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Trucker shot after ‘road rage’ incident along I-64 in Floyd County

Posted on : 07-06-2009 | By : Truckdriversnews | In : Thoughts from a trucker, truck driver Industry

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A truck driver was taken to University Hospital in Louisville after being shot late Friday night.

Floyd County Police officers were dispatched around 11:20 p.m. to Interstate 64 westbound, near the 116.5 mile marker in reference to a person on the ground in front of a tractor trailer on the shoulder of the interstate.

As officers were en route, they received word that the person on the ground was the driver of the tractor trailer and had been shot.

The driver of the tractor trailer, who’s name has not been released by police, states that he was traveling westbound on I-64 when he was involved in a “road rage” incident with another motorist who was driving a 1990 or 1991 white Ford Thunderbird.

The truck driver states that he pulled to the shoulder of the road on 1-64 west at the Georgetown exit and that the other vehicle pulled in front of his truck. Both drivers and the passenger of the car exited their vehicles and began to argue at which time someone drew a pistol. Two shots were fired which injured the driver of the tractor trailer who was later treated and later released at University Hospital. The occupants of the passenger car left the area prior to officer’s arrival and are at-large.

The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone who may have witnessed suspicious activity in the area of I-64 westbound near the 116.5 mile marker on or around the date and time in question is urged to call Detective Jeff Firkins with the Floyd County Police Department at 8Ǭ-948-5407.
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Pennsylvania to re-apply to toll I-80

Posted on : 07-06-2009 | By : Truckdriversnews | In : Thoughts from a trucker, truck driver Industry

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Allen Biehler, chairman of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and secretary of transportation says the state will reapply to the feds to get permission to toll I-80. Biehler said this at a meeting of the state House Democratic Policy Committee May 26 according to an account circulated by legislative staffers. Last September 11 the USDOT rejected a application under the Interstate System Reconstruction and Rehabilitation pilot program (ISRRPP) saying the payments proposed to the state by the Turnpike for the lease of I-80 weren’t related to its costs or value. (see key passages reproduced nearby)

The account of the meeting this week says: “Rep. Santoni asked Secretary Biehler to explain where the state is in regards to the I-80 Tolling plan. Secretary Biehler responded that the federal government did not accept the original application to begin tolling the interstate, and that a meeting is set up with the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) to understand the issues of tolling I-80.’ The secretary also explained that Act 44 provides a mandate for tolling, and that the state will reapply for permission to toll I-80.”

Biehler said that failure to toll I-80 would lead to a severe reduction in funding for roads around the state because PennDOT would lose $450m to $500m a year.

“He told the committee that the department will have no choice but to reduce the money available for maintenance and capacity improvements,” the report says.

Carson provides numbers

Turnpike commission vice-chair Timothy Carson said that the “public-public partnership” on I-80 is due to provide $83.3 billion to the state DOT over its 50 year term. It has provided $1.6 billion to PennDOT since Act 44 became law in July 2007.

2007 to 2010 the total will reach $2.5 billion. Carson said Act 44 has already supplied more funding than Pennsylvania’s share of federal stimulus funds.”

If I-80 is not tolled, he says, the state will lose nearly $60b over 50 years – $23.6b vs $83.3b. He tells us in an email:

“The almost-$60 B delta is roughly split $36 B forgone from highways and bridges and $24 B from mass transit. I hasten to add that one should not interpret that delta as a quantification of the extent the I-80 Corridor is being ‘raped and pillaged’ if tolling occurs. Instead, it evidences how much less efficient the Act 44 revenue-generating machine is if a non-tolled I-Ȱ remains as a diversion option for east-west travelers as tolls on our existing system are increased.” ADDITION 2009-05-29 12:00

Lower construction costs exploited

CEO Joe Brimmeier told the committee that the Turnpike Commission is taking advantage of depressed pricing of construction contracts by companies hungry for work. Two recent projects were bid 20% below estimates.

Why Bush officials rejected I-80 tolling

Quite separately a former Bush administration USDOT official told us this week it was his opinion that they could have approved the Turnpike/PennDOT application to toll I-80 if it had been cast in terms of the surplus being a fair rate of return on the fair market value of PA/I-80 as a toll concession.

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Big ideas: Charge tolls on Pennsylvania’s interstates

Posted on : 07-06-2009 | By : Truckdriversnews | In : Thoughts from a trucker, truck driver Industry

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REVENUE POTENTIAL
$2 billion to $3 billion, estimate by Peter Samuel, editor of Tollroadsnews.com

PROS
- Highways are already in place and installation of infrastructure would be relatively inexpensive
- Tolls could be tailored to traffic levels and local conditions
- People would be paying for a “service” based on the amount they used it

CONS
- May not be possible to sell, politically, in Pennsylvania
- Would require extensive federal approvals or cooperation
- Could cause drivers to re-route their trips to avoid tolls

Some see the Pennsylvania road map as a Pennsylvania cash map.

One potential vein of cash drops down the state’s western flank, from Erie to the West Virginia border. Another squiggles east-west across the northern heartland for 311 miles. Another runs from Harrisburg to the Maryland border for 51 miles.

They are Pennsylvania’s interstate highways — in these examples, numbers 79, 80, and ȳ — and some people think the state could solve a fiscal riddle by fitting them with toll booths.

In April, Gov. Ed Rendell told the editorial board of The Patriot-News that he hoped the federal government would give “wide latitude” to install tolls on highways. “Now that doesn’t mean, necessarily, that I-80 gets tolled,” he said, referring to an earlier, ultimately unsuccessful proposal to toll that major east-west highway. “It may mean that we put some modest toll on every federal road.”

Another backer of expanded tolling, longtime state Sen. J. Barry Stout, D-Washington, said the crisis in highway maintenance funding cries out for a new approach. “It is not realistic to put your head in the sand and say, ‘I want good roads and I want good bridges, but I don’t want to pay for them,’” said Stout, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.

Tolling highways would generate revenue to cover the hundreds of millions of dollars spent each year to maintain the aging interstate system. That money, in turn, could be used elsewhere.

How much money could be raised by a toll system?

Estimates are hard to come by. But Peter Samuel, a Maryland journalist who has written about toll roads for 15 years, guessed the annual take could be between $2 billion to $3 billion. The concept would be tough to bring to fruition, Samuel said. People feel they have already paid for interstate highways with their taxes.

The volatility of the subject was evident in the past two years in the heated debate that came after the state Legislature and Rendell approved a plan to put tolls on I-80.

The Federal Highway Administration ultimately rejected the concept. Recently, a new bill for I-80 tolls was introduced. “The trucking industry is very mobilized against the idea,” said Robert Poole, director of transportation policy for the Reason Foundation, a Los Angeles think tank. “They have a lot of friends in Congress who would agree with them on that.”

Driving the debate is a growing crisis in transportation infrastructure maintenance.

Stout said the interstate system is 50 to 60 years old and is wearing out. PennDOT, he said, is spending $ጤ million a year just to maintain I-80 alone — and its 311-mile length is only about one-sixth of the 1,700-plus miles of interstate highways in Pennsylvania.
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Safety Milestone of 5 Million Accident-Free Miles

Posted on : 06-06-2009 | By : Truckdriversnews | In : Thoughts from a trucker, truck driver Industry

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Professional driver Arthur Cage has achieved the elite status of driving 5 million accident-free miles, making him the only driver in the history of the company to achieve this accomplishment.

Mr. Cage, 62, has driven for Roadway (a YRC heritage brand) for 35 years. He is a linehaul driver working out of the service center in Memphis, Tenn. In a typical week, Mr. Cage makes three trips from Memphis to Houston, driving 1검 miles each round trip.

“Arthur Cage is truly a leader and sets the highest standard of safety and professionalism with every mile that he drives,” said Mike Smid, president of YRC National Transportation. “He exemplifies the engagement and pride essential to make our highways safe while meeting our customers’ needs.”

Driving 5 million miles without a preventable accident is an amazing safety accomplishment. It is equal to 10 round trips to the moon and back (238,857 miles each way) and is the equivalent of driving 909 round trips between Los Angeles and New York City.

Mr. Cage was recognized for his achievement at a safety celebration at the YRC service center in Memphis. He was honored with a police escort the last few miles into the service center, and was joined there by family, friends and fellow employees. Mr. Cage was presented a new Roadway tractor with his name and safety accomplishment emblazoned on the side. The tractor will be his to drive exclusively during the remainder of his career with YRC. Also at the celebration, a custom-designed trailer decorated with Mr. Cage’s name, photo and safety accomplishment was unveiled. This trailer will be dedicated to the city operation in Memphis.

“Arthur has demonstrated a strong commitment to safety and customer service, going above and beyond to meet customer expectations,” said Darrin Washington, director of regional operations in Memphis. “We congratulate Arthur and look forward to his next million safe miles.”
Thanks @k4kev4 for pointing this out to me..
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3,500 pounds of marijuana found in truck

Posted on : 06-06-2009 | By : Truckdriversnews | In : Thoughts from a trucker, cross border trucking plan, truck driver Industry

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West Covina police, working with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, seized about 3,500 pounds of Mexican marijuana Friday hidden in camouflaged crates in a tractor-trailer, authorities said.

The pot, with an estimated street price of more than $10 million, was discovered in an industrial area in Cerritos shortly after 8 a.m., West Covina police Lt. Paul LaCommare said.

“This will be a costly seizure for the smugglers,” he said.

The marijuana was hidden inside makeshift crates disguised to look like stacks of lumber, West Covina police Chief Frank Wills said.

“It was just all nailed together,” he said.

Seven crates in total were found inside the truck, each containing about 500 pounds of pot each, LaCommare said.

The crates were pushed to the very front of the trailer and hidden behind legitimate cargo, he said.

No one was inside the truck when the seizure was made, and no one has been arrested, LaCommare said. The investigation was in its early stages.

The truck was discovered in the area of Alondra Boulevard and Shoemaker Avenue in Cerritos, LaCommare said, however he declined to say what specific business it was found at or who owned the truck. He added it was possible the involved businesses were not aware of the marijuana.

The shipment originated in Mexico, he said.
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Trucker stops runaway pick-up truck

Posted on : 06-06-2009 | By : Truckdriversnews | In : Thoughts from a trucker

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An alert tractor-trailer driver might have averted a disaster Friday morning for a special-needs teen.

The 18-year-old was in the passenger’s seat of a pickup truck that was in reverse, and backing down a steep hill on Route ᎉA, toward a construction site along the Kennebec River.

Maine State Police Trooper Derrick Record said that the teen, whom he declined to identify, suffered minor cuts to his arms when a window in the back seat broke.

The boy’s mother, Diane Bouffard, 41, of Norridgewock had stopped at the post office and left the truck in park, with the blinker on, Record said.

Record said trucker Ricky Stiner, 43, of New Hampshire, saw the red Dodge Dakota pickup going backward down the hill, toward the site where workers are building a new bridge across the river. Record said Stiner tried but was unable to jump into the driver’s seat and stop the pickup, but because he had pulled his rig on the side of the road, the pickup came to rest against the tractor-trailer’s bumper.

“The boy tried to put the blinker off, but put the truck in reverse by mistake,” Record said. “The truck driver stopped his tractor-trailer, jumped out and tried to get in and apply the brakes, but couldn’t, and the pickup backed into the tractor-trailer.”

Stiner was not injured, Record said. He was hauling a load of bark mulch for Pro Bark, Inc., out of Plaistow, N.H.

Shortly before 9 a.m., construction workers were on duty at the site.

“The pickup would have rolled into the construction zone, probably,” Record said. “It was a dangerous situation.”
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Teamsters Oppose U.S. Trucking Regulator Nominee Anne Ferro

Posted on : 06-06-2009 | By : Truckdriversnews | In : Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Thoughts from a trucker, truck driver Industry

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The Teamsters union told President Barack Obama it opposes his nominee to be the top U.S. trucking regulator because of her support for a rule that allows truckers to drive for up to 11 consecutive hours.

Anne Ferro is the wrong person to head the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration because of her “trucking-industry party line,” Teamsters President Jim Hoffa told Obama in a letter today.

Teamsters members include truck drivers for United Parcel Service Inc., the world’s largest package delivery company, and YRC Worldwide Inc., the largest U.S. trucking company by sales.

“We cannot support a candidate who represents the Bush administration ‘status quo’ rather than embracing your call for change,” Hoffa wrote in the letter, which was also signed by truck safety group officials.

Nick Shapiro, a White House spokesman, had no immediate comment.

Ferro is president of the Maryland Motor Truck Association and previously headed the state’s motor vehicle administration, which licenses drivers and vehicles. The agency she was nominated yesterday to lead will help decide how the U.S. will reopen its border to Mexican trucks and is conducting a safety review of the motor-coach bus industry.
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Colorado hero gets helping hand

Posted on : 05-06-2009 | By : Truckdriversnews | In : Thoughts from a trucker, truck driver Industry

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That wasn’t just any load of grain rolling across the windy county roads from Sterling to a Gilcrest feedlot Wednesday morning.

And the hulking tractor-trailer that carried it, with the 18 shiny new wheels, wasn’t just any truck.

That grain was a livelihood restored, the truck, a lifeline. It was also an 18-wheeled act of uncommon generosity, made to a man of uncommon bravery.

That man is Jorge Orozco-Sanchez, who in October went into a burning SUV, not once but twice, to pull two little girls from the fiery wreckage. Moments earlier, the girls’ mother and the driver of that SUV, Melissa Nicklas, 27, had strayed over the center line of a narrow stretch of U.S. 85 in Weld County — and into the path of Orozco-Sanchez’s truck.

Nicklas died in the crash; Orozco- Sanchez’s truck was incinerated.

That truck had fed Orozco-Sanchez’s own two children, paid the Firestone family’s bills. With it gone, he went to work in his brother’s restaurant. That helped, but his pay plus his wife’s income as a school clerk didn’t cover the family’s living expenses while he waited — and continues to wait — for insurance payments.

So for months, Orozco-Sanchez was hounded by creditors as bills piled up alongside the citations and accolades.

Then, in March, came the biggest award of all: the Goodyear North American Highway Hero Award.

That’s where the uncommon generosity comes in. When Orozco-Sanchez went to Louisville to collect his award, Goodyear executives and representatives of the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association decided it was time somebody did the right thing for a guy who had himself done the right thing.

“We were very touched by his story, and one of our staff kind of popped up and said, ‘Isn’t there something that can be done for this guy?’ ” said Norita Taylor, spokeswoman for the association, which represents about 159,000 independent truckers.
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