CARB eyes $760 million in truck upgrades

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National Accounting and Finance Council of the American Trucking Associations will hold its Annual Meeting & Exhibit Forum March 24-26 at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix. Among the topics are the implications of increasing interest in a “greener” supply chain, trucking industry credit and collection practices, the future of the National Motor Freight Classification and fiduciary responsibility in managing 401(k) plans. For more information,
go to http://nafc.truckline.com.

U.S. Department of Transportation will provide $1.2 billion in the form of loans and
tax-exempt private-activity bonds to launch construction of high-technology express lanes on the Capital Beltway in northern Virginia. The 14-mile project, estimated to cost $1.9 billion, includes two new variably priced high-occupancy-toll (HOT) lanes between Georgetown Pike and the Springfield Interchange.

FedEx Corp. in late December reported net income for the second quarter of $479 million, down 6 percent from last year’s $511 million. Operating income was $783 million, down 7 percent from $839 million a year earlier.

Casualty & Surety Inc., a Birmingham, Ala.-based property and casualty brokerage firm, has acquired JC Shannon Insurance Services Inc., based in Fresno, Calif. Terms were not announced. JC Shannon specializes in truck physical damage and cargo coverage and gives CSI an opportunity to expand in the western United States.

The California Air Resources Board staff last month proposed the first $25 million for what ultimately would be $760 million for retrofit and replacement of diesel trucks operating in the state. The $25 million in bond funding, which the board was scheduled to consider last month, will be used to retrofit or replace about 1,000 trucks in the South Coast, Central Valley, San Francisco and San Diego air districts.

CARB previously announced a $1 billion bond-funded program to reduce diesel emissions, but last month the agency said it would allocate more than 75 percent of the funds toward reducing diesel pollution from trucks associated with goods movement around California. The remaining $240 million could go for efforts to reduce diesel emissions from ships, harbor craft and locomotives.

“This strategy puts the lion’s share of the dollars where they’re needed most – on trucks traveling from the state’s ports and along our major transportation corridors,” said CARB Chairman Mary Nichols. “Within months of passing a new regulation aimed at cleaning up port trucks, we are following through with much-needed funding to help drivers retrofit and replace older, dirty engines.”

More than half of the $25 million initial funding will go to the Los Angeles/Inland Empire trade corridor to replace 130 port trucks in a lease-to-own program, along with another 130 trucks. Another $5.7 million will go to the San Joaquin Valley to retrofit 450 trucks and replace 60 pre-1996 trucks. The remainder of the funds will go for projects in the Sacramento and Bay Area metropolitan regions and in the San Diego border region.
For more information on CARB’s retrofit/replacement program, including procedures for applying for funds, go to www.arb.ca.gov.


Crossborder trade hits record in October
Trade using surface transportation between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement partners Canada and Mexico was 11.1 percent higher in October 2007 than in October 2006, reaching $74.2 billion, the highest monthly level ever recorded, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation. BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the value of North American surface trade in October topped the previous monthly high of $69.8
billion in March 2007 by 6.4 percent.

The value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico rose 11.2 percent in October from September. Surface transportation consists largely of freight movements by truck, rail and pipeline. About 90 percent of U.S. trade by value with Canada and Mexico moves on land. The value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico in October was up 49.6 percent compared to October 2002, and up 87.1 percent compared to October 1997. Imports in October were up 100.7 percent compared to October 1997, while exports were up 72.0 percent.