TAM Testimony – Related to legislation filed relative to autonomous vehicles

On Jan. 17, Kevin Weeks, the executive director of the Trucking Association of Massachusetts, submitted written testimony relative to House Bill 3013, Senate Bill 2115, House Bill 3143, and House Bill 3089 filed relative to autonomous vehicles. The testimony is provided below, and a PDF is available for download.

For additional information, contact the Trucking Association of Massachusetts.

Honorable William Straus, House Chair
Honorable Joseph Boncore, Senate Chair
Joint Committee on Transportation
State House, Room 134
Boston, Massachusetts 02133

Dear Chair Straus, Chair Boncore, and Members of the Committee:

On behalf of the over 250 member companies of the Trucking Association of Massachusetts (“TAM”) which employ thousands of individuals throughout the Commonwealth, I am writing in regard to House Bill 3013, Senate Bill 2115, House Bill 3143, and House Bill 3089 filed relative to autonomous vehicles. We ask that you consider the potential impact of regulating autonomous vehicles carrying passengers on the trucking industry as it begins to implement autonomous technology on its trucks.

The TAM recognizes the importance of considering regulations on passenger vehicles at this time, but autonomous technology as related to autonomous trucks is still developing and will have the ability to benefit all aspects of the industry. Regulations on passenger vehicles at this time may inadvertently limit the use of these autonomous trucks in the future. A fully autonomous truck will have the ability to identify, interact with and safely react to all aspects of the driving environment without a driver in control of the wheel. However, it may be decades before this vehicle could be commercially available. For your reference, we have again enclosed a report by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) that outlines the future of AV technology in the trucking industry.

There are different levels of “autonomy” that come with different technologies, functionalities, and expectations. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) have developed automation scales ranging from Level 0 of no automation to Level 5 of full automation where no operator is present in the truck. Level 3 is conditional automation where an automated system can actually conduct some parts of the driving task, but there must be a driver present to take back control of when the automated system requests. The timeline of Level 3 and Level 5 trucks replacing the existing US trucks is dependent on the investment in research and development.

The progressive implementation of these levels of autonomous technology will benefit the industry as it will increase driver health and wellness and their productivity, address industry issues of driver shortage and retention, and decrease need for truck parking facilities. Road safety will also increase as urban congestion is mitigated with the widespread use of autonomous vehicles.

Drivers currently work and drive in 14-hour shifts driving up to 11 of those hours. Autonomous trucks would allow for drivers to take more rest breaks, simultaneously increasing road safety with driver awareness and increasing productivity. Due to these conditions, there is currently a shortage of 48,000 drivers that will increase to 175,000 drivers by 2024. To address this issue, the use of autonomous technology can make truck driving an attractive career as it decreases fatigue and stress, and allows drivers to get home earlier. The technology would also decrease the number of trucks needed, leading to a decreased driver shortage.

Please refer to the attached report by ATRI for further information of the impact of autonomous technology on the trucking industry when considering the legislation regarding autonomous vehicles before your committee. I appreciate your consideration of this important matter. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.consider the potential impact of regulating autonomous vehicles carrying passengers on the trucking industry as it begins to implement autonomous technology on its trucks.

Sincerely,

Kevin Weeks
Executive Director

TAM Testimony – Concerning House Bill 3980, An Act to Promote Commercial Driving Safety

On Jan. 2, Kevin Weeks, the executive director of the Trucking Association of Massachusetts, submitted written testimony relative to House Bill 3980, An Act to Promote Commercial Driving Safety. The testimony is provided below, and a PDF is available for download.

For additional information, contact the Trucking Association of Massachusetts.

Honorable William Straus, House Chair
Honorable Joseph Boncore, Senate Chair
Joint Committee on Transportation
State House, Room 134
Boston, Massachusetts 02133

Dear Chair Boncore, Chair Straus and Members of the Committee:

On behalf of the Trucking Association of Massachusetts (TAM), I am writing relative to House Bill 3980, An Act to Promote Commercial Driving Safety. TAM, which has a proven history of supporting increased public safety measures, respectfully requests that this legislation be amended to reflect a variety of practical considerations that will not impact the public safety objectives of this legislation.

As you know, TAM has been the voice of the trucking industry in Massachusetts since 1919. One of the oldest transportation associations within the Commonwealth, our membership represents a wide variety of companies ranging from small, family owned trucking companies with a single truck to large national trucking companies with thousands of trucks. The trucking industry within the Commonwealth is responsible for transporting 87%-93% of all goods and products found in our homes and workplaces. In addition to being a key facilitator for the growth of other industries, the trucking industry is a significant creator of jobs within the Commonwealth. As a recent study by the Dukakis Center for Urban Research & Policy at Northeastern University stated “[t]he overall trucking industry (including private and for-hire tucking) represent about one in 12 jobs or about 300,000 jobs in Massachusetts in 2017. And, trucking companies meet all Massachusetts freight movement needs.” (“The Importance of the Trucking Industry to the Massachusetts Economy”, Pritchard, R. & Scott, A., p.3 (May 2018)).

Most importantly, TAM and its members work to ensure that the Commonwealth’s roadways are safe for the general public as well as commercial motor vehicles. Safety is the single most important consideration for trucking companies or companies with trucking fleets – whether hauling hazardous materials, household goods or food products. As a result, TAM and its members work closely with local, state and federal officials to ensure that drivers are appropriately trained and licensed; tractors and trailers are legally compliant and safe for operation, and best management practices for reducing risk are employed every day.

In reviewing, HB3980, TAM respectfully requests that the Committee consider the following four areas for potential amendment:

(1). Section 11: Three years clear driving history and the unintentional increase to the minimum age for a CDL. A plain reading of Section 11 of HB3980 would appear to push the Commonwealth’s minimum driving age for acquiring a CDL license to 19+. Specifically, the bill’s language states: “An applicant for a commercial driver’s license shall be a duly licensed motor vehicle operator for a period of 3 continuous years immediately prior to his or her application.”. In the Commonwealth, the earliest an individual can obtain a junior driver’s license is 16 ½ years old. A requirement for a three year period of clear driving would accordingly push the minimum age for acquiring a CDL to 19½ years of age. This will push the minimum age qualification for an intrastate CDL from the current standard of 18 years of age. Given that an 18 year old may currently hold a CDL for in-state operation of a commercial motor vehicle, HB3980 will harm employers who utilize 18 year old to 19½ year old intrastate operators.

(2). Section 11: Prohibition for obtaining a CDL and the types of infractions which cause a suspension. HB3980 would prohibit the issuance of a CDL due to a wide range of previously committed offenses resulting in a suspended license for the applicant. However, the list of offenses that could result in the suspension of the CDL applicant’s Class D driver’s license contains a number of offenses that have nothing to do with driving. For example, a license suspension resulting from Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266, §126A ( “tagging”, aka grafitti) or Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 90, §22G (“littering”) would prevent an individual from ever being eligible for a CDL. While not condoning such action, it is still difficult to understand why offenses unrelated to driving or, even, not actual moving violations should prevent an applicant from applying for a CDL. (Note: if a standard needs to be restated, consider instead using the criteria established in Melanie’s law, Chapter 122 of the Acts of 2005, already used by trucking companies / truck driving schools.).

(3). Section 11: Grandfathering students currently in truck driving schools or training programs. Under Section 11’s prohibitions for acquiring a CDL, the enactment of HB3980 would potentially harm students, enrolled at that time, in truck driving schools or training programs, who would otherwise be disqualified from driving a truck. Under existing law, potential applicants for CDLs are not in jeopardy because of a previous license suspension due to littering, the failure to pay child support or a similar type of infraction. However, the enactment of HB3980, without some type of grandfathering clause, would cause financial and other harms to these individuals, who started a truck driving school or training program before they knew they would be prohibited from obtaining a CDL. Accordingly, TAM respectfully requests that a provision be included within the legislation to “grandfather” any students in a truck driving or training program at the time any potential law is made effective.

(4). Section 16: Definition of employers. This section requires employers to register for the Registry of Motor Vehicles’ (RMV’s) free driver verification service (DVS) service. The question from many of the companies within a number of industries is simple – how far does the definition of employer extend? For example, if a national company has many out of state CDL holders and a few CDL holders licensed in Massachusetts, must it sign up for the RMV’s DVS for every employee or independent contractor? Likewise, if an employer already uses a “pay” service that exceeds the requirements of the DVS, must an employer register for a second, redundant service? Again, TAM welcomes the opportunity to work with the Committee to clarify these questions in the proposed law so that the Commonwealth’s roadways are made safer without unnecessarily harming employers or their employees.

Trucking is a heavily regulated industry. The laws and regulations, whether federal or state, that oversee the industry ensure that both drivers and their equipment meet stringent safety standards and training. TAM appreciates the thought that has gone into HB3980; it is a piece of legislation that aims to close potential loopholes in the CDL law. The legislation’s provisions implementing a reasonable electronic device hands-free prohibition, penalties for inappropriate approaches to railroad crossings and empowering the RMV to suspend a CDL on notice from another government entity are laudable public safety measures. With that in mind, TAM, through the four aforementioned points listed above, seeks to make the legislation before the Committee one that protects the public, yet understands the practical considerations trucking companies must address in order to comply with the proposed law.

I appreciate your consideration of this important matter. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Sincerely,

Kevin Weeks
Executive Director

TAM Testimony – Opposition to House Bill 3129, and in support of Senate Bill 2141

On Jan. 2, Kevin Weeks, the executive director of the Trucking Association of Massachusetts, submitted written testimony in opposition to House Bill 3129, An Act relative to the use of liquid calcium chloride on state highways, and in support of Senate Bill 2141, An Act relative to commercial fees. The testimony is provided below, and a PDF is available for download.

For additional information, contact the Trucking Association of Massachusetts.

Honorable Joseph Boncore, Senate Chair
Honorable William Straus, House Chair
Joint Committee on Transportation
State House, Room 134
Boston, Massachusetts 02133

Dear Chair Straus, Chair Boncore and Members of the Committee:

On behalf of the over 250 trucking company members of the Trucking Association of Massachusetts (“TAM”), I am writing in opposition to House Bill 3129, An Act relative to the use of liquid calcium chloride on state highways, and in support of Senate Bill 2141, An Act relative to commercial fees.

House Bill 3129 seeks to prevent the use of liquid calcium chloride for the treatment, prevention or removal of snow or ice on roads or bridges within the Commonwealth, or for any other related purpose. As you may know, liquid calcium chloride is used to pre-wet salts as part of an anti-icing strategy. The liquid calcium chloride is applied to dry salts before or during salt application to the pavement. When the liquid is applied to the rock salt particle, it penetrates ice and snow pack better and decreases the loss of salt from traffic action by 30%. The use of liquid calcium chloride as part of anti-icing strategy is proactive in ice control as it prevents ice from bonding to the surface and leads to better pavement conditions, easier clean-up, and requires less chemicals, decreasing the environmental impact.

During winter storm conditions, trucking companies are specifically concerned about the accumulation of snow and ice on the Commonwealth’s roads and bridges. Accordingly, TAM supports strategies that address snow and ice control in as efficient and safe a manner as possible. Calcium chloride is the most widely used non-sodium chloride deicer and provides performance advantages over other deicers as only small quantities are necessary due to its ability to melt ice faster and at lower temperatures. These qualities decrease costs, increase safety, and minimize environmental impact. As a result, discontinuing the use of liquid calcium chloride will likely lead to a number of avoidable harms. Primarily, discontinuing the use of liquid calcium chloride will increase costs by increasing the quantity of salt that must be used on roads and bridges while increasing the likelihood excess rock salt will make its way into sensitive environmental areas adjacent to the Commonwealth’s roads and bridges. Given a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s report that Massachusetts has among the lowest road fatality rate in the nation for trucking, now is not the time change a successful process.

With respect to Senate Bill 2141, the legislation proposes to cap fees on any individual fee to no more than 2.5 per cent in a calendar year. As well, the legislation requires the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) to offer a discount for any person registering 5 or more units in a calendar year, including but not limited to, semi-trailers (normal), semi-trailer (reserved), trailer (normal), trailer (reserved). The discount shall be in an amount of no less than 10 percent of each registration fee they would otherwise incur. Finally, the legislation requires the RMV to issue a report to the legislature within 90 days offering recommendations to reduce the cost of operating a commercial vehicle or unit in Massachusetts in order to promote competition with neighboring states.

Just as TAM has argued in favor of eliminating the state’s rolling stock tax, Massachusetts is a comparatively expensive jurisdiction to domicile or operate a trucking company within. Certain taxes and fees on essential aspects of operating a trucking company are simply higher than those in the other New England states. SB2141 would provide a small measure of relief by reducing the potential for large fee increases while also offering a key reduction in costs for fleet registration. To retain the trucking industry’s presence in the Commonwealth, which in turn reduces costs for consumers and creates jobs for residents, there needs to be a competitive environment to foster the growth of this important industry. SB2141 will provide a reasonable and measured strategy for creating a sustainable platform for the trucking industry in this state.

I appreciate your consideration of these two important matters. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Sincerely,

Kevin Weeks
Executive Director

TAM Testimony – In opposition to Senate Bill 2148, and House Bills 3027 & 3670

On July 26, Kevin Weeks, the executive director of the Trucking Association of Massachusetts, submitted written testimony in opposition to House Bill 3027, An Act Relative to Route 60 in the Towns of Arlington and Medford; Senate Bill 2148, Relative to the Use of the Neponset Valley Parkway in the Town of Milton; and House Bill 3670, An Act Relative to Municipal Truck Routes. The testimony is provided below, and a PDF is available for download.

For additional information, contact the Trucking Association of Massachusetts.

Honorable William Straus, House Chairman
Honorable Joseph Boncore, Senate Chairman
State House, Room 134
Boston, Massachusetts 02133

Dear Chairmen and Members of the Committee:

On behalf of the over 250 trucking company members of the Trucking Association of Massachusetts (“TAM”), I am writing in strong opposition to House Bill 3027, An Act Relative to Route 60 in the Towns of Arlington and Medford; Senate Bill 2148, Relative to the Use of the Neponset Valley Parkway in the Town of Milton; and House Bill 3670, An Act Relative to Municipal Truck Routes. TAM respectfully requests that these bills be held in committee due to existing federal and state regulations already governing the transportation of hazardous materials, specifically, and the effect on neighboring municipalities, generally.

Under the applicable provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (“STAA”), local governments are prohibited from denying reasonable access to trucks. 49 U.S.C. § 31114. Further, under the STAA, trucks transporting household goods must have access to points of loads and unloading. 49 U.S.C. 31114(a)(2) and 23 C.F.R. 6 658.19(a). A municipality, if legally trying to create citywide or even specific route exclusions, cannot unilaterally declare that limited truck routes exist within its confines. 23 C.F.R. § 658.11(d)(1). A local municipality must petition the Governor of the Commonwealth, through his representative, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (“MassDOT”), for truck route and time exclusions. Id. The state’s request is then forwarded to the Federal Highway Administration (“FHWA”) – this approval by FHWA constitutes the final decision of the United States Department of Transportation. 23 C.F.R. § 658.11.

Further, the federal government has taken a lead role in coordinating the regulation of transporting hazardous materials through the Nation, generally, and states, specifically. 49 U.S.C §5101 (“purpose of this chapter is to provide adequate protection against the risks to life and property inherent in the transportation of hazardous material in commerce by improving the regulatory and enforcement authority of the Secretary of Transportation”). To preserve this authority, Congress included language providing a federal preemption of any state, local or territory hazardous materials route established after 1994 that did not follow an appropriate review and study process. 49 USC §5125. Accordingly, federal law provides such a mechanism; namely, allowing a State or Indian tribe to establish, maintain, or enforce a highway routing designation over which hazardous material may or may not be transported by motor vehicles, or a limitation or requirement related to highway routing, only if the designation, limitation, or requirement complies with 49 U.S.C. 5112(b). 49 U.S.C. 5125(c)(1) (emphasis added).

The standards required by 49 U.S.C. 5112(b) for establishing highway routing requirements for non-radioactive hazardous materials (“NRHM”) are set forth in 49 CFR part 397, subpart C, and apply to any designations established or modified on or after November 14, 1994. 49 CFR 397.69(a). A State, a political subdivision or Indian tribe must follow these standards, promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”), when establishing highway routing requirements for hazardous materials. The procedures and standards include, but are not limited to: notice to the public for comment (49 CFR §371.71(b)(2)); ensuring through routing between adjacent areas (49 CFR §371.71(b)(4)); allowing reasonable access to points of loading and unloading (49 CFR §371.71(b)(7)); a requirement for the state designated “routing agency” to ensure compliance with federal regulations, if a political subdivision seeks to create a NRHM route (49 CFR §371.71(b)(8)); conducting a complete analysis and review, including but not limited to effects on affected persons and localities, among other factors. (49 CFR §371.71(b)(9)). The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is considered a “State” for purposes of hazardous materials transportation law. 49 U.S.C. 5102(11)(a). The designated “routing agency” of the Commonwealth is the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. 49 CFR §397.65.

In similar cases, routing designations in a major metropolitan city were preempted because the city failed to comply with routing standards under 49 CFR Part 397. 71 Fed. Reg. 18137 (April 10, 2006) (finding that the local government of Washington, DC never conducted a routing designation analysis nor followed the appropriate and governing federal procedure for determining such route). FMCSA’s regulations require compliance with the highway routing standards in 49 CFR §397.71 when a state establishes or modifies a highway routing designation and maintains or enforces such designation. Id. at 18141 (emphasis added). Likewise, a City ordinance limiting trucks carrying hazardous materials to one street was found to be preempted when the city failed to comply with routing standards in 49 CFR Part 397. 66 Fed. Reg. 37260 (July 17, 2001)(finding a Morrisville, PA routing requirement for transportation of ‘dangerous waste’ was preempted).

As written, these three bills seek to eliminate MassDOT’s ability to oversee highway routing and conduct the analysis required under federal law and regulations to institute a non-hazardous material and a hazardous material truck route and, in effect, a truck ban on other roads. As an extensive federal process is already in place, it is unlikely that either of these bills would survive a federal preemption challenge. That said, it also remains unclear whether the regulation of interstate and intrastate hazardous material transportation inappropriately might infringe on the commerce clause of the United States Constitution due to the outright prohibition of through traffic on the roads contemplated in these bills.

On a state level, it is already well established that no municipality may regulate the use of motor vehicles on public ways without the approval of the MassDOT. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 90, § 18; See also Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 90, §19 (providing for regulation of trucks and trailers under the authority of MassDOT for purposes of creating truck exclusions). Of note, a local municipality’s regulations banning certain types of traffic in opposition to state law is invalid. American Motorcyclist Ass’n v. Park Comm. of City of Brockton, 412 Mass. 753 (1992)(finding local ordinance banning certain class of motor vehicles inconsistent with the Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 90, §18 which provides a comprehensive regulatory scheme.). While municipalities are given broad powers under Article 89 of the Massachusetts Constitution, this power is not so expansive as to permit local ordinances that regulate areas outside a municipality’s limits. Id. at 442. It is hard to imagine that banning access to a municipality or neighboring municipalities for purposes of deliveries is in line with existing Commonwealth policies that support cogent transportation planning.

TAM urges the Committee to closely examine any effect that routing restrictions or truck exclusions have on the seamless transport of goods from one location to another in the most efficient and safest manner. The TAM firmly supports the existing federal and state laws already in place. Truck route restrictions in one municipality often have a dramatic effect on vehicular traffic – truck or otherwise – in neighboring municipalities. Put simply, one municipality’s routing restriction not only dictates what may occur within its geographic boundaries, but what must occur outside of its boundaries. Accordingly, such routing decisions require more thorough study in accordance with federal law and regulations than that which is proposed in the legislation before the Committee – notwithstanding the numerous federal preemption and constitutional issues it raises.

I appreciate your attention to this important matter and respectfully ask that HB3027, HB3670 and SB2148 be held in committee for further study. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Kevin Weeks
Executive Director

TAM Testimony – In opposition to House Bill 312, Model Carrier Reporting Requirement

On July 26, Kevin Weeks, the executive director of the Trucking Association of Massachusetts, submitted written testimony in opposition to House Bill 312, An Act Relative to a Model Carrier Reporting Requirement.. The testimony is provided below, and a PDF is available for download.

For additional information, contact the Trucking Association of Massachusetts.

Honorable Tackey Chan, House Chairman
Honorable Paul Feeney, Senate Chairman
Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure
State House, Room 42
Boston, Massachusetts 02133

Dear Chairman Feeney, Chairman Chan and Members of the Committee:

On behalf of the over 250 member companies of the Massachusetts Motor Transportation Association (TAM), I am writing in strong opposition to House Bill 312, An Act Relative to a Model Carrier Reporting Requirement. This legislation, which contains many practical problems, is in direct opposition to federal law and accompanying case law.

As you know, House Bill 312 would require railroad companies, express companies, common or contract carriers, and firms or corporations that bring, carry or transport wine, beer or distilled spirits to file monthly reports with the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission. The legislation requires that these monthly reports to include information regarding the name and license number of the supplier, the quantity of wine, beer or distilled spirits shipped, the recipient’s name and address, and an electronic or paper form of signature from the recipient of the wine, beer or distilled spirits. (emphasis added). Finally, the legislation requires the preservation of such records for 3 years and includes staggered penalties for violations of the proposed law.

At the outset, House Bill 312 is likely preempted by a number of federal provisions governing the trucking industry. Federal law has preemption over state law where Congress has expressed a clear and manifest purpose in regulating a specific industry. Rice v. Santa Fe Elevator Corp., 331 U.S. 218, 230 (1947). Here, Congress has quite clearly chosen to regulate states’ abilities to regulate the trucking industry and the transportation of property. In particular, federal law prohibits a state from enacting or enforcing “a law or regulation or other provision having the force or effect related to the price, route or service of any motor carrier or any motor carrier, broker or freight forwarder with respect to the transportation of property.” 49 U.S.C. § 1450(c)(1). Moreover, direct freight shippers, such as FedEx and United Parcel Service (“UPS”), are also governed by a similar provision governing direct air carriers. 49 U.S.C. §4173(b)(4). As such, any state law that conflicts with the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution is null and void. Maryland v. Louisiana, 451 U.S. 725, 746 (1981).

House Bill 312’s restrictions on the acceptance of packages by delivery companies, conditions on the conduct of their drivers, and the imposition of significant costs and restrictions clearly affects “the price, route or service of any motor carrier or any motor carrier, broker or freight forwarder with respect to the transportation of property.” See 49 U.S.C. 1450(c)(1). Many of the actions listed in this legislation directly contradict federal law regulating interstate commerce. No motor carrier or delivery service will be able to incorporate the requirements of this legislation without having an effect on their pricing or service. As a result, House Bill 312 contravenes existing federal law and, if passed, will not survive a likely federal preemption challenge.

To this point, the United States Supreme Court has already decided that a similar, tobacco-related law in Maine, which required similar electronic signature verification and an accounting of package contents, violated federal law. Rowe v. New Hampshire Motor Transp. Assn., 552 U.S. 364 (2008). Much like House Bill 312, which both presumes the motor carrier knows the quantity of the alcohol in the shipped package and maintains certain state-specified information, the United States Supreme Court found that Maine’s similar requirement violated 49 U.S.C. § 14501 because the proposed tobacco law created:

“a conclusive presumption of carrier knowledge that a shipment contains tobacco in the specified circumstances. That presumption means that the law imposes civil liability upon the carrier, not simply for its knowing transport of (unlicensed) tobacco, but for the carrier’s failure sufficiently to examine every package. The provision thus requires the carrier to check each shipment for certain markings and to compare it against the list of proscribed shippers, thereby directly regulating a significant aspect of the motor carrier’s package pick-up and delivery service and creating the kind of state-mandated regulation that the federal Act [49 U.S.C. § 14501] pre-empts.” 552 U.S. 364, at 369-370.

Just like the proposed law invalidated by Rowe, HB312 requires transporters to report the quantity of alcohol being shipped and verify certain information is in accordance with state-mandated requirements. Notwithstanding any purported public health purpose, the court in Rowe specifically ruled that “to insist that the carriers provide a special checking system would allow other States to do the same. And to interpret the federal law to permit these, and similar, state requirements could easily lead to a patchwork of state service-determining laws, rules, and regulations.” Id. Finally, with respect to any public health argument offered by proponents of this legislation, the court in Rowe held that “the federal law does not create a public health exception, but, to the contrary, explicitly lists a set of exceptions that do not include public health. See, e.g., §§14501(c)(2) to (c)(3).” Id. at 371.

For the aforementioned reasons, the TAM respectfully requests that the Committee issue a study order for HB312. If the Committee wishes to attempt a redraft of this legislation, the TAM respectfully requests a role in such process to offer insight as to what is practicable and legal to require from motor carriers. Otherwise, any such state law may simply be reversed for failure to comply with judicial precedent surrounding 49 U.S.C. § 14501.

I appreciate your consideration of this important matter. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Sincerely,

Kevin Weeks
Executive Director

1 This legislation presents many practical problems for trucking companies. First, there is no way for a motor carrier to actually know what the “quantity” of alcohol in a package is, the motor carrier does not assemble the package. Calculating the weight of a package does not reveal the quantity of alcohol in a package, it reveals the weight of the alcohol, the alcohol container, the packing slips and any internal package protection. Second, not every state requires a “license number for the shipper” to be either tracked or included as part of the receipt or shipping label. This would require companies to create an additional space in uniform packing slips and labels, not to mention, updating software systems, just to account for a Massachusetts specific requirement. Third, creating civil penalties on motor carriers if the shipped alcohol does not match the bill of lading is unfair. Motor carriers do not open packages to verify what the shipper asserts. Assuming there has been no in-transit incident (i.e. motor vehicle crash), if the packing slip does not match the contents of the package, it is the responsibility of the shipper to ensure that the contents and packing slips match. These practical problems further underscore the simple fact that the proposed law will likely impact the “price, service or route” of a motor carrier.

Enclosures

(a) Rowe v. New Hampshire Motor Transp. Assn., 552 U.S. 364 (2008)

(b) 49 U.S.C. § 14501

TAM Testimony – In support of S.1759 & H.2517, relative to the taxation of rolling stock

On May 7, Kevin Weeks, the executive director of the Trucking Association of Massachusetts, submitted written testimony in support of Senate Bill 1759 and House Bill 2517, relative to the taxation of rolling stock. The testimony is provided below, and a PDF is available for download.

For additional information, contact the Trucking Association of Massachusetts.

Honorable Mark Cusack, House Chairman
Honorable Adam Hinds, Senate Chairman
Joint Committee on Revenue
State House Room 34
Boston, Massachusetts 02133

Dear Chairman Hinds, Chairman Cusack and Members of the Committee:

On behalf of the over 250 member companies of the Transportation Association of Massachusetts (TAM), I am writing to urge your strong support for Senate Bill 1759 / House Bill 2517, relative to the taxation of rolling stock. This legislation, which received a favorable from this Committee last session, will create an exemption from the Massachusetts sales and use tax as applied to rolling stock.  The legislation will also encourage trucking companies, which provide numerous jobs with competitive salaries, to remain in the Commonwealth while upgrading their fleets to cleaner and safer trucks. Accordingly, I respectfully urge you to issue a favorable report to Senate Bill 1759 / House Bill 2517.

As you know, TAM has been the voice of the trucking industry in Massachusetts since 1919. One of the oldest transportation associations within the Commonwealth, we represent a wide variety of companies ranging from small, family owned trucking companies with a single truck to large national trucking companies with thousands of trucks.  The trucking industry within the Commonwealth is responsible for transporting 87%-93% of all goods and products found in our homes and workplaces.  In addition to being a key facilitator for the growth of other industries, the trucking industry is a significant creator of jobs within the Commonwealth.  As a recent study by the Dukakis Center for Urban Research & Policy at Northeastern University stated “[t]he overall trucking industry (including private and for-hire tucking) represent about one in 12 jobs or about 300,000 jobs in Massachusetts in 2017. And, trucking companies meet all Massachusetts freight movement needs.” (“The Importance of the Trucking Industry to the Massachusetts Economy”, Pritchard, R. & Scott, A., p.3 (May 2018)).

The commercial trucking industry within the Commonwealth has seen the as decline as many trucking companies have moved to other states.  Part of the reason that trucking companies have left the state is due to the Commonwealth’s tax policies.  In particular, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue has begun collecting sales and use tax for rolling stock purchased in other states which have an exemption in place for rolling stock. As a result, any company with a substantial nexus with the Commonwealth is being charged sales and use tax by the Commonwealth even though the rolling stock was purchased in other states.  Accordingly, various truck companies, who may be domiciled in Massachusetts or have repair facilities in Massachusetts, are now seeking to locate them outside of the state to reduce the substantial nexus necessary to collect such tax.

Senate Bill 1759 / House Bill 2517 seeks to bring Massachusetts in line with a majority of other states (37) within which an exemption from sales and use tax for rolling stock already exists.  As drafted, this legislation amends Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 64H (i.e. sales tax) and Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 64I (i.e. use tax) to specifically exempt rolling stock from the sales and use tax.  “Rolling stock” is defined as “trucks, tractors, and trailers, used to transport goods in interstate commerce”.  The legislation does not allow a motor carrier to avoid paying the multitude of fees otherwise required under federal, state and local law.  According to a study conducted by the Dukakis Center for Urban Research & Policy, the elimination of the sales and use tax on rolling stock will, following national trends, create “2,768 more employees and 2,076 more power units … operating and generating an additional $15.9 million in tax revenue per year; while not estimable, … the impact on private fleets may be just as large.” (“The Importance of the Trucking Industry to the Massachusetts Economy”, Pritchard, R. & Scott, A., p.14 (May 2018)).

The need for this change to the law cannot be overstated.  First, Senate Bill 1759 / House Bill 2517 will create a more attractive environment for trucking companies to remain in the Commonwealth. Trucking companies rely on constantly maintaining and upgrading their equipment.  This means purchasing new rolling stock on a regular basis.  On the other hand, if they know that their out-of-state purchases will incur an in-state tax, the companies will work to reduce their nexus to the taxing state. As it stands, Massachusetts trucking companies are put at a competitive disadvantage when competing against carriers located in the neighboring states.

Second, by keeping trucking companies in the Commonwealth, the good jobs and competitive salaries that these companies offer will remain within the state.  According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Massachusetts has the fourth highest annual mean wage for heavy and tractor-trailer drivers within the country.  (See http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes533032.htm).  If more trucking companies find Massachusetts tax policy less favorable than neighboring states, it is likely the decrease in Massachusetts trucking companies will become even more significant.

Third, if the Commonwealth discourages trucking companies from domiciling in the state, transportation expenses will rise — further impacting the high cost of living already experienced in the Commonwealth.  The costs associated with transporting goods are fairly straightforward.  (See http://www.atri-online.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/ATRI-Operational-Costs-of-Trucking-2014-FINAL.pdf).  If the Commonwealth’s tax policies cause trucking companies to domicile elsewhere, the additional fuel, tolls and vehicle maintenance, among other costs, will be borne by Massachusetts residents and businesses that already rely on the industry for 87% of their goods.

Fourth, the passage of Senate Bill 1759 / House Bill 2517 will encourage the purchase of new equipment with the latest technology available.  This is turn will support increased public safety and create additional environmental benefits.  In terms of public safety, new trucks include lane-departure, crash collision and speed regulator technology that improves road safety.  In terms of environmental benefits, newer trucks have more efficient engines and exhaust systems. This leads to greater fuel efficiency and reduces emissions of NOx and particulate matter to further support the Commonwealth’s fuel efficiency and clean air efforts.

This legislation is a matter of common sense.  If a company does not purchase a product within State (A), it is not fair for State (A) to tax the company for purchasing a product in State (B).  The purpose of taxes and fees is to support the mechanisms that help the taxpayer.  (i.e. road and bridges, police, fire, etc.).  In the case of the trucking industry, gas taxes, tolls, vehicle registrations and other license fees and taxes cover the expense of the trucking industry.  Collecting sales and use tax on rolling stock purchased in other jurisdictions creates a disincentive for companies to expand in the Commonwealth or bring new equipment to this state.  Given that neighboring states such as New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont (partial) exempt rolling stock from sales and use tax, Massachusetts’ current tax policy will simply lead to higher costs for Massachusetts residents and businesses while driving economic opportunity to neighboring states.

On behalf of the thousands of men and women in Massachusetts who rely on the good jobs and competitive salaries these Massachusetts companies provide, I respectfully urge you to adopt Senate Bill 1759 / House Bill 2517, relative to the taxation of rolling stock. I appreciate your consideration of this important matter.  If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Sincerely,

Kevin Weeks
Executive Director

TAM Testimony – In support of H.1205, training of tomorrow’s truck drivers

On June 11, Kevin Weeks, the executive director of the Trucking Association of Massachusetts, submitted written testimony in support for House Bill 1205, relative to the training of tomorrow’s truck drivers. The testimony is provided below, and a PDF is available for download.

For additional information, contact the Trucking Association of Massachusetts.

Honorable Jeffrey Roy, House Chairman
Honorable Anne Gobi, Senate Chairwoman
Joint Committee on Higher Education
State House, Room 472
Boston, Massachusetts 02133

Dear Chairman Roy, Chairwoman Gobi and Members of the Committee:

On behalf of the over 250 member companies of the Trucking Association of Massachusetts (TAM), I am writing to urge your strong support for House Bill 1205, relative to the training of tomorrow’s truck drivers. This bipartisan initiative, which creates a Truck Driver Training Fund, will encourage the training of students and transitioning career professionals to meet the growing workforce needs of the trucking industry. Accordingly, I respectfully urge you to report this legislation favorably from the Committee.

In Massachusetts, the trucking industry is a key driver of economic growth: it accounts for about 1 out every of 12 jobs in the Commonwealth, or approximately 300,000 jobs in total as of 2017. According to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers make upwards of $50,000 per year. These jobs don’t require a college degree, unlike many jobs in today’s market, making trucking an attractive profession for those looking to earn a steady income without first spending a lot of their own money and time to attend four or more years of school.

But despite the potential that truck driving offers, the industry is facing a driver shortage. According to the American Trucking Association, the industry will need to hire almost 900,000 new drivers nationally over the coming decade, with most of the demand resulting from retiring drivers and industry growth. At the same time, interest in the profession is waning, making it difficult for the industry to fill these vital positions. By 2026, the ATA forecasts that the industry could be facing a shortage of almost 175,000 drivers. When you consider that 93% of all goods transported into and within the Commonwealth are carried on a truck, it becomes clear that the driver shortage is a problem not just for the trucking industry, but the Commonwealth as a whole. Indeed, the driver shortage could cost Massachusetts to miss out on significant tax revenues: a study by the Dukakis Center for Urban Research and Policy at Northeastern University recently estimated that each local trucking employee generates about $3,396 per year in state and local payroll, income and property taxes.

House Bill 1205, an Act Relative to Training Tomorrow’s Truck Drivers, would create a mechanism for a wide variety of organizations and employers to train and hire truck drivers to fill the Commonwealth’s driver shortage. By establishing a Truck Driver Training Fund, the bill would provide a source of funding by which employers and employer associations, local workforce investment boards, institutions of higher education, vocational schools, and other organizations could finance programs, according to guidelines set by the Board of Higher Education, to support both the training of new student drivers and the retention and upgrading of existing trucking jobs.

In order to finance the Truck Driver Training Fund, the bill would create a $5 surcharge on all applications for licensure or renewal of a commercial driver’s license. This mechanism would ensure that the Training Fund would place no financial burden on most residents of the Commonwealth, and would distribute the cost evenly across the trucking industry. Organizations across the Commonwealth could then apply for grants, financed by the Truck Driver Training Fund, to operate training programs. This funding will be crucial in order to attract new drivers to fill the Commonwealth’s driver shortage, providing good careers to thousands of drivers in the process.

I appreciate your consideration of House Bill 1205, An Act Relative to Training Tomorrow’s Truck Drivers and I respectfully request that the Committee release the bill with a favorable report. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. I look forward to working with the legislature on this important matter.

Sincerely,

Kevin Weeks
Executive Director

TAM Testimony – Use of Alternative Fuel Heavy Duty and Medium Duty Vehicles

On June 1, Kevin Weeks, the executive director of the Trucking Association of Massachusetts, submitted written testimony in support of House Bill 2388, An Act Relative to Encourage the Use of Alternative Fuel Heavy Duty and Medium Duty Vehicles. The testimony is provided below, and a PDF is available for download.

For additional information, contact the Trucking Association of Massachusetts.

Honorable Mark Cusack, House Chairman
Honorable Adam Hinds, Senate Chairman
Joint Committee on Revenue
State House, Room 34
Boston, Massachusetts 02133

Dear Chairman Cusack, Chairman Hinds, and Members of the Committee:

On behalf of the over 250 member companies of the Trucking Association of Massachusetts (TAM), I am writing in strong support of House Bill 2388, An Act Relative to Encourage the Use of Alternative Fuel Heavy Duty and Medium Duty Vehicles. The enactment of this legislation would incentivize the transportation industry of Massachusetts to continue its long term emissions reduction through the use of green technologies in its day-to-day operations.

As you may know, this legislation seeks to provide tax credits under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 62, § 6 for the purchase of medium and heavy duty commercial vehicles that use alternative fuels, by Massachusetts Companies. “Alternative fuel” is defined in the proposed legislation as electricity, liquid petroleum gas, natural gas, or hydrogen fuels. These credits are applicable up to $250,000 per fiscal year per company with a tax credit of $20,000 for the purchase of heavy duty vehicles, and $12,000 for the purchase of medium duty vehicles. According to the United States Dept. of Energy, numerous states already offer these types of incentives. (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/laws/)

The incentive structures of this bill will produce significant returns for both the industry and the Commonwealth. By providing a $20,000 tax credit for the purchase of an alternative fuel heavy-duty vehicle, and a credit of $12,000 for the purchase of an alternative fuel medium-duty vehicle, these vehicles will be purchased more frequently by Massachusetts companies. This will result in a more modern transportation fleet, continuing to make the State’s transportation sector more environmentally friendly and as fuel efficient as possible.

As alternative fuel vehicles replace existing vehicles, a further reduction in CO2 and NOx emissions will occur due to the increased number of alternative fuel vehicles on the road. While the current use of ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) and 2010 EPA compliant engines have reduced emissions in vehicles significantly, this legislation will ensure that the progress we have seen over the last decade in emissions reduction continues in a positive direction. As well as reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, the adoption of these technologies will result in the reduction of fuel consumption as well. Through the use of these fuel sources, companies can reduce operating costs and overall shipping costs, bringing increased profit to Massachusetts companies while reducing costs to those who rely on these companies’ services.

There exists ancillary benefits from this legislation as well. By making it more affordable to purchase vehicles that utilize alternative fuels, there will be an increased demand for vehicles and fuels of these types.

As a result of this increased demand, Massachusetts providers of alternative fuels and such vehicles will see an increase in revenue. These are industries that are necessary for the continuation of green energy initiatives in the Commonwealth, thereby allowing the State to organically promote business for these companies in the future. Further, the existing infrastructure to provide fuel for these types of alternative fuel vehicles is new and growing. The passage of this legislation would bring added industry interest to this type of infrastructure development, while this is by no means the only step necessary for the development of infrastructure of this nature, it lays the groundwork for future development.

Finally, by enacting this legislation, the Legislature will reaffirm its support for the transportation industry’s environmental initiatives. TAM, which has supported tough idling laws, auxiliary power unit weight exemptions and cogent transportation rules to reduce delays, views this legislation as an opportunity to continue this successful partnership. A partnership that has reduced overall emissions and increased the effectiveness of the Commonwealth’s transportation industry.

This legislation is a reasonable method of continuing the reduction of the Commonwealth’s carbon footprint while aiding state businesses and consumers. On behalf of the over 250 member companies of the Trucking Association of Massachusetts, I appreciate your consideration of this important matter. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Kevin Weeks
Executive Director

TAM Testimony – Act Relative to Truck Inspections

On May 14, Kevin Weeks, the executive director of the Trucking Association of Massachusetts, submitted written testimony in support of House Bill 3178, An Act Relative to Truck Inspections. The testimony is provided below, and a PDF is available for download.

For additional information, contact the Trucking Association of Massachusetts.

Honorable William Straus, House Chair
Honorable Joseph Boncore, Senate Chair
Joint Committee on Transportation
State House, Room 134
Boston, Massachusetts 02133

Dear Chairman Straus, Chairman Boncore and Members of the Committee:

On behalf of the over 250 trucking company members of the Trucking Association of Massachusetts (“TAM”), I am writing in strong support of House Bill 3178, An Act Relative to Truck Inspections.  This legislation will lead to increased public safety oversight of truck inspections without having an adverse effect on the shipping of goods throughout the Commonwealth.

As you may know, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) is required under 49 CFR 350.201(c) to work closely with one designated state agency to oversee the roadside inspection of commercial motor vehicles and commercial carrier facilities.  The roadside inspection program consists of roadside inspections performed by qualified safety inspectors following the guidelines of the North American Standard, which was developed by FMCSA and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (“CVSA”), an association of state, provincial, and federal officials responsible for the administration and enforcement of motor carrier safety laws.  Accordingly, the Commonwealth designated the Massachusetts State Police (“MSP”) to work with the FMCSA. The MSP enforcement personnel are properly trained, certified and continually educated in commercial truck inspections and terminal reviews by FMCSA.

Under the current system, any municipality can ask the MSP to train their officers to conduct federally regulated roadside commercial carrier inspections. Once the MSP trains these municipal officers, however, it loses all ability to provide accountability and oversight in ensuring that inspections are actually conducted in compliance with federal regulations.  Put simply, municipal truck teams do not receive the extensive training the MSP Truck Team receives nor do they have the MSP’s commercial motor vehicle experience. Already in a number of municipalities, commercial motor vehicle operators have been improperly cited for alleged infractions that simply were not violations. (i.e. citation for having the wrong hazmat placard when, in fact, drivers have the correct ones; citation for existence of wet valves despite a requirement of federal regulations; etc.)

As a result, House Bill 3178 would formally establish a mechanism for the oversight and inspection of roadside commercial carrier inspections. In doing so, this legislation seeks to ensure that only appropriate and trained individuals conduct routine commercial carrier inspections.  Patterned after the model language created by the CVSA, this legislation gives the MSP specific authority to establish regulations and procedures for the certification of municipal police officers.

Specifically, this legislation requires the MSP to promulgate regulations relative to:

  • the delineation of roles and responsibilities within a local police department as it relates to coordinating efforts with the MSP;
  • the commercial motor safety data collection, management and distribution;
  • the fine and sanction structure for violations of commercial motor vehicle laws and regulations;
  • the collection and deposit of said fines;
  • the periodic review and submission of a commercial vehicle safety to ensure consistency with the statewide enforcement plan;

While the proposed legislation would provide that the MSP can decertify any municipal law enforcement official for violating the eventual regulations, the legislation expressly prohibits the MSP from unreasonably refusing to retrain any decertified official or department upon request.

It is important to note that this legislation does not mean that uncertified municipal law enforcement personnel will not be able to stop commercial motor vehicles.  By including the legal protections associated with “probable cause”, uncertified local law enforcement will still be able to stop trucks that present a danger to the local community.  Accordingly, an officer who has formed the basis for “probable cause” will not be prohibited from making a random stop and inspection.   No judicial officer will “throw out” a citation or stop on the basis that a local police officer stopped and cited a commercial motor vehicle because it leaked fuel; operated without working lights or potentially presented some other public safety hazard.

This legislation will do more than improve the enforcement of commercial motor vehicle.  It will create a cogent system of enforcement that recognizes a uniform cause – protecting the general public while recognizing the importance and necessity of commercial transportation.  As reported by the Federal Highway Administration, 87% of all manufactured goods in Massachusetts were transported by truck.  In 2013, the trucking industry in Massachusetts provided 120,340 jobs, or 4% of the state’s overall employment. Total trucking industry wages paid in Massachusetts in 2013 exceeded $6 billion, with an average annual trucking industry salary of $49,879.  A disjointed and inconsistent enforcement system will not only threaten the affect the Commonwealth’s residents’ ability to receive affordable and available goods, but it will affect the livelihood of the many individuals working in the trucking industry.

With this in mind, HB 3178 will create one unified mechanism for the oversight and accountability of roadside truck inspections.  The MSP Truck Team receives federal training and has extensive, specialized experience in the enforcement of the laws and regulations governing the operation of commercial motor vehicles.  The MSP is the law enforcement agency in the Commonwealth that has the appropriate training, experience and, most importantly, an ongoing relationship with federal transportation agencies necessary to coordinate roadside commercial vehicle inspections.  By coordinating its efforts with the MSP Truck Team, local municipalities will still be able to insure that commercial motor vehicles are operating in accordance with federal laws and regulations.  HB 3178, modeled after draft legislation from national and international experts in commercial carrier enforcement, is a sensible and responsible step in the Commonwealth’s best interests.

I appreciate your consideration of this important matter and respectfully request that the Committee release HB 3178 with a favorable report.  If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Kevin Weeks
Executive Director

Support Testimony: Act Relative to Carriers of Property by Motor Vehicle

On May 14, Kevin Weeks, the executive director of the Trucking Association of Massachusetts, submitted written testimony in support of House Bill 3145, An Act Relative to Carriers of Property by Motor Vehicle. The testimony is provided below, and a PDF is available for download.

For additional information, contact the Trucking Association of Massachusetts.

Honorable William Straus, House Chair
Honorable Joseph Boncore, Senate Chair
Joint Committee on Transportation
State House, Room 134
Boston, Massachusetts 02133

Dear Chairman Straus, Chairman Boncore and Members of the Committee:

On behalf of the over 250 trucking company members of the Massachusetts Motor Transportation Association (“MMTA”), I am writing in strong support of Senate Bill 2031 / House Bill 3145, An Act Relative to Carriers of Property by Motor Vehicle. This bill seeks to allow for a single permit to be issued to an entire fleet of delivery vehicles for the transportation of alcohol.  This measure will reduce the cost of doing business within the Commonwealth, leading to reduced costs for consumers without sacrificing the licensing protections offered by this permitting process.

As you know, Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 138, §22 regulates the transportation of alcoholic beverages. Specifically, this section requires that every truck have an individual permit for the transportation of alcohol if it operates within the Commonwealth. This requirement creates significant administrative burdens and increased costs for doing business within the Commonwealth.  In turn, the current process creates a barrier to competition in the Commonwealth, and increased costs for consumers.  Accordingly, Senate Bill 2031 / House Bill 3145 will alleviate these problems by allowing fleet owners to purchase a “fleet permit” for use by their entire fleet. The legislation still requires that every vehicle carry a certified copy of the permit.

Under the current system, trucking companies must choose between three undesirable and costly options. First, a trucking company may choose to purchase permits for every truck in its fleet, recognizing that it is not realistically predictable as to which of its vehicles will be transporting alcohol at any given time.  This option, which can be quite costly given the size of one’s fleet, requires extra administrative costs to ensure every truck has a certified copy of the permit and to ensure that every permit in every truck is the correct permit for that truck.[1]

Alternatively, a truck company fleet may choose to only permit a select few of their vehicles, requiring the company to ensure that shipments of alcohol are only handled by those MMTA –permitted vehicles.[2]

Finally, some trucking companies choose to simply not ship alcohol and forgo acquiring a permit altogether, limiting business opportunities to those companies that can afford the permitting costs. In every option, consumers suffer from the effects of increased shipping costs or reduced competition.

To address this situation, Senate Bill 2031 / House Bill 3145will allow for the issuance of a single fleet permit that maintains accountability and transparency in the shipment of alcohol.   In doing so, the legislation will reduce the cost of shipping alcohol in the Commonwealth while allowing more businesses to be able to engage in the delivery of alcohol. The increased competition between transportation businesses will further lead to lower shipping costs for retailers and consumers. In no case does this legislation reduce public safety or accountability.  In addition to the numerous existing laws governing the heavily regulated trucking industry, law enforcement and the state’s alcohol control officers will still be able to see the “fleet permit” and hold transporters of alcohol accountable for compliance with the appropriate laws and regulations.  Simply put, this legislation will benefit trucking companies and residents and businesses within the Commonwealth – without undermining the purpose served by these permits.

I appreciate your consideration of this important matter and respectfully request that the committee release Senate Bill 2031 / House Bill 3145 with a favorable report.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Kevin Weeks
Executive Director

[1] Consider the following example: An international shipping company, with the reasonable anticipation that of any of its trucks, at one point or another, may carry a load of alcohol into the Commonwealth, must permit slightly over 2,000 trucks.  In permitting each truck, the company will spend over $100,000 in permit fees.

[2] Under this scenario, reduced efficiency actually leads to higher costs as, logistically, the trucks must then be prioritized for alcohol shipments, whereby they are considered less efficient due to an inability to release said trucks for other shipments at any time.