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Trump aides reportedly downplaying idea of increase in gas tax for infrastructure

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Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., surrounded by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other congressional Democrats, talks with reporters after meeting with President Donald Trump about infrastructure at the White House last month. (Associated Press: EVAN VUCCI)

WASHINGTON — It’s looking more and more likely you’ll need a pair of double — no, triple-strength binoculars to locate even a glimmering hope that there will be a viable infrastructure bill this anytime soon.

Sure, President Donald Trump and the Democrats met recently and agreed on the need for $2.2 trillion in infrastructure improvements, but as usual, there was no talk about from whence the money would come.

And now, it appears that the best way to fund the Highway Trust Fund — at least in the eyes of the trucking industry — is being quashed by the White House.

POLITICO reported over the weekend that the White House has been reassuring conservative leaders that it has no plans to hike the gas and diesel tax to help fund the massive infrastructure package that President Donald Trump hopes to negotiate with Congress.

POLITICO reported that both acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Russ Vought, Trump’s budget director, have repeatedly downplayed the possibility in private meetings with fiscal conservatives who are expressing alarm that Trump might embrace a massive tax increase. Concerns have specifically centered around a potential gas tax boost, an idea that Trump has flirted with during his presidency.

“It is my understanding that they are not going to be agreeing to any tax increases,” said Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist in an interview with POLITICO. Norquist said he has discussed the matter with White House officials in recent days, but did not disclose specifics. He was spotted at the White House on Friday, where he attended a meeting with Vought in which conservative leaders discussed upcoming spending battles, according to two attendees.

One long-simmering rumor that took off after the Trump-Democrats meeting was that Trump might endorse an increase in the gas tax to help fund the infrastructure package. It’s a prospect that deeply unsettles conservatives and some administration officials, who oppose any tax increase to pay for the projects.

Both the American Trucking Associations and the Truckload Carriers Association have publicly said they believe a gas tax increase is the best way to fund infrastructure improvements.

 

 

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Nebraska officer earns grand champion award for roadside inspection

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Courtesy: CVSA Sgt. Benjamin Schropfer of the Nebraska State Patrol has earned the 2019 Jimmy K. Ammons Grand Champion Award, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s highest honor for the commercial motor vehicle roadside inspector. (Courtesy: CVSA)

PITTSBURGH — Sgt. Benjamin Schropfer of the Nebraska State Patrol has earned the 2019 Jimmy K. Ammons Grand Champion Award, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s highest honor for the commercial motor vehicle roadside inspector.

After a week of in-depth training and intense competition, Schropfer received the award Saturday at the North American Inspectors Championship (NAIC) here at a joint awards ceremony with the American Trucking Associations Newsal Truck Driving Championships and Newsal Step Van Driving Championships.

Every year since NAIC started 27 years ago, each jurisdiction from Canada, Mexico and the United States is eligible to send one inspector to represent their jurisdiction, receive valuable training and compete against other top inspectors for the ultimate title of NAIC Grand Champion.

This year, 51 commercial motor vehicle inspectors gathered in Pittsburgh, August 13-17 to compete at NAIC, the only event dedicated to testing, recognizing and awarding commercial motor vehicle inspector excellence.

Each contestant competes in six inspection categories. The competition includes a North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria exam as well as thorough assessments of each inspector’s knowledge and expertise by providing various identical vehicles from which contestants must identify regulatory violations and critical vehicle inspection item out-of-service conditions, all while being timed. Contestants are tested on real-world vehicle and driver inspection scenarios and must appropriately evaluate the situation and properly identify violations within the recreated roadside inspection scenario. Inspectors are tested on the out-of-service criteria, inspection procedures, hazardous materials/dangerous goods requirements, passenger carrier vehicles and more.

In addition to the NAIC Grand Champion Award, other notable awards were earned by this year’s competing inspectors.

The one inspector who scores the most points representing each of the three participating countries in the competition receives their country’s High Points Award.

The following High Points Awards were presented:

  • Sean McAlister High Points Canada Award: Brittany Linde, British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
  • High Points Mexico Award: Gustavo Ruiz Alvarado, Policía Federal
  • High Points United States Award: Benjamin Schropfer, Nebraska State Patrol

First, second and third place awards are given for the following inspection categories:

The North American Standard Hazardous Materials/Dangerous Goods and Cargo Tank/Bulk Packagings Inspection is an inspection of the requirements related to identifying hazardous materials/dangerous goods markings, labeling, placarding, packaging, identification, etc.

  • First Place: Brittany Linde, British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
  • Second Place: Michael Trautwein, local member, Houston Police Department
  • Third Place: Benjamin Schropfer, Nebraska State Patrol

The North American Standard Level I Inspection is the most commonly performed inspection. It is a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness.

  • First Place: Delaney Malsbury, Alberta Justice and Solicitor General
  • Second Place: Benjamin Schropfer, Nebraska State Patrol
  • Third Place: Andrew James – Arkansas Highway Police

The Team Award is given to the team with the highest combined score. The team with the highest score this year was the Blue Team, led by team leader Joe Manning with Pennsylvania State Police. The Blue Team had the following members: Brittany Linde, British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure; Stanton Ishii, Hawaii Department of Transportation; Ryan Dahm, Iowa Department of Transportation; Herbert Bradley, Kansas Highway Patrol; Level Walley, Mississippi Department of Public Safety; Benjamin Schropfer, Nebraska State Patrol; Tommy Torok, South Dakota Highway Patrol; Jose Najera, Texas Department of Public Safety; and Vidal Zamora – U.S. DOT/FMCSA.

This year, NAIC contestants voted to present the John Youngblood Award of Excellence to Joshua Bradley with the Georgia Department of Public Safety. The John Youngblood Award of Excellence is an honor NAIC contestants bestow upon a fellow NAIC inspector who exemplifies high standards and unwavering dedication to the profession. It’s the only award that is awarded to one inspector by their peers. Inspectors vote for the inspector who exemplifies the spirit of cooperation, leadership, a professional image, a dedication to their profession, a positive attitude, organizational ability and congeniality.

“I started my CVSA career 16 years ago at the 2003 North American Inspectors Championship in Columbus, Ohio, so this competition is near and dear to my heart,” said CVSA President Chief Jay Thompson with the Arkansas Highway Police. “I know firsthand what an honor it is to be selected by your agency to compete on behalf of your jurisdiction against the best of the best inspectors from across North America. Each competing inspector – whether they receive a trophy or not – leaves NAIC as a winner.”

In addition to the competitive events, each inspector receives hands-on training on the latest safety information, technology, standards and procedures, while sharing ideas, techniques and experiences with fellow inspectors. Since NAIC is co-located with ATA’s championship, certified inspectors and professional drivers are in an environment where they can interact with, learn from and support each other throughout the week.

NAIC was created to recognize roadside inspectors and enforcement personnel – the backbone of the commercial motor vehicle safety program in North America – and to promote uniformity of inspections through training and education.

Next year’s NAIC is scheduled for August 18-22, 2020, in Indianapolis.

 

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WIT’s Ellen Voie wins inaugural Cinderella to CEO of the Year honor

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Women In Trucking Association President Ellen Voie, left, accepts a copy of the book “From Cinderella to CEO, How to Master the 10 Lessons of Fairy Tales to Transform Your Work Life” from its author Cary Broussard. Voie was named the 2019 Cinderella to CEO of the Year. (Courtesy: WOMEN IN TRUCKING)

PLOVER, Wis. — Women In Trucking Association President and CEO Ellen Voie has been named the 2019 Cinderella to CEO of the Year — along with winning her award category “Climbing the Beanstalk” — for cultivating an innovative improvement to the workplace that creates inroads for women to achieve career goals and enhances work-life balance opportunities for all genders.

The Cinderella to CEO Awards recognize women who have overcome obstacles to change businesses, communities and industries for the better.

The inaugural awards, inspired by the book “From Cinderella to CEO, How to Master the 10 Lessons of Fairy Tales to Transform Your Work Life,” by Cary Broussard, honored 200 women across industries and communities who were nominated for the awards.

“Our goal is to accelerate the successes of women who have worked hard and helped others to also succeed by connecting them to opportunities and each other,” said Broussard, CEO of Broussard Global. “In 2030, women in the U.S. are expected to control 75 percent of the wealth in this country. We want the wealth to be in the good, caring hands of those who strive to make the world a better place.”

Nine category winners, including Voie, were recognized by a Cinderella to CEO panel of judges for their support of other women, their transformational ability to overcome obstacles and barriers, and their desire to motivate others to accomplish their dreams. Each award category is tied to a chapter in Broussard’s book.

“I am so honored to receive the very first Cinderella to CEO award, as there were hundreds of nominations featuring some amazing women who have done truly notable and altruistic projects,” Voie said. “I am especially thrilled to be recognized by an organization outside the trucking industry, which makes the award even more special.”

The Women In Trucking Association is a nonprofit association established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry. Membership is not limited to women, as 17 percent of its members are men who support the mission.

 

 

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FMCSA explains Hours of Service proposed rule

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