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Arkansas governor signs $95M highway funding bill into law

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Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, seated, signs a highway funding bill Tuesday. The legislation raises fuel taxes and taps into expected casino revenue to pay for roads. At the far right is Shannon Newton, president of the Arkansas Trucking Association. (Associated Press: ANDREW DEMILLO)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.  — Arkansas’ governor on Tuesday signed a $95 million highway funding bill that will raise fuel taxes for the first time in 20 years, setting up an election year fight over a plan to ask voters to keep paying a half-cent sales tax for road needs.

The legislation signed into law by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson imposes a new wholesale tax on fuel that will raise gas prices by 3 cents a gallon and diesel by 6 cents. The new law also taps into at least $35 million in expected revenue from casinos voters approved last year, and imposes an additional registration fee on electric and hybrid vehicles. The tax and fee increases will take effect in October.

Arkansas is home to two key trucking lanes, Interstate 30 and Interstate 40. I-40 between Little Rock and West Memphis, Arkansas, carries several thousand trucks a day.

“This is a balanced plan. There’s never been a highway plan balanced in this fashion,” Hutchinson said.

The proposals are part of a $300 million highway funding plan Hutchinson and legislative leaders unveiled last month. Another part of the plan, a proposal to permanently extend a half-cent sales tax for roads, goes to voters next year. The Legislature last week gave final approval to putting the half-cent tax extension on the ballot, but that doesn’t require the governor’s signature.

Voters approved the half-cent tax in 2012 and it’s set to expire in 2023. Groups that backed Hutchinson’s highway plan, including the state Chamber of Commerce and the Arkansas Trucking Association, said they’re prepared to campaign for the extension next year.

Shannon Newton, president of the Trucking Association, said she expected the campaign would likely need more money than the $1.6 million that was spent in favor of the half-cent in 2012. It’s unclear what organized opposition the proposal will face, though it drew complaints from some Republicans in the Legislature who said the state should instead look at using existing revenue for roads.

A spokesman for Americans for Prosperity, which opposed the highway plan, said all options were on the table when asked if it would campaign against the measure.

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The Nation

Big rig causes 100-year-old bridge to collapse in North Dakota

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This undated photo provided by Grand Forks County Sheriff's Department shows the overweight semi that caused the collapse of a small, historic bridge near Northwood, N.D. Authorities say the semi, with a trailer load of dry beans, was traveling on the 56-foot-long, restricted-weight bridge over the Goose River Monday. (Grand Forks County Sheriff's Department via AP)

NORTHWOOD, N.D. — Sheriff’s officials say an overweight semitrailer loaded with dried beans caused a more-than-century-old bridge to collapse in North Dakota.

Grand Forks County sheriff’s officials say the bridge over the Goose River near Northwood collapsed Monday afternoon. Photos show the wooden and iron span buckling under the weight of the vehicle. The bridge is partly submerged in the water.

Police said a 2005 Peterbilt semi-truck was driving on the bridge when the structure reportedly crumpled beneath it, causing the trailer to hangover the west abutment.

The 56-foot-long bridge was built in 1906 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It has a 14 ton weight restriction. Sheriff’s officials say the semitrailer was 29 tons over that limit.

The driver, who was not injured, faces an $11,400 overload fine.

Officials say it will cost up to $1 million to replace the bridge.

It was not immediately clear if weight-limit signs were posted, and police said the incident was still under investigation

Northwood is about 200 miles northeast of Bismarck.

 

 

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Business

Women In Trucking names its 2019 top woman-owned businesses

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Angela Eliacostas is the founder and owner of AGT Global Logistics, one of the companies the Women In Trucking Association has named its 2019 Top Women-Owned Businesses in Transportation. (Courtesy: Women in Trucking)

PLOVER, Wisc. —  The Women In Trucking Association (WIT) has announced its annual list of the “Top Woman-Owned Businesses in Transportation.”

The names of the companies being recognized in 2019 were released in the latest edition of Redefining the Road, the official magazine of WIT.

WIT created the list was created to recognize women in leadership and encourage more women to become proactive leaders in their organizations and even start their own businesses, WIT president and CEO Ellen Voie said. The program supports WIT’s overall mission “To encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments, and minimize the obstacles they face.”

Entrepreneurship is a viable means of economic self-sufficiency, and many women are choosing an enterprise connected to transportation to be part of their career aspirations, according to Brian Everett, publisher of Redefining the Road.

Companies considered for the recognition must meet criteria that includes majority ownership by a woman, financial stability and growth, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. Each company was nominated and chosen based upon business success and accomplishments, including those related to gender diversity.

This year’s list includes companies from a diverse range of business sectors in the commercial freight transportation marketplace, including motor carriers, third-party logistics companies and original equipment manufacturers.

Companies named to the 2019 “Top Woman-Owned Businesses” list and their primary female business owners are:

  • Bennett International Group; Marcia G. Taylor, CEO
  • Kenco Logistics; Jane Kennedy Greene, chairwoman
  • London Auto Truck Center; Donna Childers, vice president
  • Rihm Family Companies; Kari Rihm, president and CEO
  • Veriha Trucking, Inc.; Karen Smerchek, president
  • Rush Trucking Corp.; Andra Rush, CEO
  • Aria Logistics; Arelis Gutierrez, CEO
  • Lodgewood Enterprises; Arlene Gagne, president
  • S-2international, LLC; Jennifer Mead, CEO
  • International Express Trucking; Karen Duff, president and CEO
  • Brenny Transportation, Inc.; Joyce Brenny, CEO and founder
  • Knichel Logistics; Kristy Knichel, CEO
  • Garner Trucking; Sherri Garner Brumbaugh, CEO
  • LYNC Logistics; Cindy Lee, president
  • Ontario Truck Training Academy; Yvette Lagrois, president
  • AGT Global Logistics; Angela Eliacostas, owner and founder
  • Powersource Transportation; (Barb Bakos, president
  • LaunchIt Public Relations; Susan Fall, president
  • United Federal Logistics, Inc.; Jennifer Behnke, president
  • BCP Transportation; Nancy Spelsberg, Ardis Jourdan, Kristie Rozinski
  • Ladybird Logistics Ltd.; Felicia Payin Marfo, managing director
  • DGT Trucking; Donna G. Sleasman, owner
  • RFX Inc.; Kimberly Welby, president and CEO)

These companies will be recognized during a special program at the Women In Trucking Accelerate! Conference & Expo, Sept. 30 – Oct. 2 in Dallas. For more information, visit WomenInTrucking.org.

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The Nation

Can you say oversized load!

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That is big!

 

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