Daily Archives: February 17, 2019

Taxes, Tolls, & Truckers

It’s a fair statement to say that the feds have dropped the ball on keeping our nations highways in shape. The fuel tax, the key mechanism set up in the 1950’s to fund the animal is still at 38 cents per gallon. That tax is split between 18.4 cents per gallon of gas and  24.4 cents per gallon of diesel. That’s the same rate it was in 1993. These, along with other excise taxes fund the Highway Trust Fund. Unfortunately, that fund is effectively broke right now. When established, cars got 5 miles per gallon and big rigs got about 1 mile per gallon, so we used to suck in a whole lot of fuel juice. Today, cars get average mpg in the mid 20’s and trucks get a whopping 5.6 miles to the gallon! Hey – it’s better than 1! Those changes alone mean less money in the fund. Now throw in a steady growth for electric cars, which either use no gas or limited if they are a hybrid, and the money fund goes down even further.

Now that does not mean funds have not been allocated for our roads. Going back t0 Clinton, which was the last time the taxes were raised and you’ll find several transportation funding allocations:

  • 1995 – 8 billion added to Highway Trust Fund as part of the National Highway System Designation Act
  • 1996 – 13.1 billion for transportation projects under HR 2002
  • 1998 – Clinton signs Highway Bill that poured 217 billion into funding. 41 billion was for mass transit
  • 1999 – For fiscal 2000, Clinton gets Transportation Spending Bill for 50.2 billion
  • 2002 – Fiscal year 2002 saw over 61 billion in transportation spending
  • 2003 –  Fiscal year 2003 saw over 67 billion in transportation spending
  • 2004 – Transportation Equity Act: 275 billion authorized, 64 billion spent that year
  • 2005 –  Fiscal year 2005, another 67 billion spent
  • 2006 – Fiscal year 2006 saw 70.7 billion spent
  • 2007 – Fiscal year 2007 was another 76.9 billion
  • 2008 – last year before Barry, 12.1 billion as Bush’s War on Terror funding sucked up 145 billion

That’s a load of money. I have not even listed Barry’s bills. Oh, and the Highway Trust Fund was declared insolvent in 2007…

Barry got his 800 billion Stimulus is 2009. Of that, roughly 80 billion went to infrastructure. So rather than do the year by, here is the summary of spending on transportation (infrastructure and related items) expended during the reign of the Lord Obama from the US Government budgets – 549.3 billion and that does not include data from 2011 and 2016 as it buried in so many reports, I did not want my eyes to bleed out.

Man – that’s a lot of money. Now, transportation is not just building and maintaining roads, but other infrastructure like mass transit as well as the cost to operate them.

It’s not like the monies have not been flowing, regardless of who is in Congress or the White House. So, why do we need to still spend a trillion on roads? Out tax money is going in and the appropriations are going out. I know there are and have been highway projects going on everywhere. Here is what I also know, many states have gotten tired of waiting on the feds in many states and are taking matters into their own hands.

Rhode Island Department of Transportation Toll Plan
In 2015 the Rhode Island Legislature rolled out a plan called Rhode Works. Cute. Bottom line – create new tolls to pay for repairs to roads and bridges. Hey, if the feds won’t doll the funds timely, take matters into your hands. I get it.

Here was the problem – this one targets truckers and truckers only to pay for the system. Hmmmmm.

Guess that thing called the Constitution and the Interstate Commerce Clause did not ring a bell? Well, the plan rolled out, tolls on truckers starting coming in and all was well in Providence, RI. The program was sold as a way to have truckers pay their “fair share” of wear and tear on RI roads according to RIDOT Director Peter Alviti.

So, it could be assumed that trucks are everywhere on RI roads? RI has 436000 registered cars, so how many trucks does it take to equal that amount of driving wear and tear? I don’t know, but my guess is truckers are getting hammered here. I plan on asking Director Alviti on air as I have invited him onto The Automotive Edge Radio Show with Truck Talk to discuss the issue. I want to give him a fair chance to talk on the issue.

In July of 2018, the American Trucking Association filed a lawsuit to stop the program. Eyes are on the lawsuit all over the nation, as its outcome will impact drivers all over the US.

This past week I had Rhode Island Trucking Association President Chris Maxwell on the show to discuss the issue. Maxwell brought up some key points on air:

  • There is a substantial amount of work that is being re-done to, shall we say, questionable original construction. This may be a factor nationally, as I have shown the numbers on federal outlays.
  • Maxwell believes this is a set up for uniform tolls on RI residents in the near future. There could be some credence here, as RI only enacted a variable increase in the fuel tax of 1 cent in 2015 when they could have taken more and distributed the cost.

Stopping the Attacks on the Trucking Industry
I have dealt with truckers for 20 years and I know all the crap they go through to bring you and me goods. Everything you have or buy was transported to the place you bought it at by a trucker. Think about that. Tolls are just one of the many frontal assaults coming at an industry in crisis.

Its time to learn more how to help the industry. I personally like being able to buy groceries and other goods.

Unless of course, you raise your own food, build your own shelters, sew your own clothes…..

Think they call them Amish.

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Back in the saddle again

Yep, I’m back in the saddle. Or more specifically – behind the keyboard.

I have laid off the blog for most of Trump’s term. Not because there hasn’t been crap to write about, there has been. I needed time away from the machine. Make no mistake – talking or writing about politics, especially now in the new wave of Nazi’s on the left that want to destroy anything or anyone that does not agree with them, and you place yourself at risk.

I needed some time. You see, losing a political campaign is one thing. That by itself gives one a big, red ass. In my case, the Great Recession was taking my livelihood and it had to be rebuilt and that damn near killed me.

The 2010 SD 22 Campaign cut out parts of my soul. Not because I lost – I ran a solid campaign against a snake who ended up doing prison time for the crap I uncovered about him. It’s been long enough now that I can write about the fact that because of what I uncovered lead to having guns put to my head on 2 occasions and threatening to blow my brains out and the fact that there were 2 abduction attempts on my kids from their school. I had an attack on one of my professional licenses to put me out of business. Let all of that sink in and simmer. There is not a job in the world worth my family and the items that occurred to me messed me up in many aspects. I was naïve and vulnerable to the consequences of hard-core politics and its impact on my family.

When your head is messed up, you make bad decisions. I have made a few in the past several years. I probably need to get the Golden Crowbar Award for having my head up my rear for an extended period of time. Fortunately, I am breathing clean air again.

So, will I ever campaign for an elected office ever again? Doubtful. Don’t have a problem helping others, but my campaigning days are done. I prefer the appointed route. I allowed myself to be appointed to the Johnson County Emergency Services District #1 (the JCESD) to see if I could handle government on a smaller scale. It’s been nearly 3 years and I truly enjoy it. Being able to guide the program the enables first responders is a hell of an honor. I have thrown my name in the hat for some Gubernatorial Boards appointments. We’ll see what happens. I will be sharing what happens at the JCESD and it is not boring….

I am reunited with my vocational calling – commercial insurance with a focus on commercial trucking. For some reason, I just love truckers and truck insurance. Its been 20 years since I wrote my first truck insurance policy. When I was a kid and dad drove us across America, I had the fun of getting to ride with truckers we met along the way and via CB radio. People that drive trucks are just the best and I love them. Oh, and if you don’t, you better start. Without truckers you don’t have anything. Food, fuel, clothes, etc. – it was all brought to you by a trucker.

Which brings me to my last section. Things do happen for a reason. I am now co-host with Kurt Chase on The Automotive Edge Radio Show. My segment is Truck Talk. Now Kurt has truly created something unique with this show. He has been helping people buy/sell/trade/repair or anything with cars for 15 years. Now, with my segment, we are going to do the same thing with semi trucks. It won’t stop there – we are going to include anything on wheels because his listeners want access to boats/rv’s/motorcycles/atv’s so we are going to give it to them.

Now I am also bringing diversification to the show. I am going to talk insurance and any regulation that screws people AND we are going to talk about regulations on state and federal levels that are messing with truckers. There is a bunch, I’m sorry to say. However, where there is regulation, there are politicians. Where there are politicians, there is a trial of bullshit, diversion, obfuscation, and outright lies. My job will be to shine a light on the darkness and separate the bs from the truth. This time around, I am going to have fun at it.

Does this mean I blog everyday or week or month? Hell, I dont know…. Going to be busy, so monthly is more realistic. However, it will depend on how much garbage is going on too.

You can learn more about the show at http://theautomotiveedge.com/ . Within a week, there will a section for me and Truck Talk. You can listen to the show on Fridays 3 to 5pm CST on 1190am KXFR if you are in DFW or go to https://www.iheart.com/live/talk-radio-1190-am-4276/ and you can listen to the show online. Download the iheartradio app and listen on the phone or tablet. The Saturday show will be from 11am to noon on 1160 AM KBDT in DFW or go to https://usaradio.com/ and select the Listen Live tab. There is no download yet.

The shows are LIVE and we like callers. I have changed twitter to @dgyancy65 and I will be tweeting out the call in numbers for the show. If the 8000 plus devoted readers of this blog will listen and call in, we will have a whole lotta fun.

So, do your research on your topics so you can sound informed when you call.

It’s time to ride!

 

 

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