Connect with us

The Nation

Canada-U.S. reach deal to stay in trade pact with Mexico

Published

on

TORONTO — Canada was back in a revamped North American free trade deal with the United States and Mexico late Sunday after weeks of bitter, high-pressure negotiations that brushed up against a midnight deadline.

In a joint statement, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said the agreement “will strengthen the middle class, and create good, well-paying jobs and new opportunities for the nearly half billion people who call North America home.”

The new deal, reached just before a midnight deadline imposed by the U.S., will be called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. It replaces the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, which President Donald Trump had called a job-killing disaster.

Trump on Monday morning called it a “great deal,” tweeting that it “solves the many deficiencies and mistakes in NAFTA, greatly opens markets to our Farmers and Manufacturers, reduces Trade Barriers to the U.S. and will bring all three Great Nations together in competition with the rest of the world.”

He added: “Congratulations to Mexico and Canada!”

The agreement reached Sunday gives U.S. farmers greater access to the Canadian dairy market. But it keeps a NAFTA dispute-resolution process that the U.S. wanted to jettison and offers Canada protection if Trump goes ahead with plans to impose tariffs on cars, trucks and auto parts imported into the United States.

“It’s a good day for Canada,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said as he left his office. Trudeau said he would have more to say Monday.

“We celebrate a trilateral deal. The door closes on trade fragmentation in the region,” Jesus Seade, trade negotiator for Mexico’s incoming president, said via Twitter.

Representatives for the government of Mexican president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador have called a press conference to discuss details of the trade deal on Monday.

Canada, the United States’ No. 2 trading partner, was left out when the U.S. and Mexico reached an agreement last month to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The Trump administration officially notified Congress of the U.S.-Mexico trade agreement on Aug. 31. That started a 90-day clock that would let outgoing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto sign the new pact before he leaves office Dec. 1.

Trump threatened to go ahead with a revamped NAFTA — with or without Canada. It was unclear, however, whether Trump had authority from Congress to pursue a revamped NAFTA with only Mexico.

Some lawmakers immediately expressed relief that Canada had been reinstated in the regional trading bloc. “I am pleased that the Trump administration was able to strike a deal to modernize NAFTA with both Mexico and Canada,” said Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. “NAFTA is a proven success.”

NAFTA tore down most trade barriers between the United States, Canada and Mexico, leading to a surge in trade between the three countries. But Trump and other critics said it encouraged manufacturers to move south of the border to take advantage of low-wage Mexican wages, costing American jobs.

Trump campaigned on a promise to rewrite NAFTA — or get rid of it. Talks on a rewrite began more than a year ago. To placate Trump, Mexico agreed in August to provisions that would require 40 percent to 45 percent of a car be built in countries where auto workers earn at least $16 an hour to qualify for NAFTA’s duty-free benefits.

It was surprising that the United States found it easier to cut a deal with Mexico than with Canada, a longtime ally with a high-wage economy similar to America’s. “When this got started, Canada was the teacher’s pet and Mexico was the problem child,” said Michael Camunez, president of Monarch Global Strategies and former U.S. Commerce Department official.

But relations between Ottawa and Washington soured. In the aftermath of a disastrous G-7 summit in Quebec in June, Trump called Trudeau “weak” and “dishonest.”

The two countries need each other economically. Canada is by far the No. 1 destination for U.S. exports, and the U.S. market accounts for 75 percent of what Canada sells abroad.

PHOTO CAPTION

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau leaves the Office of the Prime Minister and Privy Council after an agreement was reached in the NAFTA negotiations in Ottawa, Ontario, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. The U.S. and Canada reached the basis of a free trade deal Sunday night, a senior Canadian government official said. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press via AP)

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Nation

86.5% of trucks inspected during CVSA Brake Safety Week had no OOS issues

Published

on

During a roadside inspection, if an inspector identifies critical vehicle inspection item violations, he or she will render the vehicle out of service, which means those violations must be corrected before the vehicle may proceed. (The Trucker file photo)

GREENBELT, Md. — The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance said Tuesday that inspectors conducted 34,320 commercial motor vehicle inspections during CVSA’s Brake Safety Week and placed 4,626 vehicles — or 13.5% — out of service after critical brake-related conditions were identified during roadside inspections.

CVSA noted that a majority — 86.5% — of vehicles inspected during the September 15-21 time period did not have any critical brake-related inspection item violations.

In 2018, CVSA said out of 35,080 inspections, 4,955 trucks — or 14.1% — were placed out of service.

In 2017, CVSA conducted only a Brake Safety Day, which resulted in 14% of trucks inspected being put out of service.

During a roadside inspection, if an inspector identifies critical vehicle inspection item violations, he or she will render the vehicle out of service, which means those violations must be corrected before the vehicle may proceed.

Sixty jurisdictions in Canada and the U.S. participated in this year’s Brake Safety Week.

In the U.S., 49 jurisdictions conducted 31,864 roadside inspections and placed 4,344 (13.6%) commercial motor vehicles out of service because of brake-related violations. In Canada, 11 jurisdictions conducted 2,456 roadside inspections and 282 (11.5%) commercial motor vehicles were placed out of service for brake-related violations.

As part of this year’s Brake Safety Week, inspectors also collected and reported data on brake hoses/tubing.

  • 2,567 units had chafed rubber hose violations.
  • 1,347 units had chafed thermoplastic hose violations.
  • 2,704 violations of § 393.45 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and Canadian equivalent violations included chafed rubber hoses.
  • There were 1,683 violations of § 393.45 of the FMCSRs and Canadian equivalent violations that included kinked thermoplastic hoses.

“Inspectors conduct more than 4 million roadside inspections every year and checking brake components is just one element of the inspection procedure inspectors perform on commercial motor vehicles every day,” said CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police. “This inspection and enforcement event reminds drivers and motor carriers of the importance of properly functioning brakes and spotlights the work done by inspectors, motor carriers and drivers every day to keep our roadways safe by ensuring vehicles are in appropriate working condition.”

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, highway crash fatality data for 2018, there was a 2.4% decline in overall fatalities, the second consecutive year of reduced crash fatalities. However, conversely, for 2018, large-truck related fatalities increased by 0.9%.

“While we applaud the decrease in the overall number of fatalities on our roadways last year, we’re alarmed by the increase in the number of large-truck-related fatalities,” Samis said. “CVSA conducts high-profile, high-visibility enforcement events, such as Brake Safety Week, to reduce the number of fatalities occurring on our roadways. Roadway safety is our number one priority and we will continue our efforts to improve brake safety throughout North America.”

Brake Safety Week is an inspection, enforcement, education and awareness initiative that is part of the Operation Airbrake Program sponsored by CVSA in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators.

 

 

 

Continue Reading

The Nation

Interstate bridge tolls key to Connecticut $21B plan; HD trucks would pay $7

Published

on

Gov. Ned Lamont’s transportation plan includes a proposal to place electronic toll gantries at 14 highway bridge locations across the state, 11 of which are located on interstates, including I-95, I-84, I-91, I-395 and I-684. (Associated Press: JESSICA HILL)

HARTFORD, Conn. — A $21 billion transportation plan proposed by Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont November 7 would invest $14 billion in Connecticut’s roads and bridges plus $7 billion in its public transit systems over the next decade and would rely on interstate bridge tolls for part of that funding.

The governor’s plan includes a proposal to place electronic toll gantries at 14 highway bridge locations across the state, 11 of which are located on interstates, including I-95, I-84, I-91, I-395 and I-684, according to a report in the Journal, the official magazine of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials..

Connecticut’s tolling proposal matches a similar effort instituted in Rhode Island in 2018 – an effort that survived a federal court challenge in March – although in Rhode Island’s case, its interstate bridge tolls apply only to heavy trucks.

The governor’s $21 billion plan, which breaks down to $2.1 billion worth of investment in Connecticut’s transportation system annually, is a more than $500 million per year increase compared to the previous level of state investment – which is roughly $1.6 billion per year, according to news sources.

“For generations, the state has neglected critical investments in our infrastructure, hampering economic growth and leaving residents in endless hours of traffic wondering why state officials didn’t fix these problems years ago,” Lamont said in a statement.

Lamont said that with six of the worst traffic bottlenecks in the country and 65 percent of its highways more than three decades old with 12 percent of its bridges rated in poor condition, “virtually anyone who regularly uses Connecticut’s transportation system agrees that the state desperately needs to make targeted improvements that reduce congestion and make travel quicker, safer, convenient, and reliable”

To pay for this 10-year transportation plan – dubbed Connecticut 2030 or CT2030 for short – the governor proposes to use a mix of fiscal resources, including:

  • $750 million in annual federal funding and grants.
  • Transportation Infrastructure Finance & Innovation Act or TIFIA loans, loans from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau, and Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing loans.
  • State general obligation bonds
  • The transfer of all car sales taxes to Connecticut’s Special Transportation Fund by 2023, making that fund solvent while establishing a 15 percent reserve fund.
  • Imposing select highway bridge tolls costing 50 cents to $1 for cars, $1.25 to $2.50 for medium-sized trucks, and $3.50 to $7.00 for heavy trucks. Lamont said he expects 40 percent of those tolls to be paid by out-of-state drivers.

“For the future of our state, we can no longer kick the can down the road on these improvements – we must fix this long overdue problem and move our state forward today,” the governor said.

Continue Reading

The Nation

Voters approve 90% of 305 state and local transportation ballot measures

Published

on

Officials said the preliminary results of the November 5 election reaffirm a decade-long trend of voters strongly supporting investments to maintain and improve their state or local transportation networks. (Courtesy: ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION)

WASHINGTON— Voters in 19 states on November 5 sent a decisive message of support for transportation investment, approving almost 90 percent of 305 state and local transportation ballot measures.

In total, the 270 approved initiatives are expected to generate over $9.6 billion in one-time and recurring revenue, according to the analysis conducted by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center (ARTBA-TIAC). Two measures in Texas are still pending.

“The ballot results are a great reminder infrastructure investment remains one of the few areas where red states, blue states, Republicans and Democrats can all come together,” ARTBA President Dave Bauer said.  “It should also demonstrate to lawmakers on Capitol Hill that the public will be on board for the passage of a long-term bill that significantly boosts highway and transit investment at the federal level.”

A complete report and an all-new interactive dashboard that filters results by state, mode, year and type of initiative are available at the Center’s flagship website at www.transportationinvestment.org.

The preliminary results reaffirm a decade-long trend of voters strongly supporting investments to maintain and improve their state or local transportation networks. Voters have approved 81 percent of nearly 2,000 transportation investment ballot measures tracked by ARTBA-TIAC since 2010, including this year’s results.

“Public support for increasing infrastructure investment continues to help local governments and the transportation construction community improve safety, mobility and overall quality of life for residents as projects get underway,” said Carolyn Kramer, ARTBA-TIAC director.

Voters in Maine overwhelmingly approved, by a 76 percent to 24 percent margin, a $105 million bond measure to support transportation infrastructure projects. The vote was Maine’s seventh successful transportation bond in eight years.

While transportation investment fared well nationwide, Washington state voters endorsed by a 56 percent to 44 percent margin a measure that reduces or repeals certain motor vehicle taxes and fees and removes the authority to impose certain new fees without their approval. This decision will cost the state nearly $4.3 billion in state and local transportation revenue over the next six years.

Voters in Colorado rejected by a 55 percent to 45 percent vote a measure that would have permitted the state to retain excess tax collections in order to fund education and transportation.

The 305 measures tracked by ARTBA-TIAC is the largest number ever for an odd-numbered, off-year election. Although historically most transportation measures are put on the ballot in even-numbered years when congressional or presidential elections drive higher turnout, an increasing number of measures are being considered by voters during odd-numbered years and primary elections.

There were 57 measures in 12 states that would raise over $20 million each, compared to 21 measures in 2017.  Of that total, 89 percent were approved.  Of 25 measures that would raise over $100 million, voters approved 92 percent.  This included a bond measure in Harris County, Texas to support transit expansions in Houston under the “Moving Forward Plan.”

Of the local ballot measures, most (302 of 305) were property tax increases, primarily in Ohio (154) and Michigan (15), where many municipalities consistently ask voters to renew such assessments to pay for local roads and infrastructure repairs.

Additionally, local bond measures in Texas appeared on 25 ballots and received 96 percent approval, which will generate nearly $6 billion. Most of these measures established municipal utility districts.

The approved measures will support $7.7 billion in new transportation investment revenue and $1.9 billion in continued funding through tax extensions, renewals or protections. The timing of the market impact of these actions is difficult to project as revenue approved will last up to 25 years.

 

 

Continue Reading

Trending