Trucking Feed

Missouri House defeats trucking bypass proposal

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The Missouri House voted down a proposal Thursday that supporters said would have enabled more companies to offer truck weigh station bypass services, despite criticism that state officials sitting on one company's private board made it hard for new companies to enter the market.

The House voted 60-82 against the bill that would've changed the rules for operating sensors installed under roadways that allow truckers to drive past weigh stations without having to stop. The sensor interacts with a responder in the truck to send the weigh station information such as the truck's weight and the driver's information.

HELP Inc. was for many years the only operator of such systems in Missouri, and officials from the Department of Transportation and Missouri Highway Patrol currently sit on the nonprofit's board.

Bill sponsor Rep. T.J. Berry said Thursday that he had been approached by the FBI over an investigation about potential conflicts of interest between HELP Inc. and the state. Berry said the state officials' interests in the company could've created a barrier to entry for other companies to enter the market.

"When you unpack this, you have the regulators -- the Missouri Highway Patrol, (the Missouri Department of Transportation) -- sitting on the board of the regulated," Berry said. "How hard would it be, then, to get a fair hearing for a new technology?"

Berry's proposal would've prohibited state workers from the transportation department or highway patrol from sitting on the boards.

But Rep. Glen Kolkmeyer said having state officials on HELP's board helped ensure that the company wasn't abusing state taxpayer dollars. HELP Inc. entered Missouri as part of a public-private partnership.


ATA tonnage index declines 1 percent in March

ARLINGTON, Va.  — The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index slipped 1 percent in March, following a 0.1 percent decline during February.

In March, the index equaled 137.5 (2000=100), down from 138.8 in February. The all-time high was 142.7 in February 2016.

Compared with March 2016, the seasonally-adjusted index rose 0.7 percent.

In February, the index contracted 2.7 percent on a year-over-year basis.


Werner could ponder merger as trucking industry consolidates

Some trucking companies are deciding bigger is better when it comes to fighting moribund shipping demand, low freight rates and excess truck capacity.

Now some industry analysts are looking to whether Omaha-based Werner Enterprises will join the consolidation race.

Werner is scheduled to report first-quarter earnings Thursday that are forecast at 20 cents per share, sharply down from the 28 cents a share it earned a year earlier.


Tesla's bet on trucking is bad for the company

The risk of overconfidence for Tesla is now at its highest point since the company was founded.

The business news cycle for weeks has been dominated by the carmaker's surging market cap, which at about $48 billion has passed both Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ford. For a brief period, Tesla also climbed above General Motors to become the largest US automaker by stock valuation.


Alabama gas tax hike defunct for current session

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon said Thursday that a proposed gas tax increase is defunct for the session after the legislation encountered heavy opposition in early debate.

House members on Thursday delayed a vote on a proposed gas tax increase to pay for road and bridge construction. Under the proposal, the state gas tax would have risen by four cents per gallon this year and another two cents in 2019. It could have risen by another three cents in 2024.

"Gas tax is dead. There will be no more gas tax this year," McCutcheon said after Thursday's decision to delay the vote.


Overdrive announces winner of 2017 Most Beautiful contest

Stephanie Klang of Fidelity, Missouri, has been named winner of the 2017 Overdrive’s Most Beautiful contest. She will be presented at The Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, Aug. 24-26.

Klang and Fred, her 17-year-old cat, travel the country for CFI. The America’s Road Team Captain, who served a 2013-2014 term, has been trucking for 37 years. Her early days were spent driving team, but she’s been solo for nearly 30 years and 3 million miles with CFI.

She is known for her professional driving skills but also for her sense of humor and way of making people feel comfortable. “I’ve learned over the years that a lot of drivers look and act angry. I tell them, ‘Sweet pea, if you don’t like your life, change it.’ I say it with a laugh and usually, I can get them to lighten up,” Klang says.