The US unemployment rate of 4.1%, a 17-year low, coupled with higher-paying job choices are worsening the long-haul trucking industry's driver shortage. This is placing renewed pressure on shippers to increase compensation and improving working environments.
Governors Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Rick Snyder of Michigan, Bill Haslam of Tennessee and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas met with Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday to discuss their goals for North American Free Trade Agreement reform. The governors emphasized the need to protect domestic jobs, US manufacturing and global trade.
Ford Motor CEO Jim Hackett says his company is exploring the production of more fuel-efficient SUVs in response to consumer preferences. The company is also moving its autonomous- and electric-vehicle units from Dearborn, Mich., to Detroit, a move it says will bring together "Ford teams that are creating new business models in a resurgent, diverse neighborhood with industrial roots."
A $70 billion, decadelong transportation plan in Texas will move ahead -- minus projects involving tolls -- after the state's governor pressured the Texas Transportation Commission. Some local political leaders argued for keeping a toll project on Interstate 35 in the plan, but the commission said any move to add tolling projects in the future will be a move by the Legislature.
Free Market Institute Director Benjamin Powell contends that congestion on America's roadways means a "shortage at the legal price," and he argues that dynamic tolling can help solve the problem. He suggests that variable pricing on all interstates would lead to less crowded roads.
The Independence and Liberty bridges in Michigan need millions of dollars in repairs, and the Bay City Commission is considering a construct-own-operate-maintain contract with United Bridge Partners. The commission will vote on the idea next week, and the privatization would add tolls to the bridges.
Tolls on the South Norfolk Jordan Bridge in Chesapeake, Va., will increase at the start of the new year. Passenger vehicles with E-ZPasses will pay an extra 10 cents, and larger vehicles with E-ZPasses will pay $8 during peak times and $5 during off-peak times.
Washington state wants to begin discussions with Oregon to replace the Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River, and it recently held its first meeting on the issue to indicate to Oregon how committed the state is. Funding for the bridge could come from state and federal funds, plus tolls.
IVU Traffic Technologies and BestMile have formed a partnership to create the Autonomous Driving for Public Transport project to synchronize the movements of the different vehicles within the public transportation system. They believe the key to incorporating driverless cars onto roadways is to have human-driven and autonomous vehicles work together.
Henry Cisneros, former secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, writes that Congress must preserve private activity bonds in tax reform legislation because they're an important financing tool for infrastructure. The Trump administration's infrastructure plan calls for the use of private investment, but that will be more challenging if private activity bonds can no longer be used.
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