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Arkansas bill would tap revenue, raise tax for highways

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Arkansas State Republican Rep. Dan Douglas says if the state doesn’t do something, it’s just going to let its highways continue to deteriorate and fall apart. (Courtesy: ARKANSAS LEGISLATURE)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An Arkansas lawmaker on Monday proposed tapping into tax revenue from car sales and imposing a new tax on motor fuels to raise money for the state’s highways, a proposal that quickly drew opposition from the state’s Republican governor and Democrats.

Republican Rep. Dan Douglas said he hoped the bill he filed would start the conversation on highway funding, which legislative leaders and Gov. Asa Hutchinson have called a priority for this year’s session. No funding plan had emerged as lawmakers entered the third week of this year’s session.

“Here’s the thing: If we don’t do something, we’re just going to let our highways continue to deteriorate and fall apart and then wait until the bill comes due,” Douglas said. “We have to do something.”

Douglas’ proposal calls for gradually diverting up to $120 million a year in tax revenue from car sales to highways over a four-year period. The state would begin diverting the money once its gross sales tax revenue exceeds $2.5 billion a year. In the first year, the state would transfer $30 million to highways and would increase that by $30 million a year until reaching $120 million.

The proposal also calls for imposing a 3.5 percent sales tax on the wholesale price of motor fuel, which Douglas estimated would raise another $100 million to $120 million a year.

Hutchinson has said he’s usually opposed to diverting general revenue to roads and that he couldn’t support Douglas’ plan.

“Pulling additional money from general revenue is not the answer,” the governor said in a statement. “We are already devoting $50 million a year from state revenue to the highway department. Doing more will only create new problems elsewhere and will negatively impact education, prisons, public safety and more.”

Democrats, who have raised similar objections to tapping general revenue, also said they were worried that it could open the door to even more money being diverted later.

“This is in a way the most important time to stand up against general revenue being diverted to highways,” Democratic Rep. Andrew Collins said.

The motor fuel sales tax is also likely to face resistance in the majority-Republican Legislature, with many GOP members vowing opposition to any tax increase. Since it’s imposing a new tax, Douglas’ proposal would require only a simple majority rather than the three-fourths needed to increase existing taxes. Republican House Speaker Matthew Shepherd has said he would prefer for the Legislature to look at existing revenue before considering any tax increases. He reiterated that stance Monday.

Republican Senate President Jim Hendren said he expected to see more work on highways once lawmakers tackle Hutchinson’s proposed income tax cut.

“I think you’ll see half a dozen ideas, serious ideas, floated out there and we’ll just see which one of them solves the problem and has the ability to pass the Legislature,” Hendren said.

 

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. James Stark

    January 29, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    I feel that more distracted cell phone drivers & “choker chained” drivers on ELD stressed out to driver harder would be the main reason for the uptake in crashes, than increased speeds; As a governed driver for 25 yrs, I know what a disaster of driving bunched up would be especially if ALL trucks were limited (example NASCAR Talladag “big one” crashes; As to trucks needing more room to stop, yes but any experienced driver knows this & maintains the appropriate safe following distance (heavier vehicles have corresponding larger braking capacity-disc brakes & tighter stopping distance regulations have been a move in a positive direction

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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 to create inroads for women to achieve career goals and enhanced 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 distinguished 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.”

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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10 finalists named in search for top rookie military veteran driver

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Last year’s top military rookie Quinton Ward sits in the cab of his new Kenworth with Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director. (Courtesy: KENWORTH TRUCK CO.)

KIRKLAND, Wash. — The top 10 finalists have been named in the search for the top rookie veteran driver.

Kenworth has teamed with the FASTPORT Trucking Track Mentoring Program and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring our Heroes Program to find the top rookie military veteran, who has made the successful transition from active duty to driving for a commercial fleet.

The top 10 finalists with their military branch and current truck fleet include:

  • Chris Bacon/U.S. Marines/TMC Transportation
  • Thomas Blitch/U.S. Navy and Naval Reserves/Werner Enterprises
  • Wade Bumgarner/U.S. Navy/Veriha Trucking
  • Joseph Campbell/U.S. Marines and U.S. Army/Roehl Transport
  • Keso Going/U.S. Army/Epes Transport
  • Steve Harris/U.S. Marines/Stevens Transport
  • Kevin Lassing/ U.S. Army/U.S. Xpress
  • Maliq Melton, U.S. Army, Melton Truck Lines.
  • Monte Morrone/U.S. Army and U.S. Marines/Prime Inc.
  • Tim Raub/ U.S. Navy/Averitt Express

Drivers were nominated by trucking companies that made a hiring commitment and pledge to hire veterans on www.truckingtrack.org  or, by members of the National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools, or Commercial Vehicle Training Association-member school.

“This year’s competition in the “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” program features an outstanding group of 10 finalists, who are representing their fleet and branch of military service. On behalf of Kenworth, we appreciate their dedication to excel as truck drivers in their new profession, and we are grateful for their military service to the country,” said Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director.

“It is important for organizations across the United States to especially reach out to our veterans to help them make a smooth transition back into civilian life. This is one way that the trucking industry is doing its part,” said Brad Bentley FASTPORT president.

During the Great American Trucking Show August 22-24 in Dallas, three finalists in the recognition program will be announced as America’s top rookie military drivers. All 10 drivers will receive special recognition at the President George W. Bush Library during a tour and reception. The final winner will be announced in December.

For further information on the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence award program, please visit www.transitiontrucking.org.

 

 

 

 

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