GOVERNOR’S PRESS OFFICE
CONTACT: David Farmer, 287-2531
Dan Cashman, 287-2531
May 8, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Governor Meets with Independent Truckers’ Group
AUGUSTA - Governor John E. Baldacci met Wednesday with a group of independent truckers who are concerned about their ability to maintain their livelihood during the global recession. The Coalition to Lower Fuel Prices, formed during the height of diesel prices, has expanded its focus to ensure that small businessmen and -women who own and operate trucks are able to continue to operate. State Senator Elizabeth Schneider first worked with the group, and remains involved in aiding independent truckers during these challenging economic times.
“While diesel fuel costs have decreased significantly since last year, economic conditions continue to threaten Maine’s independent truckers,” said the Governor. “I greatly appreciate the input from this group as we seek to find solutions to ensure they can weather this recession. I applaud the hard work and tenacity of independent truckers as the hang on in this difficult economy, and I pledged to continue listening and doing whatever I can to assist their survival.”
Belinda Raymond of the Coalition said that many independent truckers were still hurting from the extreme costs of business brought on by the spike in diesel fuel. As mills around the State are experiencing slow downs or closures due to the economic crisis, truckers are seeing a corresponding slowing of business. Some may not be able to stay afloat, Raymond said. Another issue currently troubling truckers is the fines imposed by state and federal commercial motor vehicle regulators.
Governor Baldacci vowed to stay engaged and continue working with the Coalition. The Governor has been active in working with paper companies operating in Maine to ensure their survival. In addition, the Governor supports changing federal law in order to raise the weight limit for six-axle trucks to 100,000 pounds on the Interstate highway system in Maine. The Governor pledged to contact the Maine Congressional Delegation as well as the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to urge this federal law change.
The Governor also supports efforts for a federal law relating to fuel surcharges, to ensure that the extra money gets to the truckers who incur the higher fuel costs. Senator Snowe’s office has been helping with this.
For Immediate Release Contact: Julia Wanzco (Snowe), 202-224-1304
April 22, 2009 Kevin Kelley (Collins), 202-224-2523
SNOWE, COLLINS INTRODUCE LEGISLATION
TO PROVIDE MUCH NEEDED TRUCK
WEIGHT EXEMPTION FOR MAINE
WASHINGTON D.C. –U.S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins (R-Maine) today introduced legislation to allow trucks carrying loads as heavy as 100,000 lbs to fully utilize the entirety of Maine's interstate network. Currently, there is an 80,000 lbs limit that has forces heavy trucks, traveling north of Augusta, off Interstate 95 north and onto Maine’s smaller, secondary roads increasing the likelihood of accidents and fatalities.
“Heavy trucks have become commonplace on small town roads throughout Maine – often passing in front of schools and homes needlessly putting our citizens at risk,” Snowe and Collins said in a joint statement today. “This legislation would correct this dangerous situation. By establishing fairness among state weight limits, this legislation will not only increase the competitiveness of Maine, but also go a long way to reduce wasted fuel and the costs of maintaining roads and bridges”
According to a study conducted by the Maine Department of Transportation, fatalities due to combination trucks forced off the Interstates due to truck weight limitations are 10 times higher on diverted roads than on the portions of the Interstate where the 100,000 lb. exemptions exist. Incapacitating injuries due to traffic incidents involving these trucks are 7 times higher than on non-Interstate roads that on the partially-exempted Maine Interstate.
Maine currently possesses a small exemption of 100,000 pounds on the Maine Turnpike for I-95 and 495. Since the exemption, I-495 has been redesignated and a much larger portion of our interstate, in particular the portion that runs to the Canadian border, remains at 80,000 lbs.
A C T I O N A L E R T
May 7, 2009
Dear FRA Member:
I’m writing to you on behalf of AgTEC, the Agricultural Transportation Efficiency Coalition. AgTEC is the Coalition of 94 forestry and agricultural businesses and associations that is fighting to increase Gross Vehicle Weight limits on the Interstate System. This is a fight we must win THIS YEAR, or else wait another five years for another Highway Reauthorization process in Congress.
We can’t wait. We need workable reform now. Please contact your member of Congress today.
Fortunately, we have a leader and a bill in the House of Representatives. Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) has introduced The Safe and Efficient Transportation Act (HR 1799). This bill carefully balances productivity and safety by increasing Gross Vehicle Weight limits on the Interstate System from 80,000 to 97,000 pounds for vehicles that are properly equipped with a sixth axle and additional tires. It would apply only to states that opt in to this increase and to businesses that pay an increased Heavy Vehicle Use Tax targeted to bridge repair and maintenance.
Rep. Michaud serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, but he needs your help in building support for this bill on the Committee and in the House. You can support him by persuading your Representative in Congress to co-sponsor HR 1799. Growing the list of co-sponsors is the most important thing we can do to move GVW reform forward in the Committee’s business this spring and summer.
Need more information? Visit the AgTEC web site at www.ag-haul.org, especially the latest AgTEC Update at <http://ag-haul.org/updates.html>. There you will learn more about HR 1799 and about making the case.
How to contact your congressman:
· Fax (don’t mail) a letter to his or her office (locate your Representative’s office at this web site: www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW_by_State.shtml). A model letter that you can adapt to your own situation and place on your own letterhead is attached.
· Use the electronic action call on HR 1799 at www.growthevote.org/cobrand/default.asp?cb=fra&cburl=growthevote. Click the "Take Action" link, select "Ask Congress to Support Safe and Efficient Transportation Act, HR 1799," register at your home address, and customize that same model letter with your own message.
· Rather phone? Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202/224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Representative’s office. Be ready with your talking points!
How often do have a chance to take a message to your member of Congress that directly affects your business’s survival? The spring and summer of 2009 offer that chance. Please take action NOW, and forward this message to others who depend on safe and efficient trucking.
It’s easy, it’s extremely important, and it’s the way our democratic system of government makes change happen!
Forest Resources Association