|Budget Crrisis in California Will Affect the Construction Industry?|
|Saturday, 15 June 2002 09:12|
This magazine is going to print early this month, and I love to tell Jesse Ramirez, who puts this all together and reminds me that I have a deadline for this article, that he is putting too much pressure on me. Jesse is taking a well-deserved vacation and traveling to Paso Robles for a family reunion. I will also be taking a week off and heading to Baton Rouge, LA., the birthplace of my grandparents and a place that rejuvenates me like no other. Getting together with the southern folks is one of my yearly highlights.
I wish I could say that work is booming here in the north, but that is not the case. For the most part, rates remain the same as they were three years ago and work is a hit and a miss. I am sure that our current budget crisis in California will affect the construction industry, as well as the fall-out from SB-871 and the environmentalists that seem to be running our state. Just when work was beginning to pick up after our rainy season, a major project was halted at the BART extension to the San Francisco Airport, when it was discovered that a garter snake had been squashed on the haul road. Evidently, this was not the first time a snake had been murdered on this job site. In the spring of 2000, work was halted for 18 days when the first victim was found on the roadway, with a cost to the transit district of $1.07 million dollars in construction delays. Before construction began, snake trappers caught as many as possible, and special fences were installed. After the first murder, workers received special snake training that taught them to recognize the snake, which when sitting on the road can look like a stick. Anyway, I hear from some truckers who were on the job that after a full investigation, the alleged murderer had been found to be a water truck driver, and that the victim entered the roadway from a small hole in the k-rail, which has since been repaired. You gotta love California. Did someone mention budget crisis?
The Internal Revenue Service set up shop last week at the Cordelia Scale checking dump trucks only for red dyed (off road) fuel. Because this fuel is not taxed at the same rate as on road fuel, it becomes a tax evasion matter for the IRS and the penalties are severe. At the time my husband was inspected, he learned that five trucks had been cited. One misconception that we might have is that it is okay to use the off road fuel if you are on an off-highway job. However, according to the IRS publication that was given to the truckers after inspection, “Dyed fuel must never be used in the tank of a highway vehicle that is registered or required to be registered.”
You have also heard that the American Trucking Association has proposed to train 3 million truck drivers to help safeguard the country from terrorist attacks. It is hard to believe how much our world has changed since September 11. Now we are hearing of trucks being used as weapons of mass destruction. After the attacks on New York and Washington, we all felt so helpless, now comes along something positive we may be able to do for our country. I know I would be proud to be a member of “America’s Truck Army.”
Until next time. please keep a sharp eye out for sticks in the roadway.