 23,000 jobs in addition to the 29,000 jobs that were shed in 2009."

TruckingInfo.com, 12/28/2009

 
Nov. Trailer Orders Up From 2008 Amid Modest Cancellations
Monday, 28 December 2009 00:00

While November net orders for commercial trailers were down 27 percent from October, orders were up 73 percent from a year ago, a reflection of modest order cancellations this year, according to ACT Research.

This year's cancellations were minimal compared to the large number of cancellations last year, during the initial phase of the financial crisis. In the latest release of ACT's State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers, ACT found that dry and reefer vans had a strong month, with each posting triple-digit gains from November 2008.

"While we were happy to see the above trend orders in October, our sense was that given the continued oversupply of equipment and relative lack of freight, the jump in orders was unsustainable," said Kenny Vieth, partner and senior analyst with ACT Research. "On a more positive note, factory shipments remained above production levels, reducing inventories to a four-year low."

Transport Topics, 12/28/2009

 
Recovery Act Funds 10,000th Highway Project
Monday, 28 December 2009 00:00
FHWA caps year with $21.8 billion committed to work on infrastructure

The Federal Highway Administration passed a milestone in December when it approved its 10,000th highway project funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which Congress passed in February.

"What better way to cap off the year than with 10,000 highway and bridge projects putting people back to work, strengthening the economy, and making travel safer for everyone," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Of the $26.6 billion available for highway projects through the Recovery Act, $21.8 billion has been obligated to 10,000 projects nationwide, of which 6,092 highway projects are underway. This money is helping employ tens of thousands of men and women and significantly improving more than 27,000 miles of roads and bridges, DOT said.

DOT said it also approved 1,300 transportation projects for infrastructure other than highways and bridges. They are worth another $11.3 billion.

"Highway projects are moving forward across the country," said FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez. "Thanks to the Recovery Act, drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists will see significantly improved roadways in 2010."

Construction on the Caldecott Tunnel in San Francisco, one of the largest projects, is set to start in early January. The $257 million project will receive $192.4 million in ARRA funds.

Other major projects include widening I-215 in San Bernardino, Calif., and I-405 in Los Angeles. Reconstruction of the US19/SR 55 Interchange in Clearwater, Fla. began in early December and is planned for completion in July 2014 at a cost of $109 million.

DOT said it has approved more than 11,300 transportation projects, worth $32.1 billion in Recovery Act funding, of which 7,600 projects are currently underway. In January, DOT will announce $8 billion in grants for passenger rail projects and $1.5 billion under the TIGER Discretionary Grants program, some of which will be targeted at ports.

The Journal of Commerce Online, 12/28/2009

 
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