Hey everyone! It’s time for your Monday Daily Trucker news update! I’m Isela Rios.
And I’m Carlin Stafford. We have a lot of news to cover today, including:
- The latest US Infrastructure report card and what needs to happen for it to improve…
- A multi-billion-dollar trucking manufacturer merger…
- And another example of truckers getting things done!
So let’s get trucking!
Carlin: DOT Sec. Pete Buttigieg says the department is working to find a sustainable, predictable, defensible, and affordable way to make the Highway Trust Fund solvent again. Right now, it’s being funded by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation or FAST Act – but only until September. Buttigieg noted the federal fuel tax hasn’t risen since 93, and he does not think a fuel tax will be a future-proof fix. He mentioned the DOT is still looking into a vehicle miles traveled fee, or VMT, but that raises its own concerns, specifically privacy… But he did mention that the department will be flexible with state, local, and tribal governments to avoid a one-size fits all approach.
Isela: While Congress has passed a Covid relief bill – the next large order of business is an infrastructure plan. Right now, much of our roads, bridges, water systems, dams, airports, and more all need major repairs… In fact, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers 2021 Infrastructure Report Card – the national average was a C-… The group went on to say it would take nearly 6 trillion dollars over the next decade to bring the failing infrastructure to a safe and sustainable level… The Biden Administration has mentioned they would be willing to spend more than 2 trillion dollars on a plan – which has drawn criticism from Republicans, some saying that price is a “non-starter.” Right now, Democrats hope to have a draft for the bill by Memorial Day.
Carlin: The Biden Administration has delayed a rule of the Fair Labor Standards Act that clarifies independent contractor status. Originally set to take affect today – it has been pushed back until May 7th. The rule is considered more favorable than the ABC test California’s AB5 law uses, and helps employers continue to classify some workers as independent contractors. Now we’ll wait to see if the Biden Administration comes back to the contents of the ruling before May or if they will continue to delay it.
Isela: Navistar International is one step closer to being acquired by Germany-based Traton after stockholders approved a proposal to buy the company for almost 4 billion dollars. Traton is Volkswagen’s heavy truck business, which owned 17-percent of Navistar in 2017 before bidding to purchase the rest of the company last year. If the deal goes through, Volkswagen will have more of a presence in North America – rivalling Daimler and Volvo, both of which are already established. The deal must go through regulatory approvals and other closing conditions. It’s expected to be completed mid-2021.
Carlin: If you’re looking to know more about the future of road safety, the FMCSA’s Analysis, Research, and Technology office is hosting a free virtual forum to discuss this year’s focus and upcoming ART projects. Topics range from 2021 priorities, agency enforcement efforts, policy on automated trucks, and research efforts. The program is scheduled for March 10th, from 1 to 5 pm Eastern Standard Time. You can register on the FMCSA’s website!
Isela: UPS shipped out the first batch of the Johnson & Johnson single shot vaccines last week. This marks the 3rd vaccine UPS has delivered, splitting shipments of it, the Moderna, and Pfizer vaccines with FexEd Express. More than 15 million Pfizer and Moderna doses will be shipped this week, and almost 3 million of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Another example of truckers getting us what we need when we need it most!
Carlin: That does it for today’s update!
Isela: Tune in tomorrow for more of the trucking news you need!
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