Archive for the 'National' Category

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  US DOT is getting ready to start a fascinating study on how automated vehicles will impact “drivers and operators of commercial vehicles, including labor displacement.”  The prep work for the $1.5 million studies has been available for review lately because DOT is soliciting comments on the scope of the study.  “Labor displacement,” of course, could include truck drivers but it also could include new demands for coders and programmers to run – safely – some very big “systems.”  Cities are already well advanced in thinking about AV possibilities.  One Florida city said it could extend its Skyway people mover system into new neighborhoods with an automated system because – and here’s the important part – it could be expanded at grade, at street level.  This is critical: lower costs and community acceptance, people in older neighborhoods didn’t want the elevated structure but they will accept new transit at grade, that otherwise fits into the existing street network.  This study was requested by Congress in the 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies appropriation act.  Unfortunately, the exact schedule for the Study is not available.
*  Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company filed an application with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) seeking authorization to “construct, install, modify, operate, and maintain the certain pipeline and compression facilities located in Massachusetts and Connecticut.”  This work will increase natural gas capacity on its pipeline system by approximately 72,400 dekatherms* per day. The projects include: (1) the construction, installation, operation, and maintenance of approximately 2.1 miles of pipeline loop, and (2) the abandonment and replacement of two compressor units with a new compressor unit at an existing compressor station.  This project includes service territory in or near Lawrence, MA, the site of Columbia Gas’ September 13 explosion.  People are a bit nervous and the FERC docket already contains challenges from environmental and alternate energy groups.  Just how – and whether – this project moves forward will provide important insights about gas and gas service in the Northeast states.
*  Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker established a “Commission on the Future of Transportation in the Commonwealth” to advise his Administration on future transportation needs and challenges. The Commission’s work includes anticipated changes in technology, climate, land use, and the economy to determine likely impacts on transportation between 2020 and 2040. The Commission’s work is to provide “a robust grounding in facts and trends, development of plausible future scenarios, and formulation of recommendations,” due by December 1, 2018.  Transportation electrification is one focus for the Commission, the focus of one recent meeting.  The presentations were neither robust nor original, just a recitation of theoretical possibilities by people who present the same things over and over again, and get paid for it.
*A dekatherm (dth) is a unit of energy used primarily to measure natural gas, developed in about 1972 by the Texas Eastern Transmission Corporation, a natural gas pipeline company. It is equal to 10 therms or 1,000,000 British thermal units (MMBtu) or 1.055 GJ.

Dekatherm – Wikipedia

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DEWALT® Expands 20V MAX* System with Inflator

DEWALT® Expands 20V MAX* System with Inflator

I don’t know about you but one of the things I find I constantly need to do is add air to my car, truck, ATVs, utility vehicles, bike, mower, snow blower, pressure washer tires – actually anything that has pneumatic tires (that includes my dollies, wheelbarrows…). Most of the time it’s when there isn’t access to an air compressor.  And on some of the current vintage cars there is no DC outlet (i.e. cigarette/cigar lighter) so the typical 12V tire inflators are worthless.

DEWALT to the rescue as it continues to expand its 20V MAX* System, now featuring over 180 products, with the 20V MAX* Corded/Cordless Inflator (DCC020I). For high pressure or high volume inflation or deflation, it features accessories and adapters for a variety of applications such as inflating tires, camping mattresses, sporting equipment, and more.

The 5.5lbs. 20V MAX* Corded/Cordless Inflator can be powered by a 20V MAX* or FLEXVOLT® Battery (DCB606, DCB609, or DCB612) from DEWALT, a 12V DC car outlet (12V DC cord included), or a standard 110V AC wall outlet**. Dual inflation modes allow for either high volume inflation or deflation or high-pressure inflation providing a maximum pressure of 160 PSI.

Featuring a digital gauge with auto-shutoff, the 20V MAX* Corded/Cordless Inflator allows the user to pre-set the unit to the required pressure through an easy-to-use interface. In addition, the 20V MAX* Corded/Cordless Inflator includes a threaded chuck that provides a secure connection while an LED helps to provides illumination. On-board accessory storage means that the included high-pressure nozzle, adapter, inflator needle, and a high volume tapered nozzle are easy to access. The 20V MAX* Corded/Cordless Inflator is a durable choice that also includes a high pressure-capable rubber hose and heavy-duty rubber feet.

It’s battery operated; it’s quiet; it’s easy to use; it’s easy to store; it’s fast; it’s battery operated – I know I already said that but if you have ever inflated tires using a DC-corded unit you will understand the true value of “it’s battery operated.”

The versatile 20V MAX* Corded/Cordless Inflator (DCC020IB, bare tool only) is available where DEWALT products are sold and comes standard with a three-year limited warranty, one-year free service contract and 90-day money-back guarantee.

*Maximum initial battery voltage (measured without a workload) is 20 volts. Nominal voltage is 18.

**Battery, charger and AC adapter sold separately.

 

ARTBA Reports: Voters Across the Nation Demonstrate Support for Transportation Investment

Nearly 80 percent of State & Local Ballot Measures Approved

Voters in 31 states Nov. 6 once again showed their support for transportation infrastructure investments, approving 272, or 79 percent, of 346 state and local ballot measures. In total, the approved initiatives are expected to generate over $30 billion in one-time and recurring revenue, according to the analysis conducted by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center™ (ARTBA-TIAC).

The 2018 preliminary results reaffirmed the trend of recent years, demonstrating strong voter support for investments to maintain and improve state and local transportation networks. Including 2018, voters have approved 78 percent of nearly 1,700 transportation investment ballot measures tracked by ARTBA-TIAC since 2009.

In the most closely watched initiative of 2018, California voters turned back Proposition 6, an effort to repeal an increase in the state gasoline and diesel motor fuels tax that had been approved by the legislature as part of a 2017 transportation funding law. The 55 percent to 45 percent decision by voters will help preserve more than $50 billion for urgently-needed highway, bridge, and transit improvements in California over a 10-year period.

“By soundly rejecting Proposition 6 and re-electing 95 percent of the state legislators who voted in 2017 to increase the state gas tax to fund needed transportation improvements, California voters showed the public continues to support a user-funded approach to infrastructure investment. That’s a message the Trump administration and new Congress should heed as they consider a bipartisan infrastructure package and permanent revenue solution for Highway Trust Fund programs next year,” said ARTBA Acting President and CEO William D. Toohey, Jr.

The California repeal attempt was part of a larger effort by Congressional leaders to increase Republican voter turnout in several key California Congressional districts. “In ginning up and funding the Prop. 6 repeal initiative as a ‘get out the vote’ ploy, the U.S. House Republican leadership nearly deprived California citizens and businesses of over $5 billion a year in transportation congestion relief projects. That was both wrong and short-sighted,” Toohey added.

Additional highlights of the TIAC report include:

  • A proposed state gas tax increase in Missouri met unexpected resistance at the polls, with voters rejecting the measure 54 percent to 46 percent.
  • In Colorado, voters rejected two measures to provide new transportation investments. Proposition 109, a measure to provide one-time funding with a $3.5 billion bond, was rejected 39 percent to 61 percent. Proposition 110, which would have increased the state sales tax by 0.62 percent for 20 years and provided an initial jumpstart with a $6 billion bond, also failed, 40 percent to 60 percent.
  • Statewide measures to protect transportation funds from being diverted to non-transportation purposes passed in Connecticut and Louisiana.

Earlier in the year, voters approved 192 measures for an additional $6.4 billion in transportation revenue. The market impact of these ballot measures is difficult to project as revenue approved ranges from immediate one-time investment to a contribution made annually for as long as 30 years.

The complete report and an interactive map showing the state-by-state results can be found at www.transportationinvestment.org.

TIAC operations are supported by ARTBA’s “Transportation Makes America Work” program.

Established in 1902, ARTBA represents the U.S. transportation construction industry before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, the courts, news media, and general public.

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Final Rule on Crane Operator Certification Requirements

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a final rule today that clarifies certification requirements for crane operators, and maintains the employer’s duty to ensure that crane operators can safely operate the equipment. The final rule will maintain safety and health protections for workers while reducing compliance burdens.

Under the final rule, employers are required to train operators as needed to perform assigned crane activities, evaluate them, and document successful completion of the evaluations. Employers who have evaluated operators prior to December 9, 2018, will not have to conduct those evaluations again, but will only have to document when those evaluations were completed.

The rule also requires crane operators to be certified or licensed, and receive ongoing training as necessary to operate new equipment. Operators can be certified based on the crane’s type and capacity, or type only, which ensures that more accredited testing organizations are eligible to meet OSHA’s certification program requirements. The final rule revises a 2010 requirement that crane operator certification must specify the rated lifting capacity of cranes for which the operator is certified. Compliant certifications that were already issued by type and capacity are still acceptable under this final rule.

The final rule, with the exception of the evaluation and documentation requirements, will become effective on Dec. 9, 2018. The evaluation and documentation requirements will become effective on February 7, 2019.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

Statement from ARTBA Acting President & CEO William D. Toohey, Jr., about California Voter Rejection of Prop. 6

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Acting President & CEO William D. Toohey, Jr., released the following statement regarding California voter rejection of Proposition 6.

“By soundly rejecting Proposition 6 and re-electing 95 percent of the state legislators who voted in 2017 to increase the state gas tax to fund needed transportation improvements, California voters showed the public continues to support a user-funded approach to infrastructure investment. That’s a message the Trump administration and new Congress should heed as they consider a bipartisan infrastructure package and permanent revenue solution for Highway Trust Fund programs next year.

“In ginning up and funding the Prop. 6 repeal initiative as a ‘get out the vote’ ploy, the U.S. House Republican leadership nearly deprived California citizens and businesses of over $5 billion a year in transportation congestion relief projects. That was both wrong and short-sighted.”

Established in 1902, ARTBA represents the U.S. transportation construction industry before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, the courts, news media, and the general public.

Visit www.artba.org