ATA asks governors to extend emergency waivers

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The American Trucking Associations asked all state governors Friday, Sept. 23 to extend emergency Hurricane Katrina trucking regulations so the industry would be ready for Hurricane Rita disaster relief.

“Keeping emergency regulations in place will allow trucking companies to maximize their carrying capacity and expedite their deliveries to affected areas,” said Bill Graves, ATA president.

Graves asked the governors to:

  • Ensure that motor carrier safety enforcement personnel know that truckers transporting goods as part of the relief effort are exempt from federal hours-of service regulations.
  • Authorize the operation of vehicles heavier than normally allowed under state law, provided the trucks are shipping relief supplies.
  • Direct the state’s oversize and overweight permitting office to expedite the permitting process for loads intended to aid in the relief effort.
  • Waive trip permit purchase requirements for registration and fuel tax for carriers involved both in direct relief efforts and in the broader operating changes.
  • Offer leniency to drivers who are residents of Rita-affected regions whose CDLs may have expired.
  • Watch fuel prices to ensure that no one takes advantage of the situation by gouging.
  • Tell weight enforcement personnel to give trucks a minimal weight tolerance so that drivers who have topped off their fuel tanks to avoid running out of fuel do not risk an overweight citation.
  • Implement U.S. Environmental Protection Agency waivers exempting refiners from the 500-ppm sulfur standards for on-road diesel fuel.

    Just as the trucking industry is getting ready to help out in Rita’s wake, so too are various government agencies. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta said electrical generators are being staged to provide power, emergency vehicles are being stored on ships, and a vessel designed to serve as a floating gas station is on standby to support rescue and recovery operations.

    “We are prepared to deploy ships and generators to help teams save lives, restore basic services and begin the reconstruction process,” Mineta said.

    Repair work on the Interstate 10 bridges between Slidell and New Orleans is being suspended so that crews can secure equipment in advance of Rita.

    The Department of Transportation is providing more than 800 buses to support evacuation efforts and delivering to FEMA staging areas in Texas 13 refrigerated trailers, one tanker of diesel fuel, seven trucks of tarps, five trucks of plastic sheeting, six trailers filled with cots, one trailer filled with tents, 62 trailers filled with Meals Ready to Eat, one trailer filled with medical cargo and another trailer filled with sleeping bags, Mineta said. At least two trailer-loads of water will be delivered each day until further notice.