Earth Day – Environmental Con

Michael Howe Hosts "In the Booth"Today is Earth Day, a day celebrated by environmentalists since 1970 in hopes of creating greater awareness of environmental issues. The trucking industry has long been a target of environmentalists, whether it is emissions, fuel efficiency, tire disposal, or for other reasons.

The Federal Highway Administration even has a web page devoted to outlining the vast number of environmental regulations affecting transportation that is worth checking out.
While no one in the trucking industry is an anti-environment, there are many who question the extremes to which regulators and legislators go. With every new environmental regulation costs go up for those in the industry. Are these regulations and costs always necessary?

The answer is NO! Interestingly, there is evidence that many environmental regulations are the product of pressure to appear environmental, not actual science. Some legislators and regulators even know certain policies are ineffective or worse yet, bad for the environment.

Click Here to Listen to what Todd Myers, Director of Washington Policy Center’s Center for the Environment, had to say about Earth Day and current environmental policy. He was a guest on my local radio program this past weekend.

Driving With Tax Freedom

Tax Freedom Day

How sad is it that we have to work nearly 1/3 of the year just to fund the government?  And, this year the date of April 18 is 5 days later than it was last year.  Things don’t look better for next year either, especially with Obama Care fully kicking in.

I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Elizabeth Malm, Economist with the Center for State Tax Policy at the Tax Foundation on my local radio program about Tax Freedom Day and what it really means. Listen by Clicking Here.

Nonetheless, Tax Freedom Day has come and gone, so as you drive down the road the remainder of this year you can now rest easy because you are finally driving for yourself and not the government.


Wrenches, Financial, and Recruiting

Every now and then it is just fun to write about something a little different.  Recently I had the opportunity to do just that when I was asked to write for a new publication called “Civilian Careers.”  This publication essentially helps military personnel transition back to the civilian world.  It is published by the same good folks that put together Truckers Connection and other related publications.

The articles:

Financially Sound
In this one I talk to Dave Ramsey and a financial advisor at USAA about the financial challenges associated with transitioning from military to civilian life.
Click Here to Read the Article

Recruiter to Recruiter
Are the skills of a military recruiter transferrable to those of a driver recruiter?  I talk to an Army recruiter and CR England’s Director of Recruiting for the answer.
Click Here to Read the Article

Working Wrenches
So you are a mechanic in the military and now want a similar job in the civilian world.  I talk to WyoTech and Penske Truck Leasing to learn how you can make this happen.
Click Here to Read the Article


Random Tolling

How do you pay for a bridge that was constructed before funding was secured?  You toll an entirely different road of course!

The 520 bridge in the Seattle area is just this project.  One plan to pay for the bridge, which also has experienced $100 million in engineering snafu’s, is to toll Interstate 90 to help pay for the $1.4 billion shortfall.

This proposal, and how we arrived at this point, is just too outlandish to write about…..so why not listen….

Learn more about this “fundamentally flawed” proposal, as well as other disturbing and related issues with this project by listening to my interview with Paul Guppy, VP of Research for the Washington Policy Center (originally aired on my local radio program, In The Booth).

Click Here to Listen: Bad Tolling Plan

I’ve long been an opponent of toll roads in most cases.  Proponents of toll roads generally argue tolls are nothing more than a “user fee,” while I argue the gas tax is that “user fee” – unfortunately states and the federal government generally don’t use the gas tax entirely for what I believe it’s intended purpose is, to fund highways.  This proposal, however, takes the idea of tolling to an entirely new disturbing level.

Driver Shortage In Canada?

Driver Training at Saferway
Driver Training at Saferway Driver Training School in British Columbia, Photo Courtesy of Randy Eckert

In the US we have heard for years about the driver shortage.  But, what about in Canada – are they experiencing the same issues?  That’s the topic of one of my latest columns for Western Trucking News.

Is the story really in different on either side of the border?

Article Highlights:

    • A new report (February 2013)  by the Conference Board of Canada (CBC) suggests that due to aging in the driver workforce and a growing demand from trucking services, “the for hire trucking industry can expect to face a driver supply and demand gap of nearly 25,000 drivers by 2020 in a business-as-usual scenario.” But, it could become worse if labor productivity is lower in future years.
    • A 2012 report by the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Driver Shortage identified truck drivers as the most important asset of the industry and that respect would go a long way in helping with recruitment and tenure.
    • Randy Eckert, President of Saferway Driver Training School in British Columbia says the demand for new truck drivers is palpable.
    • Eckert suggests that the standards are too low, the testing at the Drivers Service Centers is too low, and the training standards are too low.
    • North America has known of the driver shortage problem for many years, yet it is as if the governments have had their heads shoved in the sand

READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE


Hours of Service Questions

It’s fascinating how the new US Hours of Service rules are impacting drivers across North America.  Quite frankly, there is significant concern about the financial impact to drivers of the new rule.  And, that concern is not just relegated to American drivers.  Interestingly, that’s the topic of my latest column in Canada’s Western Trucking News, where I try to get some clarification.

US DOT
US DOT Headquarters

Read the column, which includes commentary from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and an expert in DOT rules, Chett Winchell of Your Compliance Center.