User-agent: Mediapartners-Google* Disallow: Trucks World News: March 2007
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2007-03-31

... Old Truck Cabs ??? ... A special Ford Transcontinental interior

UK -Biglorryblog -30 Mar 2007: -- A wonderful old (well that must be old because they are in Black & White) shots of an interior of a true spec Ford Transcontinenal with just about everything your average long-haul driver would want... Ashley tells me, "the bridal suite" (official Ford description) "complete with sink, cooker, fridge, 10 gallon water container and the best bit....a vanity mirror, complete with light. Brilliant idea. You've just done 1,000 miles across the Arabian desert and you can use it to check your eyebrows for singed hairs. Strangely though, the roof mounted air-con unit was only an option. The "lads" loved the Transconti's on the Asia runs. The cabs were big and spacious and comfy"... As this picture shows they were also toweringly tall too!... (Picture, by Ashley Coghill /Biglorryblog)

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DEBATE * USA - Spending bill passes; second bill to block Mexican truck pilot program surfaces

Washington,DC,USA -The Trucker -March 30, 2007: -- The U.S. Senate has passed the mammoth, $121 billion emergency supplemental spending bill that contains an amendment to further stall a pilot program to authorize Mexican trucks to travel deep into the U.S... Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who helped sponsor the pilot program amendment to the bill, applauded the bill’s passage, as did various other groups including the Teamsters... Meanwhile, the second in what may be a series of legislators’ bills to block the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Mexican truck pilot program has surfaced. H.R. 1773 is sponsored by Rep. Nancy E. Boyda, D-Kan., and would “limit the authority of the Secretary of Transportation to grant authority to motor carriers domiciled in Mexico to operate beyond the United States municipalities and commercial zones on the United States-Mexico border”...

* USA - Representative introduces ‘Trucking Safety Act’
Washington,DC,USA -The Trucker -March 29, 2007: -- Today, U.S. Congressman Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., introduced legislation “clarifying and strengthening current limitations imposed on Mexican motor carriers entering the United States,” a statement from the Congressman’s office stated... Called the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Trucking Safety Act,” it “specifically prohibits Mexican trucks from entering the United States beyond commercial zones along the U.S.-Mexico border without meeting specific safety and security conditions”...

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RESEARCH * USA - ATRI measures impact of ACE truck e-manifest system

Alexandria,Va,USA -The Trucker -March 30, 2007: -- The American Transportation Research Institute today released research findings from an assessment of the Automated Commercial Environment Truck e-Manifest’s impact on international trucking operations... Survey and interview research conducted by ATRI revealed that physically crossing an international border into the United States is smoother when employing the ACE Truck e-Manifest, but start-up labor and equipment costs must be accommodated... Although these start-up costs are considerable for some carriers, the research shows that the ACE Truck e-Manifest has the potential to provide net operational benefits for medium and large carriers, according to the ATRI summary of its findings... To view the research summary and order a copy of the full report, visit online...

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AWARD * Canada - Local trucking company honoured

Winnipeg,Manitoba,Canada -The Winnipeg Sun -30 Mar 2007: -- For the second straight year, Winnipeg’s Bison Transport has been named the safest trucking company in North America by the Truckload Carriers Association... Bison won in the category for fleets driving more than 25 million miles a year. The company was also deemed the safest for fleets driving more than 100 million miles annually... Based in Winnipeg since 1969, Bison Transport is one of Canada’s largest transport companies... The company employs more than 1,500 people and runs more than 900 tractors...

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Reclamations * USA - California ports exploit truckers

CAL,USA -eTrucker -30 Mar 2007: -- Calling the current California port trucking system broken and dysfunctional, a coalition of environmental and labor groups on March 29 demanded an overhaul of the system to reduce pollution and provide better working conditions for drivers... "Under the current system, drivers are paid by the load, not by the hour, and are required to maintain their own rigs and pay for gas, repairs and insurance", Chuck Mack of the Teamsters said. "'Independent contractor' has a nice ring to it, but the reality of it is, it's really no more than exploitation," Mack said. "Their wages are too low to support their family, and most have no health insurance. They truly are the working poor."... Staff members at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are developing a framework for a truck-modernization program under the Clean Air Action Plan...

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PRODUCTS * USA - Trucking Along for Maximum Profits

New software for the hard roads of the trucking industry
Atlanta,GA,USA -PRWEB -March 30, 2007: -- With trucking companies facing an uncertain operating environment in 2007, due in part to rising operating costs and an economy that is giving mixed signals, finding innovative approaches to workforce and profit management are more relevant than ever. Effective Management Systems (EMS) in Atlanta, Georgia has found a way to maximize profits in the trucking industry... Robert Sullivan, President of EMS, realized that most trucking companies measure productivity in outmoded ways, such as wages as a percent of revenue, pounds per man hour, or stops and shipments per hour. In measuring the profitability of customer traffic they use operating ratio, which is confusing in making pricing decisions. Without an accurate way to measure productivity and determine the level of variable cost consumed by a customer’s traffic, companies can’t make accurate pricing decisions and are operating blind...

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Truck Tonnage Index * USA - Increased in February

USA -Layover -30 Mar 2007: -- The American Trucking Associations advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 1.6 percent in February after falling a revised 3.1 percent in January... ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said February's tonnage increase came as a surprise given other economic trends during the month and considering the rough winter weather...

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TRUCKMAKERS' NEWS

* USA - Freightliner Adds to Job Slump
Portland, Ore,USA -The Oregonian/Layover -30 Mar 2007: -- The last Freightliner-branded commercial truck rolled off the production line in Portland Thursday night, catapulting 750 workers onto the unemployment rolls and into a job market that's suddenly cooler than a parked sleeper rig at dawn... Even before the truckmaker's massive layoff, Oregon manufacturers had been shedding jobs since August at a faster rate than the rest of the nation... A report this week about disappointing orders for durable goods -- the type of big-ticket items that many Oregon manufacturers make for other businesses -- suggests to some economists that the U.S. economy might be headed for recession...

* USA - Peterbilt facilities in full production with 2008 models
Louisville,Ky,USA -The Trucker -March 30, 2007: -- Peterbilt Motors Co. said during a news conference at the 2007 Mid-America Trucking Show here that both Peterbilt heavy-duty truck manufacturing facilities and the PACCAR facility that assembles Peterbilt’s medium-duty vehicles are in full production with the company’s new product lineup of 2008 models...

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TRUCKS' MARKETS WORLDWIDE

* Belarusia - Trucks and farm machines are competitive in Venezuelan market
Minsk,Belarus -National Legal Internet Portal -30 Mar 2007: -- The Belarusian trucks and farm machines are competitive in the Venezuelan market, first vice-premier of Belarus Vladimir Semashko has told reporters in Minsk today... According to him, the Venezuelan side shows such interest in the MAZ trucks as well. The first two 20-truck consignments have already been sent to Venezuela. A contract for the third consignment has been also signed...

* China - Truck output, sales decline in Feb
Bejing,China -Xinhua/China Daily -30 Mar 2007: -- Truck output and sales declined in China in February, according to figures from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM)... China produced 133,360 trucks in February, down 1.39 percent from the same period last year and down 19.49 percent from January... Truck sales declined 3.02 percent year on year to 117,582 units from 103,816 units a month earlier... The top three best sellers were the Beijing-based Beiqi Foton, the Hubei-based Dongfeng Motor and the Anhui-based Jianghuai Automobile...

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* USA - Woman Chases Stolen Trucks

Houston,TX,USA -Click 2 Houston.com -March 30, 2007: -- A woman chased a group of men who allegedly stole trucks from a northwest Harris County lawn care business on Thursday... Deputies said the woman was on the phone with their office while she chased the trucks... One of the trucks collided with a vehicle on Bammel North Houston Road near the Sam Houston Parkway a short time later. Investigators arrested the driver... The second truck got away... : Woman Chases Trucks Stolen From Business)

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DEBATE * USA - Head of agency says U.S. may have to pay $2 billion if Mexican vehicles are kept out

Penalty possible if trucks don't roll

Houston,TX,USA -Bloomberg News/The Houston Chronicle, by ANGELA GREILING KEANE -March 29, 2007: -- The U.S. government may have to pay a penalty of more than $2 billion if it doesn't open its roads to Mexican trucks, the chief of a U.S. trucking agency said Thursday... The estimate is based on a 2000 penalty figure from a board overseeing the 1995 NAFTA trade treaty, John Hill, chief of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, told a House subcommittee in Washington. He said in an interview that a penalty isn't imminent...

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2007-03-30

DANGEROUS DRIVER

* USA - Accident clogs I-95

Norwald,CT,USA -The Stamford Advocate (Stamford,CT), by Jonathan Lucas -March 29 2007: -- A truck overturned after colliding with a car on Interstate 95 shortly after 9 a.m. yesterday... The accident closed the highway and backed up traffic for miles in both directions. The truck driver, Michael Stephens, 38, of Enfield, was taken to Norwalk Hospital and treated for minor cuts to his head, according to state police... The driver of the car and his two passengers escaped unharmed... Stephens was cited for an unsafe lane change after state police said he veered from the right-hand lane across all three lanes of traffic, striking the 2000 BMW 740i, in the center lane... The truck, which was carrying metal components, drove onto the grassy median and rolled over when it became mired in the mud, Norwalk Deputy Fire Chief Dave Lepus said... (Photo by Andrew Sullivan/Greenwich Time - Wrecking crew uprights a tractor trailer on I-95 North following an accident one mile west of Exit 17)

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Fighting * Poland - Railway and car transport companies to dispute for the market

PKP railway company wants to fight with car transport

Warsaw,Poland -Puls Biznesu -29 Mar 2007: -- PKP, the state-owned railway company, is going to fight to regain the cargo market. It would like to make the government raise road fees paid by trucks... In the beginning of 1990ies, 83 billion ton-km of cargo were transported by trains while 40.3 billion by trucks. Today, the proportion is completely different: TIR transport rose by three times to 119.7 billion of ton-km while railways transport nearly half of the cargo it used to 17 years ago...

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Trucking tax * New Zealand - 'To be passed on to public'

Auckland,New Zealand -The New Zealand Herald -March 30, 2007: -- Trucking companies are angry that they were given only 48 hours' notice of a sharp rise in road user charges and say consumers will end up paying... Transport Safety Minister Harry Duynhoven announced yesterday that road user charges for vehicles over six tonnes would increase an average 11 per cent from April 1... The Road Transport Forum, the lobby group for trucking companies, said that charges had never been increased at such short notice before and its members would not be able to adjust their contracts quickly enough to recover them by the start date...

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PRODUCTS

* USA - Holland introduces ‘World’s lightest fifth wheel’
Holland,Mich,USA -Truck News (CAN), by James Menzies -30 Mar 2007: -- SAF-Holland has introduced what it’s calling the world’s lightest fifth wheel... The Holland FWAL Lightweight Aluminum Fifth Wheel has been designed by SAF-Holland and forged by Alcoa. It is designed for standard duty applications and forged from the same material Alcoa uses for its truck wheels. Holland officials say the new fifth wheel weighs in at 100 lbs less than competitive models...

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Analysis * USA - Headwinds for truck engine makers getting stronger

Chicago,Ill,USA -Reuters, by Nick Carey & James B. Kelleher -Mar 28, 2007: -- Jim O'Neal says now is not a good time to be buying new trucks... "The economy is in a down cycle and the new trucks are more expensive," said the majority owner and president of Springfield, Missouri-based O&S Trucking Inc., which has a fleet of 350 trucks. "Where is the incentive to buy in an environment like that?"... After a stellar 2006, 2007 was always going to be a tough year for the U.S. heavy duty truck makers because of tough new clean-air standards... The question is: Just how bad will it be? While most truck and diesel engine makers insist 2007 is meeting admittedly low expectations, DaimlerChrysler AG's truck-making unit Freightliner LLC and truckers tell a very different story... (Photo by Gene Blevins, REUTERS: A line of trucks along the Interstate 5 wait for the freeway to reopen after a winter storm dumped snow and closed the freeway January 17, 2007. After a stellar 2006, 2007 was always going to be a tough year for the U.S. heavy duty truck makers because of tough new clean-air standards)

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Rig thieves * Canada - Hit the road

Recent cargo robberies in Ottawa region have truckers' association worried

Montreal,QUE,CAN -canoe.ca, by JON WILLING -29 Mar 2007: -- Somewhere, maybe in Montreal, $100,000 worth of Kraft shredded cheese that was produced southeast of Ottawa could be making its way into the marketplace and store owners won't even know they're peddling stolen goods... The theft was the first that kicked off a month of truck heists... Mark McDougall, president of SCAET (Stolen Cargo and Equipment Tracking Inc., a private firm that specializes in investigating cargo theft), believes 85% of cargo thefts are random and although about 90% of the trucks are returned, the load is often lost... According to McDougall, property stolen from rigs in Eastern Ontario frequently ends up in Quebec. He said Hwy. 401 is "just like a pipeline" for stolen goods going to Montreal...

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* USA - Are longer, heavier trucks the solution to freight capacity crisis?

National Industrial Transportation League's (NITL) Spring Policy Forum notebook

Washington,DC,USA -Logistics Management (Newton,MA), by John D. Schulz -March 28, 2007: -- There is a growing pile of freight forecasts over the next decade or so and the bottom line on all those reports is simple... “It is up and up and up,” said Bill Graves, president of the American Trucking Associations, told a group of 75 shippers at the National Industrial Transportation League's (NITL) Spring Policy forum held just outside of Washington earlier this week. “There’s going to be enough freight for everybody. How the pie is sliced up really doesn’t matter. We’re obviously going to have a lot more trucks out on the road.”.. Here are some of the forecasts: Commercial trucks to grow by 40 percent over the next 10 years. Intermodal growth forecast to increase by 80 percent over the next decade. ATA forecasts a need for 110,000 new drivers by 2014, with about half of those needed just to keep up with economic growth. Over the next decade, there are forecasts of 30 percent increases in freight demand across all modes...

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DEBATE * USA - America shouldn't fear Mexican trucks

Los Angeles,CA,USA -Los Angeles Daily News, by GARY M. GALLES ( professor of economics at Pepperdine University) -27 Mar 2007: -- Although NAFTA committed the U.S. to allow Mexican trucks full access to its roads by 1995, this commitment has been repeatedly stalled by assertions that Mexican trucks were dirty and unsafe. Now, a one-year demonstration project will allow access for up to 100 Mexican trucking firms to evaluate the results, and apocalyptic claims are being recycled again. For example, Teamsters' President Jim Hoffa calls the move "Russian roulette on America's Highways."... The protectionist motive for such claims is obvious. But why do those asserting that Mexican trucks will foul our environment and terrorize our highways so stridently oppose a test of their assertions? If they are right, it would validate their position. But they know they are wrong, so they must derail any test that would prove it... The basis for claims that Mexican trucks are too dirty essentially boils down to their greater average age, while safety assertions are primarily based on high border-inspection failure rates. But both are misleading... At Otay Mesa, the main California entry point for Mexican trucks, the Department of Transportation reports that "Mexican trucks currently operating in the commercial zone are as safe as the trucks operated by companies in the United States."... If we eliminated the current inefficient, protectionist policies on Mexican trucks, combined with an effective regulatory regime, the newest, cleanest Mexican trucks would carry longer hauls in the U.S. The oldest, dirtiest trucks would disappear from the border. And the reduced time idling in line at border checkpoints would further reduce pollution... No wonder the Mexican-truck protectionists oppose a demonstration of that reality...

* Mexico - Mexican carriers want out of pilot program
Mexico,DF,MEX-Land Line Magazine ( Grain Valley,MO,USA) -March 28, 2007: -- A trade association representing Mexican motor carriers has asked the Mexican Senate to cancel the cross-border pilot program with the United States... "CANACAR has formally requested not to open the borders for trans-border services and to have the pilot program suspended until conditions for a fair competitive environment are existing and that the Mexican trucking industry has the guarantee of not being subject to unfair inequitable and discretional treatment by U.S. authorities, CANACAR National President Tirso Martinez Angheben wrote in a press release... CANACAR is an organization which represents the general interests of the Mexican Trucking industry...

* USA - Mexico ready to send fleets on our roads
Pueblo,CO,USA -Pueblo Chieftain, by Chuck Green -29 Mar 2007: -- The United States is about to allow thousands of cargo trucks from Mexico to have full access to American highways and urban streets - without having to comply with U.S. Department of Transportation trucking regulations... The program, authorized by President George Bush under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), has all the earmarks of a disaster...

* USA - OOIDA applauds legislation putting Mexican trucks on hold
Washington,DC,USA -Truck News (CAN) -29 Mar 2007: -- The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers’ Association (OOIDA) is applauding the introduction of the NAFTA Trucking Safety Act of 2007, introduced by US Rep. Duncan Hunter... The legislation requires Mexican-domiciled trucks to be held to the same standards as US trucks. The bill could put on hold a pilot project that would provide 100 Mexican trucking companies with unfettered access to the US...

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AUTOMAKERS ' NEWS

* Europe - SMMT welcomes budget’s Euro 5 incentives for trucks
London,UK -Auto Industry -28 March 2007: -- The Society of Motor Manufacturers has given a cautious welcome to the government’s plan to revive Reduced Pollution Certificates for Euro 5-compliant trucks from October this year... The SMMT says it understands over 90% of heavy truck registrations in Germany are at Euro 5, purchases having been encouraged by Autobahn toll discounts for such vehicles... Tony Pain, UK marketing director at Daf Trucks and chairman of the SMMT’s Commercial Vehicle Manufacturer’s Committee said he thinks the government’s plan bring in Reduced Pollution Certificates for Euro 5 trucks from October, won’t lead to the sort of market distortions caused by the introduction of digital tachographs and Euro 4 emissions standards: “Most truck makers already have strong order books and don’t expect cancellations. Providing operators talk to truck makers quickly, there is a good chance that many of the Euro 4 trucks on order can be upgraded to Euro 5, so that they qualify for the new RPCs.”...

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Put the brakes * USA - On bigger trucks for roads

The juxtaposition of news reports out of the state Legislature reveals clashing objectives

Ketchum,ID,USA -The Idaho Mountain Express and Guide -March 28, 2007: -- While lawmakers are struggling to find $246 million for minimal work on the Connecting Idaho highway repair and improvement program, they are at the same time considering opening up another 400 miles of state roads to monster trucks weighing up to 129,000 pounds... Politically courageous, strong-willed legislators with a heap of common sense should put the brakes on this scheme pushed by a veritable juggernaut of 38 agriculture and trucking groups with a team of lobbyists, all descended on Capitol corridors with tales of a bonanza of economic benefits trailing behind the trucks... Those driving the some 800 miles of roads now designated for heavy trucks will understandably raise their eyebrows about the proposal to add 400 more miles...

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Trucks banned * Australia - On city streets

Melbourne,Australia -The Melbourne Herald Sun, by Geraldine Mitchell -March 29, 2007: -- Trucks have been banned from central Footscray in a landmark move to ease congestion on suburban streets... VicRoads has approved Maribyrnong City Council's request to ban heavy trucks from its busy shopping area to improve safety for pedestrians and traffic flow for shoppers... The council had complained the trucks used the shopping area as a thoroughfare to the Port of Melbourne... It will now erect truck ban signs and monitor traffic flow...

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2007-03-28

‘Racism’ * USA - "Seen in Liberals" Opposition to Mexican Truckers

Syracuse,NY,USA -The NewStandard, by Michelle Chen -28 Mar 2007: -- Labor and public-interest groups are arguing that permitting Mexican truckers to drive US roads under NAFTA raises safety concerns. But the facts suggest otherwise, and some activists see a deeper problem... The southern border has become a political fault line once again, as a plan to open US highways to a select group of Mexico-based commercial traffic runs into opposition. While some labor and safety advocates decry Mexican trucks as "unsafe," others see xenophobia driving the controversy... Manuel Pérez Rocha with the Red Mexicana de Acción Frente al Libre Comercio (Mexican Action Network on Free Trade) said the trucking issue reveals "abysmal asymmetries" in free-trade agreements...

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Hazards * USA - Cheap aftermarket brake actuators flooding market could present they

Charlotte,N.C.,USA -Today's Trucking (CAN) -27 Mar 2007: -- ... According to Wayne Seaman of MGM Brakes in Charlotte, N.C., some aftermarket brake manufacturers -- mainly overseas exporters from Asia who think they can make a buck producing cheaper actuators -- have re-introduced the double-clamp versions to the North American market. And in the hands of an inexperience technician, these babies are dangerous, says Seaman... In 1987, MGM re-designed the actuators with only one clamp, so the spring side was inaccessible. By the early '90s, the entire industry had embraced this design. Seaman says injuries due to inexperience essentially disappeared... Now that they’re back, he says, there’s a whole generation of technicians who have no experience with the obsolete units...

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Trucking Shipments * USA - Drop by 1.7 percent

Washington,DC,USA -BusinessWeek -27 Mar 2007: -- U.S. trucking shipments declined by 1.7 percent in February compared with a year earlier, an industry trade group said... The American Trucking Associations, in a monthly report released Monday, said shipments have declined on a year-over-year basis for eight straight months. Its truck tonnage index rose 1.6 percent from January, however...

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Report * USA - Fine diesel trucks that don't meet emission rules, then buy cleaner ones

Torrance,CA,USA -The Daily Breeze, by Kristopher Hanson -27 Mar 2007: -- A coalition of retailers, marine terminal operators, ocean shippers and freight haulers Monday released an industry "white paper" supporting an environmental overhaul of diesel trucks in California... Among other suggestions, the document seeks to establish gate fees on drayage trucks that fail to meet proposed state diesel emission standards. The fees, collected by marine terminal operators, would be used to help purchase newer, cleaner trucks... In addition, the paper advocates using state bonds strictly for infrastructure projects and not truck-replacement programs...

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Research * UK - Firm to collaborate with German company to build carbon fibre commercial vehicles

UK -Automotive World -28 March, 2007: -- The Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA) has signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Germany-based The Technology Team (TTT) to study the use of advanced lightweight structures and aerospace materials like carbon fibre for use in heavy vehicles...

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Highway Hero 2006 * USA - FedEx Freight driver it's

Louisville, Ky,USA -eTucker -28 Mar 2007: -- At the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., Goodyear named Edward A. Regener of Perres, Calif., a FedEx Freight driver, as North America Highway Hero for 2006... Regener saved the lives of three men in a three-vehicle collision on Interstate 10 near Goodyear, Ariz., on Nov. 4, 2006. The accident occurred when a westbound car lost control, crossed the median and hit a pickup truck with such force that both vehicles struck Regener’s truck, which was carrying corrosive hazardous materials... The pickup truck and Regener's truck caught fire. Amid toxic smoke, Regener worked to remove two men from the car and a man and woman from the pickup. A police officer said Regener was crucial in helping him move the pickup driver, a large man, away from the flames... (Photo: Edward A. Regener of Perres, Calif., thanks the crowd at the Mid-America Trucking Show)

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TRUCKMAKERS' NEWS

* USA - Freightliner: Suppliers must be global
Louisville,Ky,USA -eTrucker, by Avery Vise -26 Mar 2007: -- In the years to come, major component suppliers to Freightliner must be prepared to do business with the entire DaimlerChrysler Truck Group, not just the Portland, Ore., based North American truck builder, Freightliner LLC President & Chief Executive Officer Chris Patterson says. That includes positioning Freightliner LLC as the sole channel for the aftermarket... And suppliers must be willing to invest and locate wherever Freightliner needs them to, he said. For example, by 2012 a significant portion of Freightliner’s output will come from Mexico...

* USA - Paccar to slash output in Renton by almost 50%
Renton,Wash,USA -Automotive World (UK -subscription), by Oliver Dixon -27 March, 2007: -- Paccar is to slash output at its Kenworth production facility in Renton, Washington, by nearly 50%... The facility will be shut down entirely between 4 April and 17 April, and will resume with a daily output of just 18 units... Its current build rate is ...

* UK - DAF building flagship XF trucks in Britain
England,UK -Automotive World (UK -subscription), by Alan Bunting -28 March, 2007: -- In order to free up manufacturing capacity in its main Eindhoven plant in the Netherlands, DAF Trucks has transferred assembly of right-hand drive XF chassis to the Paccar group's Leyland plant in the north-west of England. Right-hand drive CF and LF...

* USA - DaimlerChrysler Sprinter assembly begins at Charleston
Ladson,Charleston,SC,USA -Automotive World (UK -subscription) -28 March, 2007: -- DaimlerChrysler's plant in Ladson, Charleston in South Carolina has officially begun production of the Sprinter under the Dodge and Freightliner brands for the American market... According to the company, production capacity of 32,000 units is available...

* USA - DaimlerChrysler to launch new test fleet of plug-in hybrid Sprinters
USA -Automotive World (UK -subscription) -28 March, 2007: -- DaimlerChrysler, which is expanding its concept plug-in hybrid programme to include the all-new 2007 Dodge Sprinter, will begin testing a fleet of commercial vans capable of running on battery power alone. Up to 20 Dodge Sprinter Plug-in Hybrid Elect...

* Taiwan - Renault Trucks assembles first Euro IV trucks in Taiwan
Taipei,Taiwan -Automotive World (UK -subscription) -28 March, 2007: -- The first of Renault's new generation Euro IV standard Premium trucks has been assembled in Taiwan... Sold in CKD (completely knocked-down) form, the first eight Renault Premium 450.26 T 6x2 trucks have been assembled in the Arcadia Motor plant, Renault ...

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2007-03-27

What will be the hottest trucking issues over the next decade?

Diesel hovering around a buck a liter is here to stay for now. But how much higher will prices jump beyond that?

Toronto,ONT,Canada -Today's Trucking -26 Mar 2007: -- The myriad issues surrounding 2007 -- from the introduction of smog-free engine technology, to new hours-of-service rules, to a recent downturn in freight volume -- is making this year one of the thorniest in trucking's history... But what's further over the horizon? Does the future look even more controversial for trucking, or will things eventually get simpler?.. Peter Nesvold of renowned Wall Street transportation market analyst firm Bear Stearns recently outlined what he and his clients believe will be the trucking industry’s 10 most pressing issues over the next decade. Here they are:
* 10 Longer life cycles
* 9. Global consolidation at all levels
* 8. Fuel costs and alternative power
* 7. Vertical integration
* 6. Vehicle idling creates demands for auxiliary power units, but are there alternatives for fleets that don’t want the added weight? How will the world of aerodynamics bring?
* 5. Global sourcing
* 4. Safety
* 3. Driver and technician shortage
* 2. Diesel emissions
* 1. Highway congestion
(Photo: Freight volume keeps growing while North American highway capacity doesn't budge. Something's gotta' give)

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PRODUCTS * Thailand - RFID-Based, Electronically-Sealed Cargo Information

Savi Networks Provides to Western Digital for Efficient and Secure Transport in Thailand
Bangkok,Tahiland & Moutain View,CA,USA -Industrial Embedded Systems (press release -St Clair Shores,MI,USA) -March 26, 2007: -- Savi Networks and Western Digital have dramatically cut time and costs from customs clearances while boosting security measures by automating shipment information from active Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) seals on freight transportation trucks in Thailand... The ongoing operation involves agreements with Royal Thai Customs and the Thailand-based TIFFA EDI Services Co. Ltd., resulting in key benefits for Western Digital, which include: enhanced automation; a reduction in overhead; reduced waiting times for Customs clearance; less individual transaction cost and increased accuracy of shipment information...

* USA - ZF Lemforder to use MTS simulator
USA - Automotive World (London,UK) -26 March, 2007: -- ZF Lemforder has selected MTS Systems' road simulator for testing suspension designs for heavy trucks... Mike Schulz, senior product manager at MTS, claims that MTS' new heavy truck road simulator meets the testing needs of the market at a much lower cost than road or proving ground testing. According to him, the new heavy truck road simulator includes tyre-coupled testing solutions, heavy-duty multi-axial simulation tables and the latest generation of truck mounted wheel force transducers... MTS Systems offers testing hardware and software to help customers improve their design, development and manufacturing processes and to determine the mechanical behaviour of materials, products and structures...

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DRIVERS' SHORTAGE * USA - Trucking companies don't have enough drivers for the long haul

Aging truckers will likely leave large void when they retire
Bellevue,WI,USA -The Green Bay Press Gazette (Green Bay,WI), by Nathan Phelps -25 Mar 2007: -- Jason Ostenson, an independent truck driver from Edgemont, S.D., sees advertisements from trucking firms seeking drivers all over the place... Demark Express Inc. co-owner Louise Potts also said finding drivers has become more difficult. Like other firms, they work with their seven drivers to give them as much home time as possible in an effort to retain them. Potts said they have not changed their standards either, and continue to look for qualified drivers... She has seen some interest from younger people in long-haul trucking, but they face some barriers coming into the industry, including age regulations that require commercial drivers to be at least 21 years old... The average driver age at Schneider is the early 40s... In terms of finding drivers, trucking companies say they expect that will continue to be a challenge in the coming years and decades... For more than a decade, small and large long-haul carriers alike have looked for ways to attract new drivers to their businesses and the industry — which says it is facing a shortage of qualified long-haul drivers... (Photo by H. Marc Larson/Press-Gazette - Instructor Wanda Barry observes Thursday as student driver Christopher Corn practices backing up a tractor-trailer at the Schneider National Driver Training Academy in Ashwaubenon)

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97 feets long * USA - That string of trucks just got a little longer

St. Louis,MO,USA -The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, by Elisa Crouch -26 Mar 2007: -- ... Last week, the Federal Highway Administration loosened its length limitations on "four-ways," a slang term for a truck towing three other trucks. Used to be, they couldn't stretch longer than 75 feet. Now it's 97. Just what we needed... There's been increased pressure from truck safety groups to reduce the number of truck-related deaths, which reached about 5,200 in 2005, according to the Truck Safety Coalition. That same year, Congress said OK to the 97-foot-long truck combinations... Nevertheless, the rule published last week by the Federal Highway Administration cites studies from groups that say safety concerns from the truck drivers are unfounded. It's nice to think that's true. But there's something about a line of trucks 97 feet long that's pretty scary at 70 mph...

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DEBATE* USA - Mexican's Trucks

Keep on trucking
Salt Lake City,UT,USA -The Salt Lake Tribune/Public Forum Letter, by Barbara Bindrup ( Logan,UT) -24 Mar 2007: -- President Bush recently announced that Mexican truck drivers will soon be allowed to drive trucks on our highways... Bush has made many errors during his presidency: Iraq, weapons of mass destruction, 9/11, outsourcing American jobs, open borders, the Katrina aid disaster, prisons overloaded with illegals, the Patriot Act, a monstrous national debt and much more... Now our dedicated American truck drivers are getting a stab in the back! Mexican truckers will undercut the wages of American truck drivers, and soon Bush will recite his famous mantra, "Mexican drivers will do the jobs Americans won't do." ... This will prove to be a national disaster. He is sending a clear message that American workers are not an asset to America... Thanks to this presidency, 1 million Americans have lost their jobs and America's manufacturing sector has lost 3 million jobs... How is America going to stay afloat once our middle-class workers are sold down the river?...

* USA - Truckers boycott border states
Boise,ID,USA -NewsByUs, by Frosty Wooldridge -Mar 26, 2007: -- President Bush displaces American truckers out of their jobs within 45 days with his Mexican trucker pilot program. Bush signed a bill that allows thousands of substandard 18 wheeler long haul rigs from Mexico onto America’s Interstate system. Mexican drivers, who can’t read, speak or understand English--receive full access to America’s highways... Bush places all American motorists at risk with Mexican drivers with average 6th grade educations from a Third World country, gross incompetence and habitually drunk Mexican drivers as well as their unsafe trucks and trailers. Not only will American truckers lose their jobs, but American motorists become collateral damage in accidents guaranteed to occur...

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Lawsuit * USA - Ford worker took millions in kickbacks, officials say

Milwaukee,WIS,USA - The Morning Journal (Lorain,OH) -24 Mar 2007: -- Federal prosecutors have forced a retired Ford Motor Co. manager, who at one time worked at the Lorain Assembly Plant, to hand over nearly $660,000... Prosecutors said John K. Perry amassed the money in they called a kickback scheme with trucking companies that generated millions over several years... No criminal charges have been filed against Perry, former manager of material planning and logistics at Ford's assembly plant in St. Louis, but a civil lawsuit U.S. Attorney Steven M. Biskupic filed this week in Milwaukee federal court says authorities seized about $660,000 Perry had in a brokerage account...

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TRUCKMAKERS' NEWS

* Sweden - Volvo to complete $1.1bn takeover
Stockholm,Sweden -Finance24 (Cape Town,South Africa) -25 Mar 2007: -- Swedish truck and busmaker AB Volvo on Saturday said it will complete its 7.5 billion kronor $1.1bn) takeover bid for Japan's Nissan Diesel after roughly 96% of shareholders accepted its offer of the company... The acceptance period for the deal expired on Friday and Volvo said it would now redeem the remaining shares... Volvo's offer will give it full ownership of Nissan Diesel and highlights its ambitions in Asia, where the company has lacked a local brand. It owns Mack Trucks in the US and Renault Trucks in Europe...

* USA - Volvo stabilizes vocational truck
Louisville,Ky,USA -Truck News (CAN), by Steven Macleod -26 Mar 2007: -- The Volvo VHD vocational truck now has Volvo Enhanced Stability Technology (VEST) as standard equipment on all concrete mixers, the technology is also standard across Volvo’s entire range of highway tractors in North America. Volvo made the announcement during the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky. on March 23 along with updates on other company product developments... VEST is a full electronic stability program, engineered to bring a higher level of protection from truck rollover and jackknife, using a standard pneumatic foundation brake system. The Volvo VHD also has a standard antilock brake system (ABS), as well as ABS-based traction control... (Photo: VEST is now standard equipment on Volvo's concrete mixers)

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Tax Incentive * USA - Missouri lawmakers proposes for trucking firms

State lawmakers want to give tractor-trailer drivers and companies a sweeter deal for reducing noxious exhaust

pringfield,MO,USA -Joplin Globe (Joplin,MO)/The Associated Press -March 24, 2007: -- The large trucks that move goods through Missouri and across the country can idle for the equivalent of eight hours each day and 100 days a year while the truck is loaded and unloaded and when the driver rests... All this idling keeps the engine block warm and the living compartments lighted and heated or cooled, but it also spills carbon dioxide and other air pollutants into the atmosphere without getting the products in the trailer any closer to market... But the idling comes at a cost. Studies from the U.S. Department of Transportation show that 458,000 trucks, requiring heat 85 days per year and cooling 218 days per year idle, would use more than 838 million gallons of petroleum and produce 9.6 tons of carbon dioxide just by idling... If the trucks used generators that connect to the tractors and allow the drivers to turn off the engines while keeping the engines warm, they would burn two-thirds less petroleum and produce 80 percent less carbon dioxide...

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Trucks in fast lane * Australia - Heighten hazards

Melbourne,Victoria,Australia -The Age, by Stephen Cauchi & Reid Sexton -March 25, 2007: -- Speeding truck drivers are to blame for accidents like Friday's Burnley Tunnel inferno, according to a road safety expert... Raphael Grzebieta, associate professor at the department of civil engineering at Monash University and a past president of the Australian College of Road Safety, said trucks should be banned from the right-hand lane on freeways — as is the case in Britain — and the speed limit cut to 60 km/h in tunnels... But the chief executive of the Australian Trucking Association, Stuart St Clair, said it was too early to apportion blame for the accident and said trucks should be able to drive in any lane as long as they did not speed. "We need to see what the coroner's view is of the accident," he told...

* Australia - Safety overhaul for Vic's Burnley Tunnel
Melbourne,Victoria,Australia -The West Australian (Perth,Western Australia) -25 March 2007: -- Victoria Police will examine the need to overhaul the Burnley Tunnel after three people died in a fiery multi-vehicle crash... State assistant commissioner for traffic Noel Ashby said possible changes to the tunnel included reducing the 80km/h speed limit, restricting trucks to the inside lane and installing emergency lanes... Mr Ashby said the police and coronial investigation would dictate future action, newspapers report...

* Australia - Drivers unaware of tunnel etiquette, says road expert
Melbourne,Victoria,Australia -The Age (Melbourne,Victoria), by Stephen Moynihan & Ben Doherty -March 26, 2007: -- Melbourne drivers are immature in tunnels, according to a world expert on road safety... As debate raged over truck access to tunnels and freeways, Arnold Dix, an adjunct professor of engineering and a member of the Permanent International Association of Road Congresses, said more education should be given to drivers... Another Victorian road expert said many drivers felt intimidated when driving close to trucks, particularly in the CityLink tunnels. There have been calls to educate motorists to safely share roads with trucks...

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Fury mounts * UK - After trucks block A14

Felixstowe,England,UK -The Suffolk Evening Star (Ipswich,England,UK), by RICHARD CORNWELL -23 March 2007: -- High winds which close Felixstowe port have a knock-on effect which stretches far beyond its boundaries - causing chaos for residents and turning the A14 into a giant lorry and car park... Emergency services could find themselves stuck miles from the scene of a major incident in Felixstowe if the port was closed - because of lorries gridlocking the A14... That was the fear voiced today in the wake of the latest failing of the Operation Stack system used to deal with trucks when high winds force Britain's biggest container terminal to close for safety reasons... How Operation Stack works... When high winds close the port, parking areas inside the complex are used first - providing space for hundreds of trucks... Chaos caused by Operation Stack has left residents furious...

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2007-03-24

Teamsters Protest * USA - Against Cummins, Inc. at Mid-America Trucking Show

Workers Call on Cummins to Act Socially Responsible
Washington,DC,USA -PRNewswire-USNewswire -23 Mar 2007: -- Yesterday dozens of Teamsters swept through the event hall at the Mid-America Trucking Show, one of the world's largest heavy-duty trucking events, to protest diesel engine manufacturer Cummins, Inc.... Wearing t-shirts reading, "What's Wrong with Cummins?" workers decried Cummins' recent attempts to slash health care for employees at its South Charleston, West Virginia plant. The protesters also cited Cummins' repeated labor law violations and history of restructuring moves that deprive workers of union representation...

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Book * USA - The Truth About Trucking

Nashville,TN,USA -The Nashville City Paper, by Ron Wynnr -March 23, 2007: -- Nashville trucker Steven R. Zellers has logged more than three million miles in his career as a driver, hauling any and everything while dealing with changing regulations, interstate highways and the rigors of being behind the wheel day after day for more than 20 years... During that time, he has dealt with numerous challenges, from satisfying the requirements to earn his commercial license to handling weather dilemmas, physical exhaustion, various state transportation officials and bureaus, and even passing on his expertise to new drivers...

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BORDER NEWS

* Bulgaria/Turkey - Drivers of 70 Heavy Load Trucks Block Sofia to Protest
Sofia,Bulgaria -Sofia News Agency -23 March 2007: -- Bulgaria's Association of Automobile Transport organized a protest, blocking Sofia's ring road with more than 70 heavy load trucks on Friday. Members of the Association protest against the passing of Turkish truck through country's territory without paid permits to do that, which, according to the protesters will defraud the revenue with more than EUR 60 M a year... If the Turkish trucks are allowed to pass through the country, this will also put the Bulgarian drivers in a non-equivalent position...

* USA/MEXICO - Cross-border trucking touted as big for S.A.
San Antonio,TX,USA -The San Antonio Express, by Meena Thiruvengadam -22 Mar 2007: -- Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, San Antonio was to become a hub for warehousing and distribution. That hasn't yet happened, but the city could come closer to realizing its potential under a pilot cross-border trucking program, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said Thursday... Peters toured Southern Warehousing and Distribution, the city's oldest public warehouse, to describe how the cross-border trucking program the Department of Transportation announced last month could impact local warehousing and distribution operations...

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TRUCKMAKERS' NEWS

* Sweden - Europe behind the high delivery volumes for Volvo Trucks in February
Stockholm,Sweden -Easier (Chester,UK) -23 March 2007: -- Volvo Trucks deliveries in January and February 2007 totalled just over 15,000 vehicles, an increase of five percent compared with the same period last year... On the European market, deliveries rose by 25 percent, totalling 8,284 trucks (6,604)... North American deliveries amounted to 3,661 (5,284), which is a drop of 31 percent compared to the same period in 2006... For South America, the positive trend continued with deliveries totalling 1,060 (769) for the first two months of 2007. Asia and the Middle East also show an increase in deliveries of 17 and 16 per cent respectively...

* India - Daimler may make trucks
Mumbai,India -Daily News & Analysis, by Rabin Ghosh -March 23, 2007: -- DaimlerChrysler trucks, which are currently being sold as CBUs (completely built units) in the country, may be manufactured locally... Currently, DaimlerChrysler markets only the Mercedes Benz Actros range trucks, which it launched in the country only late last year... DaimlerChrysler India is setting up a greenfield plant in Pune spread across 100 acres of land. The new plot would have space for a possible truck assembly line, if the company decides to set up a such a facility...

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DEBATE * USA - Mexican's Trucks

* Plan to let Mexican trucks deep in U.S. stalls
Washington,DC,USA -AP/El Paso Times (El Paso,TX) -23 Mar 2007: -- Mexican trucks could have to wait longer than anticipated to haul freight deep into the United States... A Senate panel on Thursday voted to delay the plan by requiring the administration to publish details about it and giving the public time to comment on it... "The administration is rushing to open the border to Mexican-domiciled trucks without assuring their safety and enforcement of the law of the U.S.," said Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen. "They can't go rushing forward in opening the border without having explained what their pilot project is."...

* Mexican Trucks Plan Will Begin Despite Senate Amendment, Official Says

Washington,DC,USA -Congressional Quarterly -March 23, 2007: -- The Bush administration has no immediate plans to delay a pilot program that would allow Mexican trucks greater access to U.S. highways, despite language Senate appropriators added to an emergency spending measure, an administration spokesman said today... The Transportation Department “is committed to moving forward with this program, and will continue to work with members of Congress to address their concerns,” said department spokesman Brian Turmail...

* Cross-Border Trucking Program On Hold
Alexandria,VA,USA -CNSNews.com, by Susan Jones -March 23, 2007: -- Labor union leaders are claiming another victory on Capitol Hill, after a Senate committee voted to block President Bush's "reckless plan" to open the U.S. border to "unsafe" Mexican trucks... However, business and industry groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, calls cross-border trucking an important step in enhancing competitiveness, reducing pollution (from trucks idling at the border), and promoting economic growth in both Mexico and the U.S...

* Senate amendment stalls DOT cross-border trucking pilot program
Washington,DC,USA -Logistics Management (subscription - Newton,MA) -23 Mar 2007: -- An amendment introduced yesterday by the Senate Appropriations Committee for the Senate’s Fiscal 2007 Supplemental Funding Legislation has refused to finance the funds needed to take the next steps to launch the Department of Transportation’s proposed cross-border trucking pilot program between the United States and Mexico... The amendment, introduced by Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), would require the pilot program to be subject to an open, transparent process that will require public comment, quantifiable measures of success, and a requirement that safety be enhanced, according to a summary...

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2007-03-23

Intrastate Truck Rules * USA - Washington state bill would change

Wash,USA -Land Line Magazine (Grain Valley,USA) -March 21, 2007: -- Unsafe trucking companies are the subject of a bill moving through the Washington Legislature... Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-Lake Forest Park, has introduced a bill that would make it easier to shut down trucking operations in the state with faulty trucks and people who drive them recklessly... The House voted 88-9 to approve a bill that would authorize the Washington State Patrol more authority to monitor, inspect and penalize intrastate carriers. It has been forwarded to the Senate...

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Toll Road * USA -

* Opposition on Indiana hearings draw
IN,USA -Land Line Magazine (Grain Valley,MO) -March 21, 2007: -- A hearing this week generated opposition and debate about a proposed tolled bypass of Indianapolis... The Indiana House Roads and Transportation Committee has two hearings left concerning the controversial Indiana Commerce Connector, a crescent-shaped bypass around eastern Indianapolis that would link to interstates in six counties... News agencies around the state reported one of the hearings, which was Tuesday, March 20 in Martinsville, IN, drew hundreds – many armed with signs of opposition and a sharp word or two about the proposal...

* Florida bill could authorize toll road lease
FL,USA -Land Line Magazine (Grain Valley,MO) -March 22, 2007: -- A bill is on the agenda for Florida’s House of Representatives this week that, if approved, could pave the way for highway privatization in that state... The bill – HB7033 – would authorize the state’s Department of Transportation to lease toll roads to private entities. The bill would apply to any existing toll facilities in the state’s highway system, except the Florida Turnpike... The bill also limits the leases to 50 years, though it does leave room for the possibility of extending those agreements to 75 years or more...

* Poll shows NJ residents oppose toll road lease or sale
NJ,USA -Land Line Magazine (Grain Valley,MO) -March 22, 2007: -- AA poll released this week by AAA Clubs of New Jersey found that more than half of the motorists surveyed are opposed to the leasing or selling of the New Jersey Turnpike to a private contractor... The auto club surveyed 1,000 drivers in the state and found that 56 percent opposed a sale or lease. However, 65 percent said that, if such a deal were to take place, all proceeds should be exclusively reserved for transportation needs...

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