Alabama’s Gas Tax Hike Signed into Law
Proposals for diesel and gas tax increases have been making more headlines recently. The latest state to do so is Alabama. Alabama’s Governor Kay Ivey signed a tax hike into law this past week, which will be the first tax increase for the state since 1992. The plan is to raise state tax on gas and diesel by 6 cents per gallon on August 31, 2019, followed by an additional 2 cents increase on Oct 1, 2020 and another 2 cents increase on October 1, 2021. The tax hikes are expected to raise an estimated $320 million per year that will be invested into road construction and maintenance and $12 million that will be put towards the shipping channel in Mobile. Currently Alabama is one of the lowest taxed states in the country with the current tax rate of 19 cents per gallon. With the 10 cents increase, Alabama will remain in the bottom half of the country when considering state tax rates.
Other states are also proposing diesel tax hikes as a part of their state budgets. The largest proposal waiting to be voted on is Michigan, as the state wants to increase diesel taxes by 45 cents over a year and a half. If passed, Michigan would be the highest taxed state, passing California, Pennsylvania, and Washington state. Other states such as OH, MN, WI, AR, and WA are considering raising diesel tax rates as well, although nothing has passed currently.
CSX Rolls Out Truck Reservation System
CSX Transportation is starting to roll out a reservation system that requires carriers and truck operators to book appointments to return empty boxes or drop off loaded containers. This is another move by CSX in implementing their precision scheduled railroading (PSR) strategy. Beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) in Memphis and Chicago experience issues with this as they are faced with storage charges while waiting – potentially for days – to get a reservation number. This effects service as transit times have slowed and boxes sit idle until slots open up. The reasoning behind this move is to limit the number of boxes idling in their terminals. By implementing the reservation system, it allows CSX to limit the containers moving into the terminal to match the number of slots available on an outbound train.
In Other News
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Venezuela’s opposition leader is rolling out the welcome mat to foreign investors who want a piece of the world’s largest oil reserves. In a major break from the policies of President Nicolas Maduro and his late predecessor Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan opposition chief Juan Guaido wants to allow foreign crude explorers to drill without partnering with the national oil company.
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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill into law Tuesday afternoon that raises Alabama’s fuel taxes by 10 cents over three years to increase funding for roads and bridges. The Alabama Senate passed the main bill by a vote of 28-6 earlier in the day.
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CSX Transportation has begun requiring truckers to book appointments to return empty boxes or drop off loaded containers, an operational change that hasn’t been burdensome in smaller markets but is a significant issue in Chicago and Memphis, Tennessee.
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