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FHWA administrator designee says rural roads need attention

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Nicole Nason says if confirmed as FHWA administrator she will work toward helping find a solution to the Highway Trust Fund shortfall. (Courtesy: U.S. SENATE)

WASHINGTON — During a hearing before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on January 29, Nicole Nason said that, should the committee confirm her nomination as administrator of the Federal Highway Administration and the full Senate concurs, she plans to place a special focus on rural roadway safety.

“My priority is safety on all roads, but we must recognize and address some of the unique safety challenges faced by rural communities,” she explained in her testimony as reported in an article in the Journal, a publication of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

In 2017, Nason said, 37,133 people lost their lives in U.S. highway crashes. Yet, as an example of how rural communities are “disproportionately” affected by road safety issues, 17,216 of those fatalities occurred on rural roads, representing 47 percent of total fatalities for 2017 – even though only 19 percent of the U.S. population lives in rural areas.

“This is not acceptable. The only acceptable number is zero,” she said. “If confirmed, I will tirelessly support FHWA’s leadership role in providing safety-related assistance and resources to our stakeholders as we work towards a common goal of zero deaths on our nation’s roads.”

Other issues Nason plans to focus on if confirmed as the FHWA’s next administrator include:

  • The United States faces an “ongoing challenge” of preserving and improving over four million miles of public roads and over 600,000 bridges and tunnels, she said; thus ensuring sufficient investment in those assets is important not only because it enhances safety, but “because it further benefits all Americans by increasing mobility and stimulating our nation’s productivity and economic growth.”
  • Nason noted that while the Highway Trust Fund is projected to have enough cash to cover highway expenditures through the end of fiscal year 2020, a “sustainable, long-term funding solution” must be found. “If confirmed, I look forward to working with Congress to find a solution,” she said.

Nason also emphasized that FHWA will play a critical role in helping reauthorize surface transportation funding legislation, as the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation or FAST Act will expire at the end of fiscal year 2020. “I was proud to play a part in helping shape SAFETEA-LU [The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, which was passed in 2005] when I previously served at the department [USDOT] and I look forward to the prospect of working together on any infrastructure or reauthorization efforts,” she said. “I recognize that there are challenges to be addressed, but I am ready to work with the [Transportation] Secretary and the Congress to address these important issues as there is not a one-size fits all solution.”

Jim Tymon, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, voiced his support for Nason’s FHWA nomination and urged the committee to approve her.

“The Trump Administration made a wise choice with its nomination of Nicole Nason as the next FHWA Administrator. Given her nomination hearing today which was well-received by both sides of the aisle, we ask for a speedy approval by both the Committee and the full Senate,” he said in a statement. “Not only has Nason served as administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, she has also held the position of assistant secretary of government affairs at USDOT. We look forward to working with her to advance our nation’s transportation infrastructure goals through a strong partnership between FHWA and our state transportation departments.”

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., chairman of the EPW committee, also voiced his support for Nason’s nomination as well.

“I applaud President Trump’s nomination of such an accomplished and dedicated public servant,” Sen. Barrasso said in his opening statement. “She brings impressive, meaningful experience in federal transportation policy to this critically important position.”

He added that the authorization of federal highway programs “will expire in September of next year,” with the Congressional Budget Office projects the Highway Trust Fund will become insolvent sometime in 2021,” Sen. Barrasso noted.

He also stressed that America’s transportation infrastructure “faces a lot of challenges” and that for “far too long” FHWA has lacked Senate-confirmed leadership.

Ranking Member Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., made a special note of the HTF’s revenue issues in his remarks at the hearing.

“Last year, we spent about $13 billion more from the Highway Trust Fund than we collected in revenues. Next year, that deficit will be even greater,” he said. “To pay for the FAST Act, we took $70 billion from the general fund and other programs. For the next five-year transportation bill, we will need to find an additional $85 billion just to keep our programs at the current funding level. Despite spending more than we collect, we still aren’t even spending enough [as] the backlog of money needed to rehabilitate and improve highways and bridges has grown to $800 billion.”

“That’s why we must work together in this committee to write and pass a bipartisan highway bill that upgrades America’s roads and bridges in a fiscally responsible manner, and do it in this Congress,” Sen. Barrasso explained. “We successfully worked together to pass comprehensive, bipartisan water infrastructure legislation. Now let’s come together to fix our highways, roads, and bridges.”

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The Nation

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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