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Ohio governor OKs gas, diesel tax increase to repair roads

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Gov. Mike DeWine initially sought an increase of 18 cents a gallon for gas and diesel fuel and urged lawmakers not to reduce it. (The Trucker file photo)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has signed a transportation budget that increases Ohio’s tax on gas by 10.5 cents a gallon and the tax on diesel fuel by 19 cents to maintain deteriorating roads and bridges.

The new tax rates start July 1. The increases mean Ohioans will pay a state tax rate of 38.5 cents per gallon on gas and 47 cents a gallon on diesel fuel.

DeWine declined to veto other provisions of the bill, including one that allows for the removal of front license plates starting July 1, 2020. Some law enforcement groups oppose that change.

The measure also sets fees at $200 for alternative vehicles and $100 for hybrid vehicles.

The increases, contained in the state transportation budget, would mean more than $850 million more per year for road and bridge projects. The final deal also sends 45% of the revenue from the tax increase to local governments, up from the 40% they get on the current gas tax.

DeWine initially sought an increase of 18 cents a gallon for gas and diesel fuel and urged lawmakers not to reduce it. He called his proposal a “minimalist approach” that was necessary to fix the most serious problems as soon as possible.

“This was a job that no one relished,” DeWine said Tuesday at a press conference with legislative leaders. “This was something that, frankly, had to be done if this state is going to move forward.”

The House then passed an increase of 10.7 cents for gas and 20 cents for diesel fuel, while the Senate pushed for an increase of only 6 cents a gallon on both.

DeWine and Republican House Speaker Larry Householder then announced they had reached a deal under which the gas tax would rise by 11 cents a gallon and diesel fuel by 20 cents. But Senate lawmakers had not agreed to it.

Sen. Matt Dolan, a Chagrin Falls Republican, said senators held firm out of respect for Ohio drivers. He said every penny of gas tax raises $67 million.

Householder called it “a good compromise.”

“I think this is a reasonable approach. I think (for) the average Ohio driver, the effect is going to be less than $55 a year,” he said, adding, “The increase will go a long way to bring us forward as far as our infrastructure needs, and so it was necessary.”

Not everyone was pleased, however.

Republican state Rep. Niraj Antani, of Miamisburg, said the state had more than enough money between its rainy-day fund and budget surplus to fund infrastructure improvements.

“Raising taxes is the least creative solution ever used in government. The citizens of Ohio demand of us to do what is hard,” he said. Antani said separating of the gas and diesel taxes would hit the trucking industry hard and “haunt our community for decades.”

Fix Our Roads Ohio, a coalition representing local governments, transportation businesses and other stakeholders in the state’s road system, praised the compromise.

Spokesman Curt Steiner said it “will help ODOT avoid a crippling financial shortfall, fund needed maintenance and provide funding for priority highway improvement projects.”

Ohioans currently pay state tax of 28 cents on gas and the same for diesel fuel. Ohio hasn’t raised its state gas tax since 2005.

The compromise transportation bill also allows Ohio drivers to remove front license plates starting July 1, 2020. It also would set fees for alternative vehicles at $200 and $100 for hybrid vehicles.

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The Nation

Big rig loaded with mail crashes in Little Rock; tractor ends up on guard rail

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Part of a tractor hangs over the Interstate 440 railing after the driver couldn’t decide which ramp to take and crashed. (Courtesy: ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The old saying about those who deliver the mail goes something like this: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

But Sunday some indecision did.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation posted on its social media site that the driver of a tractor-trailer carrying a load of mail couldn’t decide which ramp to take off Interstate 440 Terminal Interchange with Interstate 30 and ended up striking the guard rail.

The tractor separated from the trailer and wound up hanging partially over the bridge railing.

Officials said one of the tractor’s fuel tanks became dislodged and fell onto Interstate 30 below causing an explosion and fire.

The driver was taken to a hospital, but her condition is unknown.

Traffic was delayed on both I-30 and I-440 which is the main thoroughfare between Little Rock and the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.

 

 

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Colorado DOT kicks off project to install media cable barriers on I-25

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DENVER — The Colorado Department of Transportation kicked off a seven-month project in June that aims to install new median cable barriers along Interstate 25 between Pueblo and Colorado Springs as a safety measure to prevent median crossover crashes.

According to an article in the Journal of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the Colorado agency noted in a June 14 statement that it is using a “multi-phased approach” based on vehicle crash history and traffic volumes to specifically locate the new cable median barriers – part of its Whole System – Whole Safety initiative that takes a systematic approach to safety that includes driving behaviors, the built environment, and operations.

“Improving the safety of Colorado’s transportation network by reducing the rate and severity of crashes and improving safety conditions for travelers is our main goal,” Shoshana Lew, executive director of the Colorado DOT, said in a statement. “The statewide program’s whole system approach is unique in how it brings together all areas of the driving experience, resulting in improved and enhanced safety for motorists.”

The $3.5 million project – expected to be completed by December – will remove any existing barrier structures and replace it with media cable barrier along with “added offset” from the travel lane and flattened median side slopes.

That will continue to eliminate vehicle cross-over crashes, the agency noted, while additionally reducing nuisance hits as the northbound cable barrier can be removed. The net effect will allow better maintenance access, reduced maintenance costs, better traffic flow, and further enhancing safety, Colorado DOT said.

A 68-page study wrapped up last year by the Center for Transportation Research and Education at Iowa State University determined that cable median barriers “significantly” reduce motor vehicle crash fatalities and injuries, though they do lead to an increase in “property-damage only” crashes, according to the collected data examined by the school’s researchers.

That study found that out of the 6,718 median-related crashes it examined over a nine-year period stretching from 2007 to 2015, cable media barrier safety devices reduced fatalities, incapacitating injuries, and non-incapacitating injuries by 68.7, 36.8, and 23.9 percent, respectively.

 

 

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Love’s opens new facilities in Michigan, Illinois and Pennsylvania

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The Hampshire, Illinois, location is located at 201 Love’s Crossing near Interstate 90 and U.S. Highway 20. (Courtesy: LOVE’S TRAVEL STOPS)

OKLAHOMA CITY — Love’s Travel Stops is now serving customers in three new locations — Bridgeport Charter Township, Michigan; Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania; and Hampshire, Illinois.

The Bridgeport Charter Township location at 6560 Dixie Highway (near Interstate 75 and Exit 144) adds 80 new jobs to Saginaw County and 87 truck parking spaces.

The Slippery Rock stop off Exit 105 and I-79, brings 40 jobs and 48 truck parking spaces.

The third location in Hampshire at 201 Love’s Crossing (near Interstate 90 and U.S. Highway 20), has 177 truck parking spaces and brings 80 jobs.

In total, Love’s is adding 312 truck parking spaces for professional drivers.

“These three locations place us in the perfect spots to serve more customers,” said Tom Love, executive chairman and founder of Love’s. “All are along major interstates that are popular for trade routes and leisure travel. We’re proud to add truck parking in areas where our customers need it.”

The travel stops are open 24/7 and offer many amenities.

Bridgeport, Michigan

More than 12,000 square feet of space, Hardee’s restaurant, 87 truck parking spaces, 87 car parking spaces, eight diesel bays, Speedco location on-site, four RV parking spaces, eight showers, laundry facilities, bean to cup gourmet coffee, brand-name snacks, Mobile to Go Zone with the latest electronics, CAT scale.

Hampshire, Illinois

More than 10,000 square feet of space, Arby’s restaurant, 177 truck parking spaces, 53 car parking spaces, nine diesel bays, Speedco location on-site, three RV parking spaces, seven showers, laundry facilities, bean to cup gourmet coffee, brand-name snacks, Mobile to Go Zone with the latest electronics, CAT scale.

Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania

More than 10,000 square feet of space, Subway restaurant, 48 truck parking spaces, 60 car parking spaces, seven diesel bays, Love’s Truck Tire Care center, two RV parking spaces, six showers, laundry facilities, bean to cup gourmet coffee, brand-name snacks, Mobile to Go Zone with the latest electronics, CAT scale.

In honor of the grand opening, Love’s will host ribbon cuttings and donate $2,000 to the Bridgeport Historical Society, Northern Butler County Feed My Sheep Food Cupboard in Slippery Rock and Hampshire High School.

 

 

 

 

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