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TMAF advocating safer roads, bridges during Infrastructure Week

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TMAF Co-Chairman Kevin Burch said in an op-ed article in Morning Consult that the nation’s faulty infrastructure is threatening to slow down the trucking industry as well as America as a whole. (Courtesy: TMAF)

WASHINGTON — Trucking Moves America Forward (TMAF), the industry-wide education and image movement, is advocating lawmakers to invest in better and safer roads and bridges as part of its affiliation with the seventh annual Infrastructure Week, which runs through Saturday.

“With 3.5 million truck drivers on our highways every day working to deliver America’s goods, it’s imperative that we have safe and modern roads,” said Kevin Burch, co-chairman of TMAF and president of Jet Express. “A strong infrastructure network is critical to the success of the trucking industry and all of America. Our lives, businesses and economy depend on it. Our leaders must address the nation’s infrastructure gap and provide the proper funding to #BuildforTomorrow because, as the industry’s latest television commercial shows, life won’t wait.”

To help promote Infrastructure Week and its message, TMAF published an op-ed article in the publication of Morning Consult titled, “The Time to #BuildForTomorrow is Now” speaking to the importance of excellent roads and bridges

Morning Consult is a global technology company revolutionizing ways to collect, organize, and share survey research data to transform how decisions are made, according to its website.

“Despite poor road conditions and the traffic that results from it, 3.5 million professional truck drivers travel America’s roads every day,” Burch wrote. “Trucking professionals travel over 462 billion miles each year to make on-time deliveries to every corner of America. That’s because more than 80 percent of American communities rely solely on trucking for the delivery of their goods, including the gas in our car, food in our fridge, supplies in our office and medicine in our cabinet.”

But, Burch noted, a faulty infrastructure is threatening to slow down the trucking industry as well as America as a whole.

“According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, one of every five miles on our highways is in poor condition. More than one in eight bridges are considered functionally obsolete, which means that they can’t serve the current traffic demand. Congestion and traffic, which result from poor and inadequate infrastructure, are also problems. The ASCE found that more than two in every five miles on our interstates are congested, which costs Americans $160 billion in wasted time and fuel each year. In fact, the average commuter wastes 42 hours a year in traffic, costing us an average of $1,600 annually. Poor roads and congestion also have a very personal impact because life won’t wait when it comes to missing out on important life events.”

Throughout Infrastructure Week, TMAF is sharing messages about how strong infrastructure is critical to the success of the industry on its other social media properties, which include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

In addition, TMAF provided social media content for the industry to use throughout Infrastructure Week, including shareable images, in their monthly social media content calendar, which is available to members of the trucking industry.

To join the list and start receiving free social media content, email info@truckingmovesamerica.com.

 

 

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The Nation

Lane Departures: Why would California lawmakers saddle trucking with the ABC test?

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Well, he said he’d do it.

If you look elsewhere on this website, you’ll see a story I did about a week ago about AB5, a bill passed by the California Senate on September 10 into the waiting arms of Gov. Gavin Newsom, who had long telegraphed he was looking forward to signing it.

Yesterday, he did it. And come the new year, trucking is going to have to live with it.

AB5 — the full name is the “Employees and Independent Contractors” bill — is ostensibly intended to prevent employers from exploiting workers and skirting expenses by relying on “independent contractors” to make their businesses run instead of hiring full-fledged employees, who come with all kinds of nasty baggage like guaranteed minimum wages, overtime and payroll taxes, mandatory breaks, insurance and other horrific profit reducers.

The bill got off the ground in the wake of a court case last year in which a delivery company called Dynamex was determined to have improperly reclassified its workers as independent contractors in order to save money.  In making the decision, the court applied what is known as the ABC test, which presumes all workers should be classified as employees unless they meet three criteria.

Like the court case, the bill, which will codify the ABC test across the state, seems to have been at least in spirit aimed at companies like Dynamex that are part of that there so-called “gig economy” all the young folks are so hopped up about. Ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft are almost always mentioned as Public Enemies 1A and 1B of supposed independent contractor charlatans.

The problem with AB5, its critics say, is it proposes to perform an appendectomy with a chainsaw, ripping into industries that have long-established business models that extensively use independent contractors to the satisfaction of all involved.

A great big example would be trucking, because it appears the ABC test would prevent carriers from contracting with owner-operators or smaller fleets in California. I’ll let you imagine the consequences if that’s true.

If you’ve read the article, or your planning to read the article, I’d like to apologize in advance because as I’ve been learning about this AB5 business, I have some lingering questions that I could not answer. I have calls out to a couple of experts on the legal and logistical nuances. Unfortunately, experts don’t observe journalistic deadlines.

But then, I figured, this story is going to be around a while, so we can keep building on what we know. I may have answers to some of these questions by the time you read this. Or maybe you will be able to provide some of the answers. I mean, you don’t need to have a title or a degree or be part of a think tank to know a thing or two.

My first question is this: They didn’t pull this ABC test out of thin air. A majority of states already use the test in some manner on matters of job status. California’s application of ABC is based on Massachusetts’ broad, strict use of the test. So, hasn’t trucking had to contend with this standard there and in in other states already? I haven’t heard reports of empty store shelves in Massachusetts. Is there some simple workaround already in existence just waiting for cooler heads to prevail?

Second, from what I gather, ABC has had its critics for as long as it’s existed. Is it just the sheer size of California’s economy that makes this case so important or somehow different?

I’m going to go way out on a limb and say “probably.” Last year, California’s economy outgrew that of Great Britain. If it were an independent country, California would have the fifth-largest economy in the world. And what happens in California rarely stays in California. The state has a major influence on the rest of the nation.

California’s economy is closing in on $3 trillion a year. Real estate, finance, the entertainment industry and that nest of tech behemoths in Silicon Valley are responsible for big chunks of that.

And let’s not forget agriculture. California ranches and farms reaped $50 billion in receipts in 2017. That’s a lot of food, a lot of truckloads.

California also has some of the nation’s largest seaports. The Port of Long Beach alone sees about $200 billion in cargo a year, with 11,000 truckloads leaving the port each day. And most of what doesn’t go by truck from there eventually winds up on a truck somewhere inland.

Add it all up, and trucking is a huge player in the California economic machine. Why would lawmakers want to strip its gears with this law? Some lawmakers are even on record saying they are worried about what this could do to the industry. Then why are they doing it?

The bill’s sponsor, Democrat Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego, is not some gung-ho rookie lawmaker. She’s in her third term, and she already has made a national name for herself as a champion of the working class with several pieces of legislation she has supported.

AB5 could fit into that collection quite nicely. But it isn’t a trophy she needs in a hurry. She won her last two reelection campaigns by about a 3-1 margin.

And she’s also been around enough that she surely understands that despite its best intentions, the broad-stroke, one-size-fits-all approach AB5 takes will do more harm than good to many industries, including trucking.

In fact, she’s as much as said so. Gonzalez has already indicated that once the bill becomes law, she’d be open to making amendments and granting exemptions.

So why wait? The bill already grants exemptions to real estate, to doctors and dentists. Even newspaper delivery people got a last-minute, one-year exemption.

The California Trucking Association and the Western States Trucking Association pushed for an exemption. Dozens of truck drivers testified in Sacramento. And you have to think state legislators are at least vaguely aware of what goes on in their own districts.

So, they could grasp the importance of the guy who throws a newspaper in their driveway from a passing car at 4 a.m., but not of the people who deliver, like, everything everywhere all the time?

We all know how long fixing bad legislation can take. Even if they put it on the “fast track,” how much damage will occur before trucking can get an exemption?

I did hear back from one legal expert on the matter. Greg Feary, president and managing partner at Scopelitus, Garvin, Light, Hansen and Feary LLC, said there are a couple of cases in Ninth Circuit Court that could spell relief for the trucking industry. Even so, the legal system can move almost as slowly as the legislative system. He estimates California truckers are going to have to live with AB5 for at least a year.

Questions abound. I’m not looking forward to some of the answers.

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The Nation

Trucking submarine style in Texas

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Texas is getting hit hard with flooding.  This takes it to new levels!


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The Nation

Flooding in Texas – That cab’s gonna be a bit damp!

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KHOU reporter Melissa Correa happened to be on scene and captured this video.  Another motorist grabbed a hammer and rope and saved the drivers life.

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