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Drivers weigh in on truck parking availability systems

An American Transportation Research Institutes (ATRI) white paper reviews how professional truck drivers use parking availability systems. It also goes into perspectives on how truck parking information is distributed. From ATRI

The research is based on a survey of more than 1,100 truck drivers, and cross-tabulates findings from all sectors, age groups, experience levels and gender. The research was conceptualized by ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee (RAC), through their recognition that the numerous truck parking information systems being developed by public sector agencies are often based on disparate technologies and information distribution channels. The RAC believed that the lack of national standardization may be creating confusion and distrust of these potentially invaluable systems.

“This new research on driver issues and preferences toward truck parking information systems is hopefully a first step in developing a national driver-centric system, built on clear standards and approaches,” said Bill Hambrick, a professional driver for Werner Enterprises and an America’s Road Team Captain.

The research recognizes that the truck parking information systems are managed at a facility level, but corroborates that long-haul interstate drivers are the preferred users of the system, and that the system designs and approaches should not differ considerably across state lines.

The full report is available online through the ATRI website, but you will need to provide your name and email address to for the report to download.

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Playbacks from 2021 Spring Annual Conference

Our spring conference was a great success! Appreciation shout-outs to all of our terrific speakers, and as always – to our event and speaker sponsors, without whom we could not bring you such informative sessions.

To our attendees – thank you for sharing your comments and questions, and for your attendance. If you missed any speaker, the recordings of the event can be found below.

Day 1

Day 2

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Member Spotlight – ConvenientMD

ConvenientMD LogoHeadquartered in Portsmouth, NH, ConvenientMD is a walk-in and virtual healthcare provider dedicated to delivering the best medical care and experience for patients throughout New England. By offering fast, quality care at an affordable rate, ConvenientMD is raising the bar for urgent care and reshaping the delivery of modern healthcare. The recent grand openings in Dedham and Burlington mark the addition of ConvenientMD’s tenth location in Massachusetts and twenty-eighth across Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.

The existing urgent care clinics in Massachusetts are located in Bellingham, Dedham, Falmouth, Framingham, Newburyport, Pembroke, Plainville, Quincy, and Weymouth, with Ludlow and Westborough slated for openings this summer.

ConvenientMD recently announce an exciting partnership with Bain Capital Double Impact. This will position ConvenientMD to expand access to its differentiated, affordable, and flexible urgent care facilities through both service line expansions designed to make healthcare more affordable and accessible, and opening new locations in underserved areas.

ConvenientMD offers a wide range of high-quality in-clinic and integrated telehealth episodic care services, including injury and illness care, occupational health services such as DOT physicals, drug testing, and workers compensation as well as moderate and highly complex lab offerings.

Each clinic is staffed by a team of physicians, advanced practice providers, registered nurses, radiologic technologists, and other medical professionals, and features state-of-the-art technologies and capabilities, including digital X-ray, EKG and other tests, medical procedure rooms, electronic consultations with specialist providers, post-visit care navigation, and IV fluid/antibiotic treatments.

ConvenientMD offers affordable, on-demand care seven days a week, resulting in high customer satisfaction and significantly lower total cost to patients, health plans, and employers than a visit to an emergency department or other points of care for medical episodes.

ConvenientMD is excited to partner with TAM to offer discounted rates to all TAM Members. As a proud member of TAM, ConvenientMD is committed to offering affordable, convenient, and timely services to the TAM membership throughout Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire. For more information about ConvenientMD or to set up an account with us, please contact Michael Ceglie, director of business development at (781) 267-5191.

SkillsUSA Mass Diesel Equipment Technology State Championship

Top students from across Massachusetts will compete at Advantage Truck Group in the SkillsUSA Mass Diesel Equipment Technology State Championship. This hands-on event supports student interest in diesel technician-related work while helping to build the employment pipeline for the state’s trucking industry.

As part of its ongoing commitment to support training and workforce development, Advantage Truck Group will host the Diesel Equipment Technology competition for the 2021 SkillsUSA Massachusetts State Championship at its Shrewsbury facility on Friday, April 30, where the state’s top diesel technology students will come together to compete and the winner will represent Massachusetts at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference virtual competition in June.

The annual competition helps to encourage students with an interest in and aptitude for diesel technician-related work and highlights career opportunities in this field.

While the need for technicians extends across Massachusetts, the state has identified Transportation, Warehousing, and Logistics as one of the Central Massachusetts region’s top three priority industries, with diesel technicians facing among the most significant employee shortages.

“The need for qualified diesel technicians in Massachusetts creates strong job prospects for students and skills competitions like this help highlight these opportunities,” said ATG president and CEO, Kevin Holmes. “ATG is proud to be able to provide this support for SkillsUSA Massachusetts, as we see this as a vital part of technical education in the region that will help build the next generation of skilled technicians.”

This year’s state championship includes nine high schools representing six school districts across Massachusetts, with twelve students qualifying for the competition by achieving top scores on three written exams. During the event, the students will complete tasks that challenge their knowledge of tools, precision measurement, specific vehicle components, and job interview skills as they cycle through ten workstations. Stations include tasks related to engine diagnostics, electrical systems, brakes, steering, air systems and air conditioning. Students will be presented with a vehicle challenge during which they diagnose and repair several pre-assigned problems under the hood of a live vehicle, giving them the opportunity to test their skills in a real-world situation they may encounter as a professional technician.

The winner of the state championship will earn four hours of training with a Master Diesel Technician at ATG’s Shrewsbury facility to help prepare for the national competition. In addition to hosting this year’s Diesel Equipment Technology competition, ATG manages the event and is responsible for designing the hands-on tasks at each testing station.

The live competition will be held on April 30 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and will be closed to the public.

UPS driver Patricia Clark attains 25 years of safe driving

Women make history every day, but Women’s History Month provides an opportunity to focus on those remarkable achievements.

In a male dominated career, Somerville Facility Driver Patricia Clark is the first female UPS driver in the Boston area to attain 25 years of safe driving. All without a single accident. She was able to achieve this remarkable goal while driving a large commercial vehicle on busy roads and through severe weather situations.

Patricia delivers in old Boston—the historic waterfront neighborhood of Charlestown. “It has the original brownstones. Cobblestone streets designed for horse and carriage. To get to this safe driving milestone in the extremely tight, old city environment makes her accomplishment remarkable,” said Business Manager Kevin Thibert.

Patricia joined the ranks of UPS as a part-time package handler in Watertown, Massachusetts thirty years ago. She was motivated to be a driver for the job security, good health care insurance and wages. She saw mostly men working in this field, but wasn’t deterred. She knew office work wasn’t for her. She liked the idea of working outdoors and on her own.

Now, with more than 25 years on the road, she agrees her success behind the wheel has been achieved by applying the UPS safe driving methods. “The safety training is really important. I practice it all day long. The methods have been tested, tried and proven successful,” Patricia shares.

Her safety tip to the public, “Remember, it’s expensive to get into an accident. When you get behind the wheel of a car, take it seriously. Slow it down. The way you travel to the address you are going will determine your outcome.”

UPS adds to its prestigious “Circle of Honor” each year to recognize employees who have delivered packages for a quarter of a century without an accident.

Patricia was recognized for her outstanding driving record along with 50+ other drivers in Massachusetts. She is the first women in the Boston area to join newly inducted drivers into the company’s elite organization.

Globally, 10,779 active UPS drivers are members of the Circle of Honor. Collectively they’ve racked up 15 billion safe miles during their careers. It’s enough to circle the earth at the equator about 600,000 times.

Transportation and Climate Initiative Concerns

Originally submitted on April 9, 2021.

TAM is committed to improving air quality in Massachusetts and supporting policies that safeguard the environment. And while we appreciate and applaud the efforts of the Baker administration to pursue these goals via the TCI-P, we have multiple questions and concerns about how the program will affect Mass trucking companies, particularly users of diesel fuel, when officially enacted.

TCI-P will inherently change behavior in the commercial transportation sector, but potentially not as it was intended. Diesel fuel in particular will continue to be utilized in Massachusetts, but it will simply be purchased elsewhere whenever possible.  Most troubling is that it will likely not significantly reduce emissions already being reduced from increasingly stricter diesel fuel regulations, and will actually drive businesses and jobs away from our state.

We understand that TCI-P is designed to reduce the amount of fossil fuel utilized for transportation in Massachusetts. But it is problematic that the commercial transportation sector is not considered separately. Diesel fuel and gasoline fees (taxes) should not be looked at equally; they are very different.

Unfortunately, in our opinion, the limited amount of participation across the region is problematic on many fronts as well, and seems to call into question the viability of the initiative at this point. Listed below is a sampling of some of the concerns we have with TCI-P, and we would welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues to obtain clarity and understand how these concerns are being addressed.

  • It is concerning to us that 9 of the 13 original potential participants in the program have declined to sign the Memorandum of Understanding, including Vice Chairman Larry Hogan (MD). Is there enough bandwidth with the remaining participants to create change?
  • The administrative bureaucracy that the TCI-P would create could make decisions that will raise the price of gas — and it appears that those decisions could be made by officials that have not been elected by the people of Massachusetts.
  • While the charge is not being framed as a ‘tax’ because of the point of regulation, we believe in practice the increase in gas and diesel fuel prices will be perceived negatively by residents of MA and will actually be considered a “tax” — along with current fuel taxes, excise and federal taxes that already exist.
  • IFTA diesel fuel excise taxes appear not to have been considered within TCI-P. IFTA fuel taxes are equitably paid to the state in which the fuel is consumed. The TCI-P fee will not be equitable and only charged on sales in Massachusetts. Out of state trucks, who will now be encouraged to obtain fuel outside of Massachusetts, will not contribute to the TCI-P model whatsoever.
  • Funds raised by this increase do not seem to take into consideration the needs of our current infrastructure. Given, in our opinion, that the increase will be perceived as a “tax” by the general public, the ability to increase fuel costs additionally at any time will/would be difficult and therefore roads and bridges will continue to deteriorate.
  • Since the program will not impact emissions in states outside of the agreement that do not have strong clean-energy policies, this could degrade Massachusetts air quality by blowing those dirty emissions into our state impacting the desired effect.
  • The trucking industry already has a long history of reducing carbon emissions, and that work continues. In addition, global automakers are pledging to go all electric within the next 10-15 years — suggesting that dirty emissions will decline significantly irrespective of the TCI-P agreement. In fact, TCI-P itself asserts that emissions during a ten-year period in the region will fall 19%, even without the initiative being enacted, because of federal emissions standards.
  • We are concerned that the funding for the initiative will not be sustainable. As we move to an increased number of electric vehicles, there will be less and less revenue generated for TCI-P funded projects.
  • Because of the projected increase in fuel cost, the program puts Massachusetts trucking companies at a disadvantage if they purchase fuel in our state. Significant fuel cost reduction will be achieved by simply crossing the border into non-participating states to buy fuel, and Massachusetts companies will be forced to do that to stay competitive.
  • Given the minimum opening price for a TCI-P credit and the average mileage of a Class 8 truck, we estimate there will be at least a 2 cent per mile cost. This is a significant cost increase and another reason companies will be forced to fuel outside of Massachusetts whenever possible.
  • Given the new documentation, record-keeping requirements and potential disruption of audits, the initiative adds a significant amount of work/cost for diesel suppliers that do not currently exist. We are concerned about the new burden this imposes on Massachusetts fuel supplier companies, including the cost for hiring newly created agencies to do necessary auditing. Again, this is an incentive for companies to domicile elsewhere, and for companies that are not able to move their operations, this is a significant cost that will ultimately put many of them out of business.
  • Fuel optimization systems, available to trucking companies currently, will route vehicles outside of the state to purchase fuel whenever possible to achieve the lower fuel cost from neighboring states, yet those trucks will still drive and impact Massachusetts roadways.

Trucking Industry’s Emission Reduction Progress

All figures are per US EPA

Year: 2002
Mandate/Technology: Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR)
Environmental Benefit: 50% NOx emissions reduction
Cost to Industry: $250 million annually

Year: 2006 – 2010
Mandate/Technology: Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD)
Environmental Benefit: 97% reduction of sulfur in diesel
Cost to Industry: $4 billion annually (in combination with PM/NOx limits)

Year: 2007 – 2010
Mandate/Technology: US EPA PM and NOx limits; Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs)
Environmental Benefit: 90% reduction of Particulate Matter (PM) “soot” 90% reduction of NOx
Cost to Industry: $4 billion annually (in combination with ULSD)

Year: 2014
Mandate/Technology: US EPA/NHTSA “Phase 1” Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles
Environmental Benefit: 23% reduction of CO2 emissions
Cost to Industry: $8 billion

Year: 2021, 2024, 2027
Mandate/Technology: US EPA/NHTSA “Phase 2” Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles
Environmental Benefit: additional 34 percent reduction of CO2 emissions
Cost to Industry: $20 – $30 billion

Massachusetts Trucking Industry Data

  • 86.9%: number of Massachusetts communities that depend exclusively on trucks to move their goods
  • 95%: percent of manufactured tonnage transported by truck in Massachusetts
  • $7.3 billion: total trucking industry wages paid in Massachusetts (2019)
  • 129,300: trucking industry jobs in Massachusetts (2019)
  • $56,154: average annual trucking industry salary in Massachusetts (2018)

As of January 2021, a typical five-axle tractor-semitrailer combination paid:

  • $5,760 state highway user fees and taxes
  • $8,906 federal highway user fees and taxes

TAM is anxious to get a better understanding of TCI-P’s plans to address these issues as well as many others. We stand at the ready to discuss all issues and to offer our expertise to further detail any and all of the issues we have raised.

Respectfully submitted

Kevin Weeks
Executive Director

MG+M Law Firm Logo

Member Spotlight – MG+M The Law Firm

MG+M Law Firm LogoFounded in 1984, Manning Gross + Massenburg LLP (MG+M) is a national litigation and trial firm with 13 offices across the country. Their experienced team of diverse attorneys offers a collaborative approach, national resources, and a broad counsel network that can rapidly deploy in response to litigation demands in all courts across the country.

David Willis leads the Boston location, and has represented transportation, shipping, and logistics companies for most of his 30-plus years. He began his career representing a small company with two trucks. Today, that has grown to representing national carriers with thousands of trucks. In addition, David holds a 200-ton coastal master’s license issued by the United States Coast Guard. David has held this license for decades. He began this aspect of his career in New Orleans working with an Admiralty and Trucking firm in the 1980s. His experience spans from the gulf coast to New England.

MG+M’s nationwide Trucking and Transportation Litigation practice group focuses on all aspects of the trucking and transportation industry to defend manufacturers, premises owners, retailers, and service providers in the areas of commercial litigation, freight and property claims, personal injury and wrongful death claims, and labor and employment claims. For more than 15 years, the attorneys involved in this expanding docket of cases have gained a thorough understanding of the complexities involved with trucking and transportation, including interstate transportation and the extensive regulatory frameworks of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, the Transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century, and the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program.

Whether it is defending a tractor/trailer accident or other transportation related matters, MG+M takes a proactive approach – always keeping in close communication with their clients, insurers and claims administrators, private investigators, law enforcement, witnesses, and experts to provide a robust and collaborative defense using the latest technology, graphics, and computer animation.

MG+M’s experienced team of lawyers will defend each aspect of the case, in and outside of the courtroom, with a full understanding of the facts, the law, and the legal issues. Their team approach extends beyond the firm. MG+M works collaboratively with a team of trucking and transportation experts and private investigators on emergency accident investigations, because we understand the benefits of early response and effective liability assessment. MG+M’s 24-hour Rapid Response Team is a strategic network of experienced MG+M attorneys, experts and investigators ready to deploy and reach an accident scene to collect evidence and assess liability anywhere in the United States within 24 hours. This team is equipped to handle issues and claims wherever and whenever they arise.

To learn more about MG+M, visit their website page dedicated to trucking and transportation litigation.

In opposition to a truck-only vehicle miles traveled tax

The following communication was sent today to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) clearly expressing the trucking industries opposition to a proposed federal truck-only vehicle miles traveled tax. The letter is also available as a PDF to be printed.


Dear Senator Warren,

On behalf of the Trucking Association on Massachusetts, I write to discuss our shared goal of pursuing meaningful investments in infrastructure in the weeks and months ahead. The trucking industry is eager to work with you, Congress and the Biden Administration to end the continuous cycle of underinvestment in our nation’s infrastructure. A bold investment in infrastructure will improve the safety and functionality of our nation’s transportation systems while reinvigorating a pandemic-stricken economy.

As that work begins in earnest, we want to convey our strongly-held view that any infrastructure investment must be grounded in long-term, sustainable funding, based on mechanisms where all road users contribute to rebuilding and revitalizing the American transportation network. The trucking industry will aid in those efforts, and welcomes the opportunity to contribute to infrastructure development in a meaningful and efficient way.

However, we strongly caution against discriminatory funding schemes that place the burden of supporting our infrastructure solely on the back of the trucking industry. Forcing the industry to cover the entire gap between available revenue and infrastructure funding needs will jeopardize economic stability, cripple our nation’s supply chain, and threaten to decimate recent economic gains. Moreover, it will irreparably fracture the broad stakeholder support that has facilitated the advancement of past highway bills. Therefore, any discriminatory funding schemes, like a truck-only vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax, will be met with resolute opposition by the industry, and must be dismissed as a misguided and prejudiced funding gimmick.

Mandating that the trucking industry bear the brunt of our nation’s infrastructure investment via a truck-only VMT tax is unfair, imbalanced, and runs counter to public interest. In terms of feasibility, there are ample reasons why a truck-only VMT is an ill-conceived and dangerous solution. First, experts agree that proper implementation of a VMT tax will require at least five to ten years to generate revenue because the relevant technology has yet to be fully developed, large-scale field testing has not been conducted, data privacy and security issues have not been addressed, and VMT enforcement mechanisms have not been implemented to combat anticipated evasion. Second, current review of VMT fee pilot programs estimates that collection costs could be as high as 40 cents on the dollar. While full implementation will likely bring these costs down substantially, these estimates suggest collection costs could still be as high as 15%—more than 70 times greater than the cost to collect the fuel tax. Third, a VMT fee would require individual accounts for each taxed vehicle, which, if applied to all road users would affect approximately 270 million vehicles, creating a daunting administrative boondoggle to implement and oversee. Fourth, there is an assumption that electronic logging devices (ELDs), which are currently required in only 28% of commercial motor vehicles, can be used to track miles for the purpose of imposing a VMT fee. However, federal law prohibits government agencies from using ELDs for any purpose other than Hours of Service compliance.

The trucking industry stands ready and eager to work hand-in-glove with Congress and the White House towards stemming our deepening infrastructure crisis. As you and your colleagues work to advance meaningful infrastructure legislation, we urge you to consider funding mechanisms that are built around a system where all who benefit from the transportation system contribute fairly. And, we emphatically caution you against the pursuit of discriminatory funding mechanisms such as a truck-only VMT, which will seriously impede efforts to enact meaningful infrastructure legislation this Congress.

Thank you for your attention and thoughtful consideration of this important and timely matter.

Sincerely,

Kevin Weeks
Executive Director, Trucking Association of Massachusetts

 

Transportation workers can sign up for COVID vaccine March 22

Certain workers in Massachusetts will be eligible to schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments as part of Phase 2, effective this coming Monday, March 22.

For a complete list of worker categories in this eligibility group, visit the Massachusetts government website related to vaccinations. This information is current as of Wednesday, March 17 and is subject to change.

Worker categories include, but are not limited to…

Food, meatpacking, beverage, agriculture, consumer goods, retail, or food service workers – All staff involved in the production, processing, storage, transport, wholesale and retail sale, preparation, and service of food and consumer goods, including farm and other agricultural workers, including farm stand and nurseries.

Medical supply chain workers – Workers directly involved in the manufacturing and production, packaging, transport, quality control, and sale of materials critical to the delivery of medical care.

Vaccine development workers – Workers directly involved in research, development, manufacturing and production, packaging, transport, quality control, and sale of vaccines (COVID-19 and others).

Transit/transportation workers – Drivers/operators, attendants, sales, administrators, maintenance staff, public and private bus, train/subway, passenger boat/ferries, passenger air, and automobile (including rental car, car service/limousine, taxi, and ride apps) transportation, bridge and road construction and maintenance workers, shipping port and terminal workers, commercial transportation.

Public works, water, wastewater, or utility workers – Utility: Electrical generation and supply system, natural gas delivery, nuclear power plant, water supply, telephone, cable/fiber optical/broadband/cellular service workers Public works including street repair, street lighting, public park, beach, and trail maintenance workers.

Sanitation workers – Drivers, solid waste handlers, recycling staff, street cleaners, sewer and storm water system workers

How to Schedule

Register in advance…

  • Preregister at VaccineSignUp.mass.gov to be notified when it’s your turn to schedule an appointment at one of 7 mass vaccination locations: Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium, Reggie Lewis Center, DoubleTree Hotel in Danvers, Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Natick Mall and former Circuit City in Dartmouth.

or

  • Use VaxFinder.mass.gov to search for appointments at pharmacies, health care providers, and other community locations

Member Spotlight – Tri Tank Corporation

Logo for Tri Tank Corp.Tri Tank Corporation was founded in 1977 and incorporated in 1978. The main objective was to provide parts, sales, and service for all makes of aluminum, stainless, and carbon steel tank trucks and tank trailers. Their customer base now ranges from major oil companies, common carriers, hundreds of small and medium sized oil dealers, local municipalities, and other local businesses of all types.

Currently they are a stocking dealer for Heil, Polar, LBT, Brenner JARCO and Transtech. At all times they have close to 40 tanks in-stock and on order.

Collectively the service department has 180 years of experience in the tank truck and tank trailer industry. Tri Tank has held the ASME “R” certification for welding aluminum, stainless steel, and carbon steel since 1984. They proudly employ ASE certified technicians. Their DOT cargo tank number is 1330. They currently have ten registered tank inspectors. George A. Terpening Jr., the founder of Tri Tank, oversees daily operations, and he is also the on-site design certified engineer.

During the past 40 years their staff has grown from four people to 50, and in the past eight years the business has been expanded to include utility trailers and truck equipment.

They have been in their current facility for 34 years. The 30,000s q.ft., 20-bay facility sits on 23 acres just a quarter mile from Exit #39 off I-90. Their parts department maintains a large inventory of replacement parts for trucks, trailers and equipment, and parts orders are shipped out daily via UPS.

Customer service and satisfaction is always their main priority.