November 28, 2011 | Issue #111
Speaker of the House John Boehner, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica and other House Republicans announced that they will introduce a five-year surface transportation reauthorization bill in a press conference earlier this month.
The bill, dubbed the American Energy Infrastructure Jobs Act, would fund transportation programs at current levels, almost $50 billion a year.
Funding for the legislation will come from a provision allowing oil drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge and along the nation's coast lines.
"Here's how the bill works: It will create millions of jobs by eliminating unnecessary barriers that prevent us from using our vast energy resources," said Speaker Boehner. " Second, by expanding American energy production we can help lower fuel prices for American families and small businesses, and can provide a new revenue stream for infrastructure repair and improvement. "
For their part, Senate Democrats have come out in strong opposition to paying for the bill through expanded oil drilling.
"As I have stated many times, we need to pay for the surface transportation bill in a way that is not contentious and does not threaten jobs," said Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). "The proposal by Republican leadership would mire a very popular surface transportation bill in controversy, and it would directly threaten many thousands of fishing, tourism, and recreation-related jobs. In addition, I am told by financial experts that this proposal would fall billions short. I am proud that Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have avoided this type of distraction, because millions of workers and thousands of businesses are relying on us to work together."
"We are excited that the House is ready to deliver surface transportation reauthorization legislation," said ABA President and CEO Peter Pantuso. "With that said, there is a lot of work to be done before a final bill gets to the President's desk. We hope that the House and the Senate will be able to reach a suitable compromise, and deliver a highway bill to the country."
Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced a final rule specifically prohibiting interstate truck and bus drivers from using hand-held cell phones while operating their vehicles last week.
"When drivers of large trucks, buses and hazardous materials take their eyes off the road for even a few seconds, the outcome can be deadly," said Secretary LaHood. "I hope that this rule will save lives by helping commercial drivers stay laser-focused on safety at all times while behind the wheel."
The final rule prohibits commercial drivers from using a hand-held mobile telephone while operating a commercial truck or bus. Drivers who violate the restriction will face federal civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense and disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle for multiple offenses. Additionally, states will suspend a driver's commercial driver's license (CDL) after two or more serious traffic violations. Commercial truck and bus companies that allow their drivers to use hand-held cell phones while driving will face a maximum penalty of $11,000. Approximately four million commercial drivers would be affected by this final rule.
"This final rule represents a giant leap for safety," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "It's just too dangerous for drivers to use a hand-held cell phone while operating a commercial vehicle. Drivers must keep their eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and head in the game when operating on our roads. Lives are at stake."
After the congressional "supercommittee" failed to come to an agreement on cutting $1.2 trillion from the federal budget over the next ten years, Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood issued a statement urging lawmakers not to make cuts to infrastructure programs.
"When times are tough, Americans have always come together to accomplish big things," LaHood said. "It's disappointing that some in Congress haven't been willing to do the same. Because the supercommittee failed to reach an agreement, we now face across-the-board cuts to programs that are critical to rebuilding our crumbling transportation infrastructure and putting Americans back to work."
LaHood went on to urge Congress to strike a bipartisan deal when they return to Washington in December.
"The American people want commonsense, bipartisan solutions that take a balanced approach to reducing the deficit while protecting critical transportation investments that create jobs and allow our economy to grow. When Congress comes back next month, I urge them to set aside politics and get to work on a bipartisan plan that will allow us to live within our means, while also meeting our responsibility to rebuild America's critical transportation infrastructure."
"We are in full agreement with Secretary LaHood," said ABA President and CEO Peter Pantuso. "Congress must come to an agreement on deficit reduction when they get back to town next month. Across-the-board cuts to transportation infrastructure programs will only serve to weaken our economy"
On Tuesday, November 15, 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a final rule Federal Register that requires all CDL holders subject to the physical qualification requirements must retain paper copies of their medical examiner's certificate until January 30, 2014.
Interstate motor carriers are also required to retain copies of their drivers' medical certificates in their driver qualification files. FMCSA is taking this action to ensure the medical qualification of CDL holders until all States are able to post the medical self-certification and medical examiner's certificate data on the Commercial Driver's License Information System (CDLIS) driver record. This rule does not extend the compliance dates for states to collect and to post to the CDLIS driver record data from a CDL holder's medical self-certification and medical examiner's certificate. The rule is effective December 15, 2011. For further information contact Robert Redmond, FMCSA Senior Transportation Specialist at (202) 366-5014 or Norm Littler, ABA Vice President for Safety, Security and Regulatory Programs at (202) 218-7246.
Washington, D.C.'s Union Station officially opened its new Bus Deck during a ribbon cutting ceremony earlier this month.
The Bus Deck became Megabus' new home on Tuesday, November 1, 2011. In addition to Megabus, the Union Station parking garage now accommodates Bolt Bus, Washington Deluxe, DC2NY and tour bus parking. In the spring, Union Station Redevelopment Corporation, a private nonprofit organization that oversees restoration of Union Satation, will add Greyhound service and at the same time will open a permanent lot for tour buses nearby that will provide bus drivers with parking and new amenities for years to come. When those changes take effect, tour buses will continue to drop off and pick up passengers on the Union Station Bus Deck.
Thanks to a donation from ABC Companies, Marketplace 2012 Delegates will have a chance to bid on a M1235 Mid-Size Passenger Coach during this year's ABA Foundation Live Auction.
"We are so grateful to ABC Companies for their continued support of the ABA Foundation," said ABA President and CEO Peter Pantuso. "Their generosity will allow the ABA Foundation to continue to provide deserving students with scholarships and support our industry with original research"
Manufactured exclusively by General Coach America for ABC, the versatile M1235 is perfect for a full range of small group charter, commuter and shuttle applications. Assembled on a durable Freightliner S2 chassis, and featuring an optimized rear suspension package, the M1235 offers a smooth ride built for the long haul.
The ABA Foundation Live Auction will be held on Saturday, January 7th at 4 p.m. during Marketplace 2012 in Grapevine, TX. Other companies interested in donating to the auction can find more information here http://www.buses.org/ABA-Foundation/Events-6
Greene Coach Company, Inc. announced that it has adopted ISE Fleet Services eFleetSuite EOBR solution across its motorcoach fleet. Drivers at Greene Coach are now completely paperless for compliance to FMCSA regulations governing Hours of Service (HOS) and Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR).
"I am very pleased with the results of our transition to electronic logs and inspection reports using the eFleetSuite system," said Russell Ooten, Owner and CEO at Greene Coach. "Drivers have found the system easy to use and we have already seen productivity increases from automated information capture and record retention. Furthermore, having available driver hours visible in both the coach and website enables us to better plan tour stops and events that are consistent with driver's duty limits and deter conflicting demands by tour directors."
eFleetSuite from ISE Fleet Services is a safety and compliance application suite designed to reduce risk, prevent accidents, boost productivity, and manage FMCSA compliance. The system includes the mDash 4, a low-cost rugged in-cab EOBR that help drivers stay within safety and compliance parameters. Roadside inspections are aided by providing information for a clean inspection that leads to a good driving record and an improved fleet CSA score. Safety compliance officers, fleet managers, dispatchers and maintenance personnel use eFleetSuite's web application for real-time and paperless compliance and resource management.
"Russ has been a terrific partner in assisting us with tailoring our eFleetSuite application to the demands of the motorcoach industry", said John Gaither, Vice President Sales for ISE Fleet Services. "He really understands the unique needs of motorcoach operators – no surprise since he grew up in the business started by his father 66 years ago."
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The Maryland Motorcoach Association is taking the high road against hunger on December 9, 2011 with their Stuff-A Bus Event to benefit the Maryland Food Bank the Capital Area Food Bank and Toys for Tots that together serve the entire state of Maryland.
"The Stuff-A-Bus" Event against Hunger is an annual tradition of our association that can make an encouraging influence in our state," said Al Spence, President of Maryland Motorcoach Association. "We have an opportunity here to help Marylanders by encouraging all of our members to come out and participate in this event"
Donations of toys, warm clothing, non-perishable food items and cash will be accepted during the event, which will be held at the Best Western PLUS Hotel and Conference Center, Baltimore, MD on December 9, 2011 from 6pm - 9pm.
All donors who contribute $100 or more will be listed in the MMA Quarterly Winter News Letter in February 2012.
If you would like to get involved, call Mary Presley at: 571-312-7117 or firstname.lastname@example.org
BA's Membership Committee is encouraging members to nominate deserving individuals for the 2012 ABA Kaleidoscope Award, the winner of which will be announced during Marketplace 2012 in Grapevine, TX January 6-10.
ABA's Kaleidoscope Award is designed to recognize an individual or company who has directly promoted diversity within and among the motorcoach, tourism and hospitality industry. An individual or organization may earn the award, and ABA membership is not required. Award nominees must have articulated and implemented a vision that energizes others and challenges his/her organization and the industry to increase opportunities for everyone; led in the promotion of diversity through leadership development for underrepresented populations; recognized the benefits of diversity for the motorcoach, tourism and hospitality industry; created an environment that fosters diversity; and have demonstrated a commitment to humanitarian service.
The ABA Membership Committee is soliciting annual nominations from current members in good standing via nomination forms.
An individual may nominate his or her organization or another individual, but not themselves, for the award. Nomination forms are due to Roderick Lewis no later than Dec. 9, 2011. For more information, please contact Roderick at email@example.com.
Larry Benjamin passed away peacefully at home on November 25, 2011, after a battle with cancer. He was 58 Born November 18, 1953 in Northfield, MN to Philip A. & Scholastica "Slest" Benjamin. Loving husband to Mary Jane, adoring father to Ali (Michael) Coyne, Kyle (Carley), Heather (Mike Stuart), and grand-father to Oliver, Philip and Samantha Benjamin, and Benjamin Coyne.
Larry was the principal owner of Northfield Lines and Benjamin Bus for 22 years, along with his brother John. He was on the Board of Directors for United Motorcoach Association and International Motor Coach Group. Larry prided himself not in his success in business, but in the friends he made along the way. His warmth and charm captivated everyone he met and resulted in many friends that will miss him dearly. He lived life to the fullest and especially enjoyed the time he spent with his wife at their homes in Ft. Myers, Florida and Crosslake, Minnesota. He will be remembered for his good looks, infectious laugh, engaging and fun-loving sense of humor, and his ability to draw people in. His strength and loving care for his family cannot be replaced and his memory will be treasured forever.
New Members- Print and Add to your 2011 ABA Motorcoach Marketer
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The following Motorcoach Operator has submitted an application for membership between November 8, 2011 through November 21, 2011 and have met all membership requirements. They are currently in the mandatory 30 Day period for member comments. Should members have comments regarding this application, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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