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“Everyday Heroes” Kenworth T680 will once again be auctioned to support Truckers Against Trafficking

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Kenworth tat web

TOLLESON, Ariz. — In an effort to further educate and fund efforts against human trafficking, Inland Kenworth has once again put together a special “Everyday Heroes” Kenworth T680 with a very distinctive paint scheme and signage.

The project, in conjunction with Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), has received significant support from platinum sponsors Kenworth Truck Co., Inland Kenworth and Ritchie Bros., along with other leading industry suppliers.

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CAPTION FOR PHOTO

Courtesy: KENWORTH TRUCK CO.

Proceeds from the sale of this Kenworth T680, which has a retail value of $162,000, will go directly to Truckers Against Trafficking, a non-profit organization devoted to stopping human trafficking by educating, mobilizing, and empowering the nation’s truck drivers and rest stop employees.

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The Kenworth T680 Everyday Heroes truck will make its first public appearance at TAT’s Everyday Heroes Truck press conference on January 15 on the National Mall in Washington., From there, the truck will be displayed at the American Trucking Associations Technology and Maintenance Council 2019 annual meeting in Atlanta March 18-21, the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, March 28-30 and at Richie Bros., which will host the auction of the TAT Kenworth T680 in Phoenix on May 17.

Proceeds from the sale of the Kenworth T680, which has a retail value of $162,000, will go directly to TAT – a 501(c)3 non-profit devoted to stopping human trafficking by educating, mobilizing, and empowering the nation’s truck drivers and rest stop employees.

The special Kenworth T680 is fully loaded with a 76-inch sleeper, 485-hp Paccar MX-13 engine, and Paccar 12-speed automated transmission.

Don Blake, who serves as new truck sales manager at Inland Kenworth-Phoenix, is again spearheading the effort.

Blake said he’s been touched by the industry support for the Everyday Heroes Truck.

“This started out as an idea in 2017 that got rolling, and it was a great success. Now, the sponsors we’ve worked with again are so supportive. It shows our industry’s true colors to pull together to raise money for a great cause,” Blake said. “I’m especially appreciative to Kenworth. When I reached out to see if they would be a sponsor again, they were more than happy to help. Kenworth has been great to work with, and in 2019, the T680 will have its own booth at TMC and the Mid-America Trucking Show.

“Kenworth is a strong supporter of the efforts of Don Blake and Inland Kenworth in this important project. Don’s involvement with Truckers Against Trafficking is inspiring, and we look forward to a very successful fund-raising auction in May,” said Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director.

Even with the auction still five months away, Blake is ahead of schedule with signing sponsors at different sponsorship levels that help build the T680.

“Nearly every company that donated in the 2017 auction has agreed to sponsor the truck in 2019, and we’ve added new sponsors this year as well,” Blake said. “There are many good companies willing to donate their time and money to this great cause. When the auction is done, there will be an owner with a special truck that is fitted with the best specs.”

Entities providing support for the 2019 Everyday Heroes Kenworth T680 include platinum level sponsors Kenworth Truck Co., Inland Kenworth and Ritchie Bros; gold level sponsors Paccar Engine, SEG Automotive, and Swift Charities; silver level sponsors Bendix, Bridgestone, Eaton, FlowBelow, Horton, Jost, Meritor, Paccar Financial, Paccar, PeopleNet, Utility Trailer Sales of Arizona, and Wabco; and bronze level sponsors Alcoa, Arizona Rock Product Association, Arizona Trucking Association, Beaver Stripes and Molding, Chevron, ConMet, Davco, East Penn, Ex-Guard, National Seats, PrePass/Help Inc, Sheppard, and Tectran.

Blake’s initiative to contribute to TAT’s efforts led to an expanded role with the organization.  “Don became a TAT board member shortly after the 2017 auction,” said Kendis Paris, executive director of Truckers Against Trafficking. “Not only did we ask him to join the board due to his tremendous work on the Everyday Heroes Truck, but because Don is a true TAT champion. He believes deeply in the mission and enlists his resources and ideas.”

Through his involvement as a TAT board member, Blake is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the Everyday Heroes Truck press conference.

“I look forward to speaking and plan to share my story on how a small group of people can make a difference,” Blake said. “This organization means a lot to me. I have two daughters, and I can’t imagine anyone being subjected to human trafficking. There is a lot of work ahead to bring down this terrible crime, but I will continue to do my part.”

“The resources that Don orchestrates on TATs behalf allow us to deliver on our mission, which ultimately means more victims of human trafficking being recovered,” Paris said. “Not only does Don inspire others to join our cause, he inspires the TAT staff as well. He reminds us of the power of TAT champions and what can be accomplished when a person is truly motivated.”

According to Paris, truckers are making a big difference.

In the United States alone, profits from the crime of human trafficking are estimated to be worth $32 billion.

“Each year, more truck drivers and truck stop operators are added to the network of TAT trained and educated members – over 663,000 to date,” Paris said. “They are our eyes and ears out on the road and are relied upon to report suspicious activity.”

To further its education, TAT has the Freedom Driver’s project – a mobile exhibit, which educates members of the trucking industry.

“Through the project, we are able to educate more drivers each year,” Paris said. “They know how to identify and report suspicious activity to local law enforcement, which is making a huge impact towards generating human trafficking cases.

Through the national hotline (888-3737-888) operated by the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 2,250 calls have been made by truckers alone since the program began in 2009. So far, we’ve had more than 600 likely human trafficking cases, involving over 1,100 victims … many of whom are minors.”

Paris said TAT is paving the way in an effort to increase the public’s awareness about the crime of human trafficking.

In October 2018, a 15-person Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking was developed by the U.S. Department of Transportation. TAT’s Paris serves as one of the members. The committee’s goal is to develop strategies for reporting trafficking and provide DOT-funded programs that will tackle the growing issue. The committee held its first public meeting in early December.

More information is available on the TAT website at www.truckersagainsttrafficking.org.

 

 

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The Nation

Backlogs expected as weekly closure of eastbound Tuscarora Tunnel begins Sunday

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Backlogs expected as weekly closure of eastbound tuscarora tunnel begins sunday
All drivers on the Pennsylvania Turnpike are advised to expect delays while the eastbound Tuscarora Tunnel is closed for improvements and modernization. The tunnel will be closed every Sunday night and reopen at noon Friday each week through late June.

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission advises motorists traveling in both directions on Interstate 76 to be prepared for an ongoing closure of the eastbound tube of the Tuscarora Tunnel starting at 9 p.m. Sun., Feb. 23, and ending at noon Friday, Feb. 28.

The weekly tunnel closure, which will impact traffic in both directions in Franklin County, will continue until June 26; some schedule modifications may occur due to weather conditions or during holiday periods.

Eastbound traffic will be directed into one lane and then cross over to continue through one lane of the westbound tunnel. Motorists in both directions should be alert for a continuous single-lane traffic pattern approaching the tunnel and bidirectional traffic within the tunnel.

Additionally, no overwidth commercial vehicles will be allowed in the tunnel during bidirectional traffic patterns.

Motorists should be prepared for slow moving or stopped traffic approaching the Tuscarora Tunnel in both directions. Backlogs are expected daily in both directions beginning around mid-day and lasting into the evening hours. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has installed a smart work zone as part of this project which monitors current traffic conditions and displays travel times and slow or stopped traffic messages on Portable Changeable Message signs placed in advance of the tunnel in both directions.

Impacted motorists should visit www.511pa.com/tuscarora to view travel alerts and current travel times for the project and to find suggested detour routes.

Drivers are advised to turn on headlights, slow to the posted work-zone speed limit of 40 mph and keep an adequate distance from the vehicle ahead. Never pass inside the tunnel. Drivers who experience car trouble and cannot safely exit the tunnel should stay in the vehicle, put on the hazard lights, dial *11 from a mobile phone and wait for assistance. Tunnel personnel will monitor closed-circuit cameras and send help for disabled vehicles.

The Tuscarora Tunnel is located on I-76 between mileposts 186 and 187, between the Fort Littleton Interchange (Exit 180) and the Willow Hill Interchange (Exit 189) at the Huntingdon and Franklin county lines.

The tunnel crossovers are necessary as part of a four-year $110 million project to improve and modernize the Tuscarora Tunnel. The major tasks to be completed include the removal of ceiling slabs, a new ventilation system, new membrane waterproofing and the replacement of walkways, concrete barriers and the drainage system in the tunnels. Some enhancements have already been completed in the westbound tunnel, such as additional lighting, in-pavement lights and overhead lane-control signs.

The Tuscarora Tunnel eastbound tube opened in 1940 and the westbound tube opened in 1968. The two tunnels were last renovated in the 1980s. For more information about the Tuscarora Tunnel Rehabilitation Project visit www.PATurnpiketunnels.com.

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The Nation

Connecticut governor drops proposal for highway tolls for trucks

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HARTFORD, Conn.  — Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced on Wednesday, Feb. 19, that he is dropping his plan for highway tolls for trucks, expressing frustration with legislative leaders who have delayed a vote on the issue.

The Democratic-controlled General Assembly had planned to vote Thursday on the tolls, which were under consideration to fund a wide-ranging transportation improvement plan. But Lamont, also a Democrat, said the Senate informed him that it needed more time, once again.

“I’ve got a Legislature that doesn’t want to make a choice,” Lamont said at a news conference. “I think it’s time to take a pause.”

Tolls on trucks had been projected to raise an estimate $200 million annually. Lamont said he plans for now to generate that money instead through state borrowing to help finance his roughly $19 billion 2030 transportation improvement plan.

“I hate to do it this way. It’s bonding in place of other things that are priorities,” he said. “But right now, there’s no other option on the table.”

As Lamont was talking to reporters, the Senate Democrats issued a statement saying the caucus was “still confident” it will have the necessary number of votes to pass a transportation plan with 12 toll gantries on 18-wheeler trucks only. In a joint statement, Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, D-New Haven, and Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, said they had only asked for five more days because the senators needed that time to prepare for an anticipated two-day, 30-hour debate over tolls.

“We are prepared to hold a session next week to vote on a bill to make the necessary transportation improvements for Connecticut’s economic development, residents and businesses,” they said.

Minority Republican leaders were doubtful the issue of tolls, which has hounded Lamont and his administration since the former businessman first took office in January 2019, will be resurrected for a vote during this legislative session, which ends in May. But they didn’t rule out the issue returning next year.

“Nothing’s dead in this building,” said Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano, of North Haven. “Back up again this session? I might be a little bit surprised. Back up again in 2021, I think you could probably bank on it.”

Some House Democrats expressed disappointment about Lamont’s announcement he’s not going to push ahead with tolls.

“This is crazy — let’s vote on the plan,” tweeted Rep. Steve Stafstrom, D-Bridgeport. “Continuing to kick the can down the road and borrowing even more money 100% on the backs of CT taxpayers is what got us in this mess to start with.”

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The Nation

ATRI releases annual list of top 100 truck bottlenecks; Atlanta makes list 3 times

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Three different areas of Atlanta made ATRI’s list of most congested bottlenecks. (iStock Photo)

ARLINGTON, Va. — The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has released its annual list highlighting the most congested bottlenecks for trucks in America.

The 2020 Top Truck Bottleneck List assesses the level of truck-involved congestion at 300 locations on the national highway system. The analysis, based on truck GPS data from over 1 million heavy duty trucks uses several customized software applications and analysis methods, along with terabytes of data from trucking operations to produce a congestion impact ranking for each location. ATRI’s truck GPS data is also used to support the U.S. DOT’s Freight Mobility Initiative. The bottleneck locations detailed in this latest ATRI list represent the top 100 congested locations, although ATRI continuously monitors more than 300 freight-critical locations.

The intersection of I-95 and State Route 4 in Fort Lee, New Jersey is once again the No. 1 freight bottleneck in the country. The rest of the Top 10 includes:

  1. Atlanta: I-285 at I-85 (North)
  2. Nashville: I-24/I-40 at I-440 (East)
  3. Houston: I-45 at I-69/US 59
  4. Atlanta, GA: I-75 at I-285 (North)
  5. Chicago, IL: I-290 at I-90/I-94
  6. Atlanta, GA: I-20 at I-285 (West)
  7. Cincinnati, OH: I-71 at I-75
  8. Los Angeles, CA: SR 60 at SR 57
  9. Los Angeles, CA: I-710 at I-105

“ATRI’s bottleneck analysis is an important tool for TDOT as we work to maximize the safety and efficiency of our transportation system, and ensure we are making the smartest investments possible,” said Tennessee Department of Transportation Assistant Bureau Chief Freight & Logistics Dan Pallme. “The additional capacity we are providing as part of the ongoing I-440 Reconstruction Project should improve the safety and reliability of this important corridor, which we know is critical to freight movement.”

ATRI’s analysis, which utilized data from 2019, found that the number of locations experiencing significant congestion — with average daily speeds of 45 MPH or less — has increased 92 percent in just five years, far outpacing the 10 percent growth in traffic congestion for that same time period.

“ATA has been beating the drum about the continued degradation of our infrastructure, and thanks to ATRI’s research we can see exactly how decades of ignoring the problem are impacting not just our industry but our economy and commuters everywhere,” said American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear. “This report should sound the alarm for policymakers that the cost of doing nothing is too high and provide a roadmap of where to target investments to really solve our nation’s mounting infrastructure crisis.”

For access to the full report, including detailed information on each of the 100 top congested locations, please visit ATRI’s website at TruckingResearch.org.

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