The Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association legislative team is actively working, both at the state and federal level, for reasonable transportation regulations and equitable taxation of commercial motor vehicles. The association also supports highway safety programs, educating the media and the general public about the importance of the trucking industry, and informing our members about the critical issues of the day. If you are a current WMCA member and have a question or concern about state or federal law, please contact WMCA President Neal Kedzie (firstname.lastname@example.org) or WMCA Vice President Dan Johnson (email@example.com) for assistance.
What Have We Done For You Lately?
On March 1st, 2017 WMCA President Neal Kedzie and twenty WMCA members consisting of trucking executives and allied trucking members as well as WMCA’s lobbyist Marc Bentley met with legislators at the Capitol before attending WMC’s Business day. While at the Capital, they discussed the transportation budget, DOT audit, fuel tax, tolling, and more with Jen Esser, of DOT, Representative Kooyenga and Representative Spiros.
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ELD Presentation Presented by FMCSA
ELD & Hours of Service. Brought to you by J.J. Keller
Carriers have just about a year to switch over to electronic logs. These new technology-based time recording systems will require many carriers to make significant changes to how they operate. Even for smaller companies, the transition is likely to take longer than expected. The good news is that there’s still time to do it right. The key is careful planning and starting soon. Our subject matter expert Tom Bray has written a whitepaper explaining why now is the right time to act to avoid the serious consequences of a rushed implementation.
J.J Keller also recently presented a webinar on Hours of Service and further information on ELDs.
Provisions of the Department of Transportation’s Budget Request Summary
On December 6, 2016, the Assembly Committee on Transportation has scheduled a public hearing on the Department of Transportation’s 2017-19 budget request. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. in Room 412 East, State Capitol. In order to assist the Committee for its public hearing, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau has prepared the attached summary of each of the provisions of the Department’s budget request.
The document contains a funding and position table as well as a brief narrative description and fiscal effect, if any, of each requested item. In addition to the budget request, 2015 Act 201 requires executive branch agencies to submit proposals to: (1) maintain state operations appropriations at the base level; and (2) reduce state operations appropriations by 5%. A listing of the Department’s response to Act 201 is displayed at the end of the attached document. Staff of the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (Al Runde, Ryan Horton, and John Wilson-Tepeli) will attend the Committee’s public hearing to respond to questions regarding the document.
CALL ON WASHINGTON – (May 10-12, 2016):
We had an ATA issues briefing on Tuesday upon arrival at the ATA Hill Office near the Capitol. Wednesday after breakfast at ATA we split into groups to meet with Sen. Johnson, Rep. Kind, Rep. Duffy, Sen. Baldwin, Reps. Ribble & Shuster (PA – Transportation Chair) in Shuster’s office, Rep. Grothman, Rep. Pocan and Rep. Sensenbrenner. WMCA trucking issues discussed included: driver shortage, highway funding, WMCA’s opposition to tolling and vehicle miles traveled (VMT), congestion points and under 21 years of age interstate pilot program.
Following our hill visits a meeting a meeting was had with Bill Quade from FMCSA to discuss our concerns with non-preventable crashes and warning tickets versus citations and their impact on CSA scores and other related issues. That evening we attended an ATA reception at the Hill Office along with the Iowa Motor Truck Association (IMTA).
On Thursday a contingent of 13 WMCA representatives met with Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan. This was shortly after Speaker Ryan had met with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump. Speaker Ryan spent more than twenty minutes with us and posed with us for a group picture which later was featured in a special section of Transport Topics. Ryan’s transportation specialist, Paul Hallett continued the discussion with our group for another half hour afterwards.
Next year’s COW is slated for May 16-17, 2017 following Mother’s Day weekend. Hotel arrangements have been made with the Capitol Inn Hotel, Washington D.C. for those dates.
FASTLANE Grant Program
A letter from the WMCA was submitted to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation in support of funding for the WisDOT Zoo Interchange and I-39/90 Expansion projects. One focus of the federal FASTLANE Grant Program is on primary transportation corridors in the National Highway System for freight infrastructure improvements. Monies for selected projects will be announced sometime this summer.
Highway Users Group
WMCA is one of the founders of a coalition of business associations working together to develop strategies to remedy the transportation infrastructure funding shortage facing the State of Wisconsin.
The group reconvened recently to focus on the upcoming development of the 2017 state transportation budget during the fall of 2016. This in part was due to the recent announcement by Governor Walker that he does not intend to introduce any new fees or taxes (ie. fuel tax) in the upcoming transportation budget unless there are offsetting cuts and savings proposed elsewhere.
DOT Secretary Gottlieb echoed the same sentiments earlier this past month and warned of up to two year delays or more for major projects in the upcoming biennium. Speculation is that the DOT budget may propose additional bonding between $500M – $1 billion.
The 2015-16 legislative session has ended with a number of bills of interest being enacted into law. The WMCA is on public record in support of the following new laws:
Clarifies current law relating to interstate motor carriers, including DOT’s regulatory authority over interstate motor carriers, also applies to motor carriers engaged in intrastate commerce.
Requires a DOT permit for carrying radiological materials on state highways with an escort by state police.
Requires any vehicle which is not a large commercial motor vehicle to yield the right of way to any large commercial motor vehicle in a roundabout that may need to deviate from one lane to the other.
This new law allows the state to more aggressively pursue allegations of fraud and caps the amount of money an employee can receive for some injuries. It shortens the statute of limitations for what it deems “traumatic injuries” from twelve to six years. It bars employees or their dependents from getting money if the person was injured on the job because he or she violated the employer’s drug or alcohol policy. It also clarifies that an employer is only liable for the percentage of a permanent disability that was caused while an employee was working for that employer, not for pre-existing damage from prior injuries; codifies that if an injured worker is brought back to work on light duty during their healing period, and are terminated while on light duty for misconduct, they are not eligible for indemnity benefits; and allows the Department of Workforce Development to seek help from the Wisconsin Department of Justice for fraud investigations.
This bill eliminates a “double tax” which is unequally applied to the sale of heavy trucks and trailers sold in Wisconsin. Currently, Wisconsin’s tax code currently allows the federal excise tax (FET) to be applied to the sale of heavy trucks and trailers before sales tax is applied. This essentially creates a tax on a tax. For instance, if a truck costs $100,000, the federal excise tax of 12% is applied, making the sale price of that truck $112,000. Then the sales tax is applied to the sale price of $112,000. Assembly Bill 629 corrects this inequity and requires sales tax be applied on the sale price before FET is added. The bill passed both Houses and is expected to be signed into law by Governor Walker.
2015-17 Wisconsin State Budget
The WMCA worked hard to support the State Energy Office request to extend the funding for the Truck Idling Grant Program another five years in the 2015-17 State Budget. Some lawmakers sought to neutralize the program, but our efforts – and those of our members – led to the continuation of this economically and environmentally sound program. The Truck Idling Grant program allowes companies to field test the idling technologies for their fleets before making a purchase decision. This program also helped the industry address the high cost of fuel and Federal Emissions mandates on the industry. To date, WMCA members have received more than $15 million in grants. The State budget extended the program to 2020 with additional $5 million in funding for the Trucking Industry. This potentially could provide WMCA members $140,000 annually under the program.
Also in the budget, the WMCA continued to support funding for the Fast Forward Training Grant program. The grant program provides available funds for employer-driven worker training programs for transportation, logistics, and distribution occupations. These funds can be used to train new drivers, office personnel and Diesel Mechanic’s for WMCA members. The Budget continued funding for this training program for another $15 million. Those funds will provide WMCA members with up to $400,000 in training resources.
The Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association supported common-sense legislation that makes a number of revisions to commercial drivers licenses, effectively attempting to mirror federal law in most cases. The bill was signed into law as 2015 Wisconsin Act 123, and includes the following provisions:
- Prohibits a person from driving a CMV while using a cellular telephone or other wireless telephone (hand-held), except to report an emergency.
- Cancels any CDL or endorsement obtained by a person who commits fraud in attempting to obtain said license or endorsement, and the person is prohibited from driving a CMV for one year.
- Requires a person to submit to a DOT examination if the DOT receives credible information that he/she committed fraud related to the issuance of the CDL.
- Specifies that driving a motor vehicle while composing or sending a text message and driving a CMV while using a cellular or other wireless phone are “serious traffic violations”.
The Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association supported a legislative initiative to make Wisconsin a ‘Right to Work’ state. The new law prohibits agreements between employers and labor unions that govern the extent to which an established union can require employees’ membership, payment of union dues, or fees as a condition of employment, either before or after hiring.
The Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association strongly supported a constitutional amendment that would prevent governors and legislators from using the state transportation fund for other uses. The genesis for the amendment came when state elected officials tapped $1.3 billion from the transportation fund to pay for schools and other programs. The amendment was approved on a statewide referendum by a margin of 4 to 1.