NYC congestion pricing program halted following trucking group's lawsuit

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Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, June 6, 2024:

New York governor halts congestion pricing program

Following a lawsuit filed last week by the Trucking Association of New York (TANY) against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) over its congestion pricing framework in New York City, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has directed the MTA to halt the program’s implementation.

The lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of New York on May 30, argues that the congestion pricing policy unfairly targets trucking and logistics companies, which are charged far higher rates than passenger vehicles.

According to local reports Wednesday morning, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is working to indefinitely postpone the implementation of the tolling plan, which was set to take effect June 30, citing “unintended consequences for New Yorkers at this time.”

A court document addressing U.S. District Court Judge Lewis J. Liman filed on behalf of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority informed the court that Hochul directed MTA to pause implementation of the program.

“As a result, at this time, we no longer anticipate implementation of the Program on the prior expected implementation date of June 30, 2024.”

If the plan were to effect, vehicles would be charged a toll to enter the Congestion Relief Zone (formally referred to as the Manhattan Central Business District) -- the area of Manhattan south of and including 60th Street, excluding the FDR Drive, West Side Highway/Route 9A, and the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel connections to West Street.

Large trucks (tractor-trailers) using E-ZPass will be charged $36 to enter the area during the peak period, which is defined as 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. Trucks will be charged $9 to enter the zone during the overnight periods. Single-unit box trucks will be charged $24 during peak hours and $6 overnight.

Through its lawsuit, TANY was seeking a declaratory judgment that the tolling program is unconstitutional and a preliminary injunction preventing the implementation of the toll.

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[Related: NY trucking group files lawsuit over 'unfair' congestion tolls on trucks]

42-year Atlas Van Lines exec announces retirement

Following a dedicated 42-year career at Atlas Van Lines (CCJ Top 250, No. 67), Mary Beth Johnson, Vice President, Business Development, announced her retirement, effective June 7.

She will be succeeded in the role by the newly hired Lauren Piekos, who brings a wealth of experience from the consumer packaging goods industry to Atlas, the company said.

“It has been my privilege to work beside Mary Beth throughout my entire career at Atlas. On behalf of the Atlas team, we wish her happiness and joy during her retirement,” said Ryan McConnell, President and COO of Atlas Van Lines. “We look forward to Lauren joining the team to complete a seamless knowledge transfer and transition of leadership from Mary Beth and look forward to the new places she will help guide us.”

During her tenure, Johnson led Atlas through multiple industry-changing initiatives to ensure the organization remained a leading van line. Her leadership has been felt in departments from Revenue Management to Business Development to Marketing, and always made a difference.

To ensure a smooth transition for the Atlas team, agents, and customers, Piekos has worked closely with Johnson while moving into her new role. Piekos spent more than a decade in the consumer packaging goods industry and has extensive franchise market lending skills. Her knowledge in the national franchise and consumer packaging markets and her experience through multiple global assignments provide direct customer relocation knowledge for Atlas’ services. 

Jetco exec named TCA’s Safety Professional of the Year

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has awarded Jetco Delivery’s Vice President of Safey, Jeff McKinney, as its 2024 TCA Safety Professional of the Year Award winner. The announcement was made during TCA’s 43rd Annual Safety & Security Meeting in Indianapolis. 

The award is presented to a trucking industry professional whose actions and achievements have made a profound contribution to enhancing safety on North America’s highways, TCA said.

McKinney brings more than 25 years of experience in the trucking industry, starting as a driver and night warehouse manager. He joined Werner Enterprises in 1994, rising from company driver to Safety Supervisor, where he managed DOT compliance and safety meetings. From 2001 to 2002, he worked as a lead trainer at United Driver Services, providing CDL training and defensive driving courses. As Director of Safety and Operations Manager at General Logistics from 2002 to 2007, he significantly reduced accidents and costs.

At Jetco Delivery since 2007, McKinney’s initiatives, including early adoption of ELDs, cut accident frequency by 50%. He earned his Certified Director of Safety designation from the North American Transportation Management Institute in 2007. He has led Jetco to numerous safety awards and is an active participant and presenter at industry conferences. His leadership has also improved regional road safety, significantly reducing distracted driving, commercial vehicle, and intersection crashes.

Through his leadership and commitment to safety, McKinney has left a lasting impact on the transportation industry, ensuring the well-being of drivers and promoting a culture of safety within organizations, TCA added.

"One of the things that makes Jeff shine is his ability to make safety approachable and accessible to all,” said Jetco's Strategic Maintenance Director, Amanda Schuier, who nominated Jeff for the award. “Jeff maintains a ‘see, say, do’ mentality. I frequently spot him out with our professional drivers, diesel technicians, office staff, and more. His example helps us all live and breathe safety every single day, across all departments of the company."

Jetco Delivery President Kyle Kristynik agreed.  

"Accountability is critical to any organization and one of our core values at Jetco,” he said. “I appreciate how Jeff incorporates accountability into Jetco’s safety culture. He partners well with our Operations team, encouraging a culture in which everyone – not just a single department – owns safety. Jeff also recognizes that for everyone to be successful at their jobs, they must have the training and tools to execute.”