Government Affairs

Call to Action: Submit Comments on Hours of Service Regs

Last spring, ACPA’s Hours of Service Task Force crafted and submitted a request for an exemption from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) driver hours of service (HoS) requirements.  ACPA’s petition seeks exemption for the concrete paving industry from:

  1. The 30-minute break requirement ( 49 C.F.R. § 395), and
  2. The 12 hour daily on-duty limit on the short-haul exception ( 49 C.F.R. § 395.3(a)(3)(ii)).

FMCSA has published the ACPA request for exemption in the Federal Register ( 83 Fed. Reg. 45300).  We urge ACPA members to file comments to the docket in support of the petition no later Saturday, October 6, 2018. Because well-argued, original letters in support of the petition will be more effective than inundating the agency with identical form letters, ACPA suggests building on the talking points below when drafting your comments. Your letter should be on your company letterhead and in your own words.

  • Click here  if you are ready to submit comments now.
  • Click here for suggested points to include with your comments on this very important and timely topic.

If you have any questions or need additional information about this request for comment, please contact Leif Wathne (lwathne@acpa.org).

Suggested Points to Consider for Hours of Service Comments

Here are some additional recommendations to consider when posting your comments:

  • Note your support for Docket ID No. FMCSA–2018–0237;
  • Describe your company’s history/type of activities associated with trucking and continued vigilance on safe trucking operations; and

Identify how current HoS regulations adversely impact timely completion of concrete paving projects. The petition seeks relief from 30-minute rest break and 12-hour on-duty limit.

To support these exemptions:

  • Note that concrete pavement mixtures are highly perishable and must be delivered within a certain time frame to meet DOT specifications;
  • Mention if you typically use central mix plants, which are typically located within 3 to 10 miles of a paving site due to the perishability of the product.
  • Note that while the vehicles transporting the wet batch concrete are making trips from the plant to the paver throughout the paving day, a substantial amount of that time is spent waiting to load or unload.
  • Mention drivers are tasked with performing a pre-trip and post-trip inspection and washing out the vehicle throughout the day, and as a result drivers typically operate their vehicles less than 50% of their on duty hours, and only within a very narrow radius of a few miles.
  • Include any other information that might be helpful based on your experiences with drivers, whether your own or contracted companies.

In closing, please note that drivers of ready-mixed concrete trucks (outfitted with rotating mixer drums) and drivers engaged in the transportation of asphalt and related materials and equipment, both currently benefit from these exemptions, and that, due to similarities in the driving and trucking assets associated with concrete and asphalt, it is logical for drivers to follow the same HoS regulations regardless of material carried.

  • Click here if you are ready to submit comments now.
  • Click here to return to our Call to Action page.

If you have any questions or need additional information about this request for comment, please contact Leif Wathne (lwathne@acpa.org).

Closer Look at AASHTO Highway Funding Policy

At its recent annual meeting, AASHTO approved several policy statements.   Of particular interest to ACPA si the policy on highway funding, which reads:

“Congress must act promptly to ensure the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund in order to prevent significant planning and construction disruptions to highway and transit projects, to provide stable cash reimbursements to states for costs already incurred, and to ensure and enhance many national benefits of the federal surface transportation program including jobs, economic competitiveness, safety, personal mobility and quality of life.” This policy is very much aligned with ACPA’s posture on the topic.

ACPA Stands Firmly in Support of California’s SB 1

In April 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed The Road Repair and Accountability Act (SB-1) into law.  Now a measure known as Proposition 6 is aimed at repealing the law, which many experts see as a major threat to the state’s infrastructure and the state’s economic development goals.

“The American Concrete Pavement Association supports SB 1 and is strongly is opposed to Proposition 6 or any effort to repeal this much-needed legislation,” says Jim Mack, P.E., Vice Chairman of ACPA and Director of Market Development for CEMEX.

“For too long, state highway agencies have had to do more with less, meaning they stretched their limited resources, which often were not sufficient enough to invest in highway reconstruction or strategic expansion to meet population growth, as well as increased traffic,” he says. 

“With the passage of SB 1, California has the opportunity to invest in congested and crumbling highways and bridges that are in poor condition.  In doing so, the state can also address traffic congestion, which reduces wasted fuel, improves air quality and other such issues,” Mack says.  “Equally important, SB 1 gives the state the opportunity to provide tangible, long-term economic benefits to citizens throughout the state.”

He cited research by The American Road & Transportation Builders Association[1] that indicates SB 1 will generate significant, long-term economic activity and infrastructure-user benefits, while also helping create tens of thousands of new jobs.

“ARTBA’s research indicates SB 1 will generate almost $183 billion in economic activity and user benefits throughout all sectors of the state’s economy over the next 10 years,” Mack said.   

Mack also says SB 1 is a positive example of what states can do when lawmakers recognize the value of infrastructure investment, “California has already shown early successes that demonstrate the significant and positive impact of SB 1.  If this investment program is repealed, it risks sending a negative signal to other states planning to invest in their highways and other infrastructure.”

The Editorial Board of the LOS ANGELES TIMES[2], warned against the damage wrought by a repeal: “Too many roads are potholed and crumbling. Too many bridges could collapse in the next big earthquake. Too many Californians are stuck for hours in traffic without the option of a train, bus or bike.”

The editorial board says, “The logical way to fund these critical transportation improvements is the way California, and the federal government, have always done it: through ‘user fees.'”  This is a position ACPA and many highway advocates have supported, too.

Mack, echoing the editorial board says, “Delaying the needed improvement now only makes the problem more expensive later on and the system more dangerous,” and strongly urges voters to, “Take the responsible road and vote NO on Proposition 6.”

____________________________________________________ 
[1] Reported by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, August 3, 2018. https://aashtojournal.org/2018/08/03/artba-issues-analysis-that-supports-keeping-californias-road-funding-law-in-place/

[2] “It’s hard to overstate how destructive Proposition 6 would be for California. Vote no.” Opinion by the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board, September 22, 2018. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-endorsement-proposition-6-20180922-story.html

 

ACPA Presents Comments to Transportation Board

Leif Wathne and Ray Seipp participated in the two-day Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) meeting last week in Winchester Virginia.  Wathne was one of several transportation experts who presented comments on a wide range of topics, including policy issues and programmatic matters. 

Wathne’s comments centered on inter-industry competition, which ACPA has discussed in many forums with industry and public sector officials. Wathne explained that MIT, at the urging of industry, undertook a comprehensive multivariate analysis of DOT bid pricing, covering a 10-year span and 298,000 pay items from 47 state DOTs.  

“The results clearly show that increasing competition between paving material industries lower paving costs for both asphalt and concrete jobs and is likely to result in significant savings for DOT’s and taxpayers,” Wathne said.  

He cited recent discusssions with VDOT staff about how to better capitalize on competition and thanked VDOT Chief Engineer Garrett Moore and the Department for their earnest engagement in these discussions.  

“We are encouraged by VDOT’s interest in ways to extend the reach of Virginia’s paving dollars, however, we urge the Commonwealth Transportation Board to reinforce VDOT’s commitment to this significant opportunity,” he said, emphasizing, “This is not about one product being better than the other; it’s about providing the best value.” 

As he concluded his remarks, he said, “There are no engineering reasons why concrete pavement cannot be part of any agency’s program, including VDOT’s.”  He also noted concrete pavement is used successfully in several neighboring states, as well as throughout the United States.

Click here to view Wathne’s comments online. (His comments start at marker: 1:01:20) 

 

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