Down, Under, and Through

Have you ever heard the saying that “there’s nowhere to go but up?”  Well, with highway construction that is not always the case.  In fact, sometimes down is the best direction – down and under, that is. 

North End of Massey Tunnel
Midday Traffic, Massey Tunnel

In the September 2013 edition of Woodward Publishing‘s Western Trucking News, I wrote about the George Massey Tunnel project in British Columbia and the Washington State Route 99 through (err, under) Seattle.  Both quite interesting.

Read the story by Clicking Here (pdf).

Border Crossing By Ferry

What a great way to cross the US – Canadian border if you are a truck driver.

My latest feature in Western Trucking News profiles the M.V. Coho Ferry which connects Vancouver Island (Victoria, BC) to the US (Port Angeles, WA).

Having personally enjoyed the amenities of the ferry, I can vouch for its comfort.  Having spoken with truck drivers and trucking company managers about the ferry, I can say that this is an effective way to go to or from Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.

Read the full story by clicking here (PDF).


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.

Marijuana Legal – Not for Drivers!

USDOT Reminds Drivers Marijuana is Still Illegal

It’s my hope that professional truck drivers really did not need a reminder that marijuana use is not permitted, but with Colorado and Washington voters making recreational use legal it was probably a good idea for the US Department of Transportation to remind drivers of just that.

So, because the November 2012 elections not only elected a President of the United States but also legalized recreational use of marijuana in two states the US DOT issued a clarifying statement about marijuana.

In that statement, issued January 24, 2013, the US DOT says, “We want to make it perfectly clear that the state initiatives will have no bearing on the Department of Transportation’s regulated drug testing program.”  In other words, marijuana – recreational or medical use – remains illegal.  The drug is still illegal on the federal level after all.

Read the text of the full notice here.

While Colorado and Washington were the first two states to legalize recreational use of marijuana, despite the fact that the drug is still illegal at the federal level, other states and local governments are likely to follow suit.  This could be the beginning of a change in how the nation views marijuana, or it could be setting up quite the battle between governments (hang on to your hat federalism).

Regardless, truck drivers should make certain they understand the implications the new laws.

Learn more about FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Programs by clicking here.