6/3/20 – Democrats offer $494 billion transport bill targeting economy, climate.
Roll Call magazine reports that a five-year, $494 billion surface transportation bill unveiled Wednesday by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee aims to inject a shot of money to states and cities struggling from the coronavirus before addressing another existential crisis: climate change.
The bill, according to a committee summary, would require the Department of Transportation to create greenhouse gas reduction measures and set goals for states to meet. The legislation would provide $8.35 billion to help states achieve their goals. Low-performing states would be required to invest 10 percent of their federal surface transportation funds in additional projects to cut emissions.
The bill also would authorize $6.25 billion to pay for resilient infrastructure that could withstand major weather events caused by climate change. It would require states and cities to develop an infrastructure vulnerability assessment to guide investments under the program.
It would provide $350 million per year in grants to create electric vehicle charging and hydrogen fueling stations.
And it calls for investments in rail, authorizing $60 billion to address a maintenance backlog in rail infrastructure, establishing new intercity passenger rail routes and expanding commuter rail. That would include $29.3 billion over five years for Amtrak — more than three times the current level.
But before implementing those policies, the bill would address the current pandemic, providing $83.1 billion in fiscal year 2021 to help save state and local transportation agencies crippled by the pandemic.
5/21/20 – On Nearly Emptied Roads, Motor Vehicle Fatality Rate Spikes By 14% In March.
NPR reports that In March, as states across the country began implementing stay-at-home orders and commuters got off the road, traffic dropped, but a new National Safety Council report finds that the number of motor vehicle fatalities per miles driven increased by 14% compared with the March 2019 rate. The new nationwide data comes as some regional officials have reported that during the pandemic, people have been driving more recklessly and there have been local upticks in car crashes.
5/19/20 – Subaru reports huge production loss due to pandemic.
The Japan Times reports that Subaru Corp.’s suspension in Japan and the United States in April due to the coronavirus pandemic resulted in an output loss of 150,000 vehicles, equivalent to around 15 percent of its annual global sales.
The carmaker expects the impact to get worse as it plans to extend the halt of night shifts at a domestic plant to June 19 from the initially scheduled May 31.
5/12/20 – Data: Virus-weary Americans slowly return to the road.
The Associated Press reports that Americans are slowly getting back on the road after hunkering down due to the coronavirus, though the volume of traffic is still well below what it was before many states issued stay-at-home orders.
Drivers in the U.S. have been more active in the past week than at any time since mid-March, according to an AP analysis of StreetLight Data Inc., an analytics software company that aggregates data from smartphones and other GPS-enabled devices and combines it with information from maps and other sources to provide county-level data on vehicle miles traveled.
The most recent data shows that activity during the seven-day period ending May 8 was 60% higher than the lowest point since the COVID-19 crisis began. However, activity still was down 49% compared to January 2020 and well below what would be expected in the spring under normal circumstances.
4/20/20 – Shipping continues to drop in a stalled economy, hurting companies.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the trucking industry is experiencing a significant downturn. Since Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania ordered all but “life-sustaining” businesses to close, leaving one in five Pennsylvanians out of work there has been a 32% reduction in shipping volumes.
3/13/20 – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issues an Emergency Order raising the hours-of-service regulations for trucking.
On March 13, 2020, President Trump issued an Emergency Order granting exemption from Parts 390-399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which cover hours of service, parts and accessories needed for safe operation, and longer combination vehicles.applies to truck operators involved in direct assistance efforts, such as hauling medical supplies and testing equipment, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, food and personnel. In order to maintain safety, a driver who has completed a delivery must receive a minimum of 10 hours off duty if transporting property or eight hours off duty if transporting passengers. These exemptions will remain in effect until the termination of the emergency or April 12, whichever comes first.