Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, Land Line Now senior correspondent

ROSES to truckers David Fredericksen and Walter Letterman for their actions in saving the life of a grandmother and her granddaughter after a horrible crash in August. The pair was driving along Interstate 10 near Gulfport, Miss., when they saw a car collide with a tractor-trailer and burst into flames.

The whole thing was captured on a dash cam in Fredericksen’s truck.

Not knowing if anyone survived, Fredericksen stopped his truck not far from the wreck, grabbed his fire extinguisher and went to work. He was joined moments later by Letterman, who had been putting his shoes on. Fredericksen grabbed the child first, handing her off to Letterman, then went to work on getting the woman out.

Everybody made it away from the burning wreck and came out OK, but who knows what would have happened had those two truckers not been there at that moment. Thankfully, we don’t have to find out.

RAZZBERRIES to the state of California for allowing plans to go forward that will see a hefty increase in fuel prices in that state after the first of the year. The plan is part of the California Global Warming Solutions Act, which was passed in 2006 and calls for greenhouse emissions caps on oil companies beginning Jan. 1.

According to CARB, those caps could result in an increase of as much as 76 cents per gallon for fuel. Yes, you read that right. In a state where diesel prices are routinely above $4 a gallon and are already among the highest in the country, they want you to pay even more.

What they don’t want, it seems, is for trucking companies – or anybody else for that matter – to continue doing business in that state because they seem to be going out of their way to make it impossible to do so.

RAZZBERRIES to Richard Hermann, a columnist for The Daily Messenger, a newspaper out of upstate New York. Hermann didn’t win any friends in the trucking community when he started a column by saying Congress should impose strict liability on companies that ship their goods by truck.

He wrote that “shippers would strictly be liable for any road accidents involving the trucks that they engage to ship their goods regardless of culpability.” In other words, if a truck gets in a wreck, regardless of whose fault it is, he wants the shipper who hired that truck to pay for it. It only gets worse from there.

Here are just a few of the things he was flat out wrong about: He said the Federal Highway Administration was responsible for regulating the trucking industry, which of course is not true. He claims to have read the size and weight regulations put out by the Federal Highway Administration (again, not true) and says that the prevailing policy is “no limits.” Again, not even close. He even says the federal limits (which he said don’t exist) are minimums, not maximums. We’re pretty sure this guy was just making things up as he went along.

We could continue listing all of his mistakes but we’d run out of space before we finished.

RAZZBERRIES to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx who, at a Town Hall meeting earlier this year, discussed what he sees as the future of transportation and transportation funding. And while we do have to give him credit for repeatedly pointing the finger at Congress for not properly fixing the Highway Trust Fund and for not passing a long-term transportation bill, we do have to fault him for some of his own solutions to the problem.

Foxx wants to expand the purview of the Highway Trust Fund to include not just money for bridges, highways and the like, but for rail and transit as well. So let’s get this straight. We are barely funding the trust fund as it is. And that money is barely paying for all of the badly needed repairs, upgrades and maintenance for our rapidly deteriorating highway system, and you want to somehow stretch those nonexistent dollars even further?

Come on. We’re already paying for a 10-month Band-Aid with a 10-year tax scheme, and you want to add more burdens to the top of this heap? I don’t think we need to point out yet again who always ends up footing the bill for these things. LL


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