Overdrive Magazine

May 2019

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22 | Overdrive | May 2019 BESTPASS, a toll management service, now is available on South Carolina's 16-mile Southern Connector Toll Road (Interstate 185). THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION awarded a $6.8 million grant to the Texas Department of Transportation to help fund the I-10 Corridor Coalition Truck Parking Availability System. The grant will be used to implement a truck parking availability detec- tion and information dissemination system at 37 truck parking locations along Interstate 10 from California to Texas. TRUCK DRIVER FEEDBACK is being sought by the American Transportation Research Institute on preferred data formats and delivery mechanisms for truck parking availability information. An online survey can be completed through the end of May at TruckingResearch.org. DAIMLER TRUCKS AND BUSES acquired a majority stake in Torc Robotics, a Blacksburg, Virginia-based provider of autonomous driving products and developer of the Asimov self-driving software. Martin Daum, CEO for Daimler Trucks and Buses, said the move will help the company reach its 10-year goal of delivering Level 4 autono- mous heavy-duty trucks that initially will be deployed in U.S. hub-to-hub operations. Tesla bumps Semi production to 2020 When Tesla debuted its electric Semi tractor in late 2017, the company set a production target of 2019. After posting first-quarter financial losses of more than $700 million last month, the company said it now plans to start production of its Class 8 in 2020. "Next year, we will start produc- tion," said Jerome Guillen, Tesla Automotive president. "We are very happy with driving the trucks extensively with, I think, so far quite amazing success." The prototype Semis used to deliv- er some of its Model 3 sedans "are working amazingly well," said Elon Musk, Tesla's chief executive officer. Guillen added, "We load them to maximum weight and continue to make improvements." The company hasn't confirmed order figures for the Semi in nearly a year. Last May, Musk pegged the figure at "about 2,000" units. UPS, FedEx, PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch, J.B. Hunt and Walmart are among the carriers said to be reserving Semis. Where the Semi will be built has not yet been determined, but Guillen noted "it's pretty clear that we make all the batteries, and [the company is] driving it" in Sparks, Nevada, home to Tesla's Gigafactory. Jonathan Chang, Tesla general counsel, said the company planned to finalize its acquisition of San Diego- based ultracapacitor and battery company Maxwell in May. — Jason Cannon Elon Musk tweeted this picture showing Tesla's electric Semi hauling four of the company's electric Model 3 sedans. A Pennsylvania judge last month dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association challeng- ing the Pennsylvania Turnpike's "excessive toll increases" and what the group sees as a misappropria- tion of toll revenue. OOIDA said it will appeal the ruling. Judge Yvette Kane of the Middle District of Pennsylvania granted the motions of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Gov. Tom Wolf and Transportation Secretary Leslie Richards to dismiss the case. "This lawsuit is far from over," said OOIDA President Todd Spencer. "And win or lose on appeal, the turnpike's debt crisis and the Commonwealth's trans- portation emergency aren't going away, either. This is a crisis created by the Legislature's decisions, not our lawsuit." In its lawsuit, OOIDA said the commission's toll hikes "place an undue burden on interstate com- merce while improperly diverting toll revenue to other projects unre- lated to the turnpike." In Kane's opinion, she acknowledged that OOIDA's complaint "credibly alleges that Pennsylvania's policy decisions related to transportation have resulted in a statutory scheme that disproportionately burdens turnpike travelers with the costs of a statewide transportation sys- tem that is of no direct benefit to them." Tolls have increased on the turnpike for 11 consecutive years. PTC Chairman Sean Logan in 2015 said annual increases of 3% to 6% are expected to continue through 2044. — Matt Cole OOIDA TO APPEAL DISMISSAL OF LAWSUIT OVER PA TOLLS

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