USDOT - The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry rose 0.3 percent in July from June, rising after a one month decline, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) released today. The July 2013 index level (114.3) was 20.5 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.
BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the level of freight shipments in July measured by the Freight TSI (114.3) was the second highest all-time level. The July index was 0.8 percent below the all-time high of 115.2 in December 2011 (Table 2A). BTS’ TSI records begin in 2000.
The June index was revised to 114.0 from 113.8 in the previous release. The April index was revised to 112.9 from 112.8.
Beginning with the April release, BTS improved procedures and refined the TSI methodology. As a result there have been minor changes in monthly numbers released previously. Documentation will be made available in the near future.
The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles, which are combined into one index. The index measures the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight.
Analysis: The increase of 0.3 percent in July freight transportation was driven by increases in rail intermodal and inland water shipments, with small increases in trucking and rail carloads. The slow increase in July after a decrease in June is likely influenced by the decrease in manufacturing output in July.
Trend: The Freight TSI remained above its 2012 range for the seventh month in a row. Beginning with January, every month in 2013 has exceeded the high point of 2012, 112.3 reached in December. The July 2013 level is the highest TSI freight has been in 2013, and is the second highest all-time level exceeded only by December 2011. After dipping to 94.9 in April 2009, the index rose 20.5 percent in the succeeding 51 months.
Index highs and lows: Freight shipments in July 2013 (114.3) were 20.5 percent higher than the recent low in April 2009 during the recession (94.9). The July 2013 level is down 0.8 percent from the historic peak reached in December 2011 (115.2).
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Over the past year, CTA has discussed the many ways that transportation taxes and fees are spent in California. One of the unique projects that your tax dollars are being spent on is an effort to protect one of California’s greatest natural assets: Lake Tahoe. Caltrans helps keep debris out of Lake Tahoe by cleaning hundreds of storm drains around the lake and also in working on the construction of new drainage systems as part of more than dozen water-quality improvement projects to be completed over the next few years. These projects also help protect the integrity of the pavement for the roads that are traveled by motorists. Caltrans District 3 has produced a short video to show the steps they take to protect the lake.
This week Caltrans is implementing a number of closures that will take place through this Friday, September 13 in relation to a $120 million pavement replacement project on the Long Beach Freeway (I-710) from the Los Angeles River Bridge to the San Bernardino Freeway (I-10). If you use the I-710 corridor for your business, please be advised of the closures and potential detours. The project is
installing precast concrete panels as well as concrete slabs in various traffic lanes and locations upgrade the median barrier and construct maintenance pullouts along the route to enhance safety for maintenance crews. The entire maintenance and rehabilitation project is scheduled to completed late 2015. Work also will include widening shoulders and installing fiber optic lines for various traffic management technologies.
By: Robert C. Pitcher
ATA - As an introduction, some indication of what taxes are represented here is in order. As nearly as possible, the rates here include all the taxes imposed on gasoline and diesel fuel at the state or provincial level: motor fuel taxes, sales taxes, gross receipts taxes and petroleum business taxes imposed on fuel suppliers, and environmental clean-up fees (except those that are levied sporadically). Local taxes are included only if a state has a uniform county tax in all its counties. Where a state or province that imposes a sales tax on fuel, or another tax with a variable rate, periodically sets a rate for International Fuel Tax Agreement reporting, that rate is shown. The notes on the right-hand side of the table provide important details.
In this edition, note especially the rate changes in Massachusetts, which are effective July 31, 2013.
The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opened up on Monday night to the public as officials announced that the bridge will withstand future earthquakes and provide assistance in any event of a disaster.
Invited guests gathered at the bridge on Monday to celebrate the completion of the $6.4 billion project. Dignitaries included Lt. Gov., and former mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, Sen. Mark Leno, D – San Francisco, and many more who watched as Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom cut through a chain with a blow torch to mark the opening of the bridge.
Speakers discussed the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake which generated the analysis of the safety of all the state’s large bridges. As a result, seismologists indicated that the new span's replacement of the damaged structure on the Bay Bridge was designed to withstand the strongest earthquake estimated to occur in the next 1,500 years.
Although the opening ceremony follows issues that include construction concerns, delay of production, and cost overrun – transportation officials say that the new structure is far safer than the former one.
To read the full Sacramento Bee article, click here.
California isn’t the only state with a seemingly insurmountable infrastructure funding crunch. State governments across the country are getting creative on how to fund the transportation system moving forward. With cars becoming more fuel efficient, and miles driven declining, existing transportation tax revenues across the country are increasingly insufficient even to maintain the transportation infrastructure network. In response, 2013 has turned into a year of action by states stepping up to the plate by offering their own funding alternatives.
The Oregon Legislature passed S.B. 810, a Vehicle Miles Tax hybrid proposal which requires the Oregon Department of Transportation to offer up to 5,000 volunteer motorists an option to pay 1.5 cents per mile state tax rather than the current 30 cents per gallon tax. These volunteers would be refunded for any gas taxes paid. The program will start in 2015 and will offer the state and new and unique stream of transportation funding.
The home state of CTA’s Highway Policy Manager, Arkansas is pushing for increased sales tax revenues in order to pay for transportation. 2013 will be the first year of increased sales tax rates that were passed by Arkansas voters through a 2012 ballot measure. The measure authorized a temporary increase of the state sales tax from 6% to 6.5% in order to fund a bond which will pay for $1.8 billion in highway construction and improvement. The project includes plans to alleviate congestion on existing highways and bridges throughout the state. The tax is set to revert to the previous 6% once all bonds are paid off, which is estimated to take place in 2023.
2013 also saw the first transportation package passed in Virginia in over a generation. Governor Bob McDonnell signed HB 2313, a landmark $4 billion funding measure that is authorized for 2014-2019. The bill gave the go ahead to a number of tax changes including sales taxes, fuel taxes, registration fees, and property taxes. The commonwealth’s 17.5-cent retail fuel tax was eliminated and replaced a with 3.5 percent wholesale gas tax and 6 percent for diesel. The sales tax was increased to 5.3 percent, up from 5 percent. In Northern Virginia and the Hampton Roads areas, the sales tax will balloon to 6 percent, with the additional 0.7 percent dedicated to transportation in order to fund the needs of the more urban areas of Virginia. Interestingly, owners of hybrid and electric vehicles will have to pay a special $64 annual registration fee in order to recoup losses from the other tax sources. The bill also puts pressure on local governments to raise property taxes on commercial and industrial entities in order to pay for infrastructure improvements.
Caltrans is urging travelers who will be making a trip to the San Francisco Bay Area during Labor Day weekend to plan ahead, choose an alternate route now, and allow plenty of extra travel time because the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge will be closed.
The bridge will be shut down from 8 p.m., August 28, until 5 a.m., September 3, while workers take the bridge’s original East Span out of service and open the new bridge to traffic. Anyone interested in more details about the closure should visit http://baybridgeinfo.org/, or call 511 for traffic updates or visit http://511.org/ to find out which other Bay Area bridges are available as detour routes.
Nearly 300,000 motorists daily cross the iconic bridge that connects San Francisco with Oakland, Berkeley, and other East Bay cities.
Thanks to the public heeding previous warnings, Caltrans successfully closed the bridge without significant traffic backups during Labor Day weekends in 2006, 2007, and 2009. Taking advantage of historically light traffic on the bridge during the holiday weekend helps minimize disruptions to motorists, residents, and businesses.
Last week, CTA joined with the California Retailers Association, the California Farm Bureau Federation, NAIOP SoCal Chapter, and Devine Intermodal on a coalition letter outlining joint policy concerns with the development of the State Freight Plan. For the past few months, the state has convened the California Freight Advisory Committee which is tasked with assisting on the development of the State Freight Plan. As a member of the Freight Advisory Committee, CTA has been meeting with the staff that is leading the development of the plan to make sure that the trucking industry’s perspective is captured in the plan.
CTA is recommending a number of policies including:
-A Statewide Freight Bottleneck Relief Strategy
-STAA Route Designation Improvements
-Prioritization of Key East-West Agricultural Freight Corridors
-Recognition for Freight Sustainability Investments in the Trucking Industry
-Increasing Truck Parking Availability
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today released their 2011 Interstate Brief, a study on the use and condition of our nation’s interstate roadway system. As expected, California continues to lead the way on the nation's busiest interstates. The study shows people in California drove more than 84.7 billion miles on California highways in 2011 - more than 900 times the distance from Earth to the Sun - making the Golden State's highways the nation's busiest.
Traffic volume data from 2011, the most recent year available, show that the I-5 in California was the nation's busiest interstate, with 21.4 billion miles traveled that year. California's neighboring I-10 and I-110 followed as the second and third busiest, respectively. Los Angeles' section of I-405 serves an estimated 379,000 vehicles per day, making it the busiest interstate in any American city.
Much to the dismay of Governor Rick Perry, Californians drove more than 30 Billion miles more than second place Texas. Overall, vehicles traveled 2.95 trillion miles on U.S. roads in 2011 - the eighth-highest level ever recorded, and nearly double the amount traveled in 1980.
Keep in mind that these figures incorporate figures from the Interstate System, only. Key corridors such as 101, 99, 60, etc were not included for the purposes of the study. In any event, this study is further evidence of the key role our federally funded roadways play in moving people and goods in California. However, without a healthy Highway Trust Fund and an adequate funding stream, these roadways will be at risk.
Do you utilize arterial roads in LA County? The Tioga Group is interested in how your company selects the arterial roadways in the County that it uses in its everyday business and the difficulties it encounters. The survey information will be used to help identify and protect key trucking routes and will also assist in prioritizing available road funding.
This is an excellent opportunity for your company to provide input on the future of LA’s roadway system. If your company is using arterials in the Los Angeles area in order to move freight, please take a few moments to fill it out. All questionnaire responses will be kept confidential.
Please return all survey responses to Steve Nieman at email@example.com