PMTA News

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  • February 19, 2020 1:30 PM | Brandon Moree (Administrator)

    Arlington, VA – The American Transportation Research Institute today released its annual list highlighting the most congested bottlenecks for trucks in America.

    The 2020 Top Truck Bottleneck List assesses the level of truck-involved congestion at 300 locations on the national highway system.  The analysis, based on truck GPS data from over 1 million heavy duty trucks uses several customized software applications and analysis methods, along with terabytes of data from trucking operations to produce a congestion impact ranking for each location.  ATRI’s truck GPS data is also used to support the U.S. DOT’s Freight Mobility Initiative.  The bottleneck locations detailed in this latest ATRI list represent the top 100 congested locations, although ATRI continuously monitors more than 300 freight-critical locations.

    The intersection of I-95 and SR 4 in Fort Lee, New Jersey is once again the Number One freight bottleneck in the country.  The rest of the Top 10 includes:

    1. Atlanta: I-285 at I-85 (North)
    2. Nashville: I-24/I-40 at I-440 (East)
    3. Houston: I-45 at I-69/US 59
    4. Atlanta, GA: I-75 at I-285 (North)
    5. Chicago, IL: I-290 at I-90/I-94
    6. Atlanta, GA: I-20 at I-285 (West)
    7. Cincinnati, OH: I-71 at I-75
    8. Los Angeles, CA: SR 60 at SR 57
    9. Los Angeles, CA: I-710 at I-105

    “ATRI’s bottleneck analysis is an important tool for TDOT as we work to maximize the safety and efficiency of our transportation system, and ensure we are making the smartest investments possible,” said Tennessee Department of Transportation Assistant Bureau Chief Freight & Logistics Dan Pallme.  “The additional capacity we are providing as part of the ongoing I-440 Reconstruction Project should improve the safety and reliability of this important corridor, which we know is critical to freight movement.”

    ATRI’s analysis, which utilized data from 2019, found that the number of locations experiencing significant congestion – with average daily speeds of 45 MPH or less – has increased 92 percent in just five years, far outpacing the 10 percent growth in traffic congestion for that same time period.

    “ATA has been beating the drum about the continued degradation of our infrastructure, and thanks to ATRI’s research we can see exactly how decades of ignoring the problem are impacting not just our industry but our economy and commuters everywhere,” said American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear. “This report should sound the alarm for policymakers that the cost of doing nothing is too high, and provide a roadmap of where to target investments to really solve our nation’s mounting infrastructure crisis.”

    There are six locations in Pennsylvania in the top 100. There were just two in 2018 and five in 2019. Four of the six bottlenecks are in the Philadelphia are (I-76 at I-676, I-76 at US 1, I-476 at I-95 and I-76 at 476), one is in the Harrisburg area (SR 581 at I-83) and one is in Pittsburgh (I-70 at I-79 East).

    For access to the full report, including detailed information on each of the 100 top congested locations, please visit ATRI’s website at TruckingResearch.org.

    ATRI is the trucking industry’s 501c3 not-for-profit research organization. It is engaged in critical research relating to freight transportation’s essential role in maintaining a safe, secure and efficient transportation system.


  • February 18, 2020 2:56 PM | Brandon Moree (Administrator)

    The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, Pub. L. 115-334, (Farm Bill) removed hemp from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act.  Under the Farm Bill, hemp-derived products containing a concentration of up to 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are not controlled substances.  THC is the primary psychoactive component of marijuana.  Any product, including “Cannabidiol” (CBD) products, with a concentration of more than 0.3% THC remains classified as marijuana, a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act.

     

    We have had inquiries about whether the Department of Transportation-regulated safety-sensitive employees can use CBD products.  Safety-sensitive employees who are subject to drug testing specified under 49 CFR part 40 (Part 40) include:  pilots, school bus drivers, truck drivers, train engineers, transit vehicle operators, aircraft maintenance personnel, fire-armed transit security personnel, ship captains, and pipeline emergency response personnel, among others. 

     

    It is important for all employers and safety-sensitive employees to know:

     

    1.   The Department of Transportation requires testing for marijuana and not CBD.

     

    2.   The labeling of many CBD products may be misleading because the products could contain higher levels of THC than what the product label states. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not currently certify the levels of THC in CBD products, so there is no Federal oversight to ensure that the labels are accurate. The FDA has cautioned the public that: “Consumers should beware purchasing and using any [CBD] products.”  The FDA has stated: “It is currently illegal to market CBD by adding it to a food or labeling it as a dietary supplement.”*  Also, the FDA has issued several warning letters to companies because their products contained more CBD than indicated on the product label. **[i]

     

    3.   The Department of Transportation’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation, Part 40, does not authorize the use of Schedule I drugs, including marijuana, for any reason. Furthermore, CBD use is not a legitimate medical explanation for a laboratory-confirmed marijuana positive result. Therefore, Medical Review Officers will verify a drug test confirmed at the appropriate cutoffs as positive, even if an employee claims they only used a CBD product. 

     

    It remains unacceptable for any safety-sensitive employee subject to the Department of Transportation’s drug testing regulations to use marijuana.  Since the use of CBD products could lead to a positive drug test result, Department of Transportation-regulated safety-sensitive employees should exercise caution when considering whether to use CBD products.

     

    The contents of this document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies. This policy and compliance notice is not legally binding in its own right and will not be relied upon by the Department as a separate basis for affirmative enforcement action or other administrative penalty.  Conformity with this policy and compliance notice is voluntary only and nonconformity will not affect rights and obligations under existing statutes and regulations.  Safety-sensitive employees must continue to comply with the underlying regulatory requirements for drug testing, specified at 49 CFR part 40.

     

     

    February 18, 2020

    ___________________________

    [i]* What You Need to Know (And What We’re Working to Find Out) About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-derived Compounds, Including CBD: The FDA is working to answer questions about the science, safety, and quality of products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds, particularly CBD.”  https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/what-you-need-know-and-what-were-working-find-out-about-products-containing-cannabis-or-cannabis

    ** https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/warning-letters-and-test-results-cannabidiol-related-products


  • February 11, 2020 11:53 AM | Brandon Moree (Administrator)

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced that fees for the 2020 UCR registration year will be published in the Federal Register on Thursday, February 13. Upon publication, the fees will become effective and the 2020 registration period will officially open. FMCSA previously announced on its website the specific fee levels for 2020.

    Businesses subject to the UCR Act may register at  www.ucr.gov

    Since the opening of the 2020 registration period was delayed several months, UCR is requesting that states delay enforcement until June 1, 2020.


  • February 04, 2020 8:28 AM | Brandon Moree (Administrator)

    DEPARTMENT OF
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

    Pennsylvania State Clean Diesel Grant Program; Availability of Grants

    [50 Pa.B. 739]
    [Saturday, February 1, 2020]

     The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) announces an opportunity to apply for $2,654,841 in grants offered through the Fiscal Year 2019 Pennsylvania State Clean Diesel Grant Program (Grant Program). Funding has been made available through the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Federal Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA). Most of this funding, approximately $2.15 million, is from the settlement of a lawsuit with Volkswagen and its subsidiaries, relating to diesel vehicle emission violations, and is being used as the Commonwealth's voluntary match funding under the DERA program. Funding is available for eligible diesel emission reduction projects that will improve air quality and protect public health and the environment by reducing emissions from diesel-powered vehicles and engines.

    The Department is seeking applications for projects that will replace or retrofit fleet diesel-powered highway and nonroad vehicles, engines and equipment. The majority of the vehicle or engine's annual operation time must occur within this Commonwealth. Public and private entities that operate diesel-powered fleets throughout this Commonwealth should apply. These entities may include school districts, municipal authorities, political subdivisions, State agencies, nonprofit entities, corporations, limited liability companies or partnerships incorporated or registered in this Commonwealth, air quality or transportation organizations and metropolitan or rural planning organizations. Projects must use technologies certified or verified by the EPA or the California Air Resources Board to lower diesel emissions, unless otherwise noted in the Grant Program guidelines. The technology may be a single technology or a combination of available technologies.

     The Department will not reimburse grant recipients for project costs incurred prior to the grant performance period set forth in the applicable grant agreement. The Grant Program guidelines and application instructions are available on the Department's Driving PA Forward webpage at www.depgis.state.pa.us/DrivingPAForward/ .

     A webinar on the Grant Program will be held on Monday, February 10, 2020, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. See the Department's previously listed Driving PA Forward webpage for registration information.

     Applications must be submitted online through the Department of Community and Economic Development's Electronic Single Application web site, eGrants at www.esa.dced.state.pa.us . The Department will accept applications through 4 p.m. on Friday, March 6, 2020. Fax and e-mail submissions of applications will not be accepted.

     Interested applicants with questions may contact the Bureau of Air Quality at ra-epvwmitigation@pa.gov or (717) 787-9495.

    PATRICK McDONNELL, 
    Secretary

    [Pa.B. Doc. No. 20-159. Filed for public inspection January 31, 2020, 9:00 a.m.]


  • January 31, 2020 10:52 AM | Brandon Moree (Administrator)

    The Gig is Up – New Jersey Misclassification Laws Create Extreme Risk for Anyone Utilizing Independent Contractors

    Date: Tuesday, February 4, 2020

    Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

    About the Program:
    Join FordHarrison Partner Salvador Simao as he discusses the recent New Jersey laws that revolve around independent contractor misclassifications and what that means to the trucking industry.

    Registration:
    To register for this complimentary webinar, click here.


  • January 30, 2020 11:14 AM | Brandon Moree (Administrator)

    ACTION: Interim final rule with request for comment.

    SUMMARY: FMCSA is amending its December 8, 2016, final rule, "Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators" (ELDT final rule), by extending the compliance date for the rule from February 7, 2020, to February 7, 2022. This action will provide FMCSA additional time to complete development of the Training Provider Registry (TPR). The TPR will allow training providers to self-certify that they meet the training requirements and will provide the electronic interface that will receive and store entry-level driver training (ELDT) certification information from training providers and transmit that information to the State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs). The extension also provides SDLAs with time to modify their information technology (IT) systems and procedures, as necessary, to accommodate their receipt of driver-specific ELDT data from the TPR. FMCSA is delaying the entire ELDT final rule, as opposed to a partial delay as proposed, due to delays in implementation of the TPR that were not foreseen when the proposed rule was published.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  Mr. Richard Clemente, Driver and Carrier Operations Division, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001, (202) 366-4325, MCPSD@dot.gov. If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, contact Docket Operations, (202) 366-9826.


  • January 28, 2020 10:16 AM | Brandon Moree (Administrator)

    Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced that it will hold a 45-day public comment period on proposed updates to its Statewide Public Participation Plan, which will begin today, Monday, January 27 and conclude on Wednesday, March 11.

    The plan outlines the public participation methods used when developing the Statewide Long Range Transportation Plan, the Twelve Year Program, the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, and the Statewide Public Participation Plan, and explains how the public can get involved in its statewide transportation planning and programming processes.

    The Statewide Public Participation Plan is PennDOT’s documented public involvement process outlining opportunities for public participation in statewide transportation planning and programming. This plan is required as part of the Code of Federal Regulations (23 CFR 450.210).

    PennDOT encourages the public to review the draft plan in its entirety, and to provide comments. The draft document and the electronic comment form will be available at. www.PennDOT.gov/PublicParticipation. Paper copies of the draft document and comment form will also be available at PennDOT District offices, Metropolitan and Rural Planning Organization offices, and at stakeholder locations throughout the state. A list of the viewing locations is available at the website noted above.

    Anyone who requires special assistance to participate, or has questions pertaining to the Public Comment Period or the Draft Updated Plan should contact the PennDOT Bureau of Equal Opportunity at (800) 468-4201 or online at RA-PDPUBLICPARTMAIL@pa.gov.

    All comments received during the public comment period will be reviewed and evaluated by PennDOT. Changes to the draft plan will be determined as part of the evaluation process. All comments and questions received during the comment period will become a part of the update process documentation.


  • December 31, 2019 9:45 AM | Brandon Moree (Administrator)

    On Dec. 18, 2019, the PA Turnpike Commission approved a new permit fee structure at cashless tolling points only across our system for overweight/over-dimensional vehicles.  Beginning Jan. 5, these vehicles must apply for a Special Hauling Permit and pay a $37 flat fee along with an additional 24 cent-per-ton-mile fee on all weight in excess of 80,000 pounds. Those cashless tolling locations are:

    • Gateway Toll Plaza Milepost 2, I-76 (near Ohio line);
    • Beaver Valley Express­way (PA Turnpike 376);
    • Findlay Connector (PA Turnpike 576);
    • Greensburg Bypass/AKH (PA Turnpike 66); and
    • Delaware River Bridge Toll Plaza, Milepost 42.6, I-95 (near NJ line);
    • Keyser Avenue and Clarks Summit Toll Plazas, Mileposts 122 and 131, (I-476 near Scranton).

    Changes for Overweight/Over-dimensional customers at cashless tolling locations only include:

    • All customers applying for a Special Hauling Permit for Overweight/Over-dimensional vehicles must pay a new permit fee online using a credit card or ACH when the application is submitted.  There will be no print function for approved permits until payment is made.
    • All customers must print and carry a hard copy of the approved permit.
    • Tolls will be assessed electronically as customers travel the cashless tolling system. There is no need to stop to process permits or pay tolls at cashless tolling locations.
    • Tolls will be charged to your E-ZPass account; if you do not have E-ZPass, an invoice will be mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle through the PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE system.
    • All customers must apply for a permit within two weeks of the anticipated travel day.

    While the permit fees for overweight and over-dimensional haulers at cashless tolling locations are new, the toll rates have been adjusted so that the overall trip costs are comparable to those of existing Class-9 toll rates.

    The PA Turnpike’s standard permit requirements — weight, width, length, height, etc. — remain in effect for these new Special Hauling Permit procedures at cashless tolling locations.  Visit https://www.paturnpike.com/commercial/permit_info.aspx to learn more. Or call 1-800-331-3414 (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday).


  • December 31, 2019 8:56 AM | Brandon Moree (Administrator)

    FMCSA proposes to extend the compliance date for the requirement established by the Commercial Driver's License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse) final rule that States request information from the Clearinghouse ("query'') before completing certain commercial driver's license (CDL) transactions.

    The States' compliance with this requirement, currently due to begin on January 6, 2020, would be delayed until January 6, 2023.

    This proposal would, however, allow States the option to voluntarily request Clearinghouse information beginning on January 6, 2020. As explained further in the link below, the proposed delay of the State query requirement would have no impact on highway safety.

    The compliance date of January 6, 2020 would remain in place for all other requirements set forth in the Clearinghouse final rule; including requiring drivers to register and consent to carriers checking their record for failed drug tests or refusals to take drug tests. Employers are required to check the Clearinghouse as part of pre-employment driver investigations and screen each of their currently employed CDL drivers at least once a year.

    View PDF


  • December 17, 2019 9:12 AM | Brandon Moree (Administrator)

    In response to the impending Winter Storm Finley, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has placed the following restrictions beginning at midnight.

    Restrictions/Roadway Information: (SEE BELOW)

    • 45 MPH Speed Restriction with Commercial Vehicle (CMV) Right Lane Only:
    • I-81 North of I-80 to the New York border
    • I-380 entire length
    • I-84 entire length


    UPDATE: At 9 a.m. the restrictions on I-81 were lifted but restrictions on I-380 and I-84 remain.

    For the most recent updates, check the PTMA Facebook Page.



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