FORT KENT – Legislators have organized a truckers meeting Saturday to discuss with state officials concerns about stringent regulations, fuel costs and trucking rates.
Sen. John L. Martin, D-Eagle Lake, and Rep. Troy Jackson, D-Fort Kent, said Wednesday that they will have federal and state officials and enforcement officials at the session at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Fort Kent Municipal Building.
“Truckers are being pinched hard with fuel costs, trucking rates that won’t be increased and trucking regulations that cost them huge fines,” Jackson said Wednesday. “Fuel costs are wicked high.
“They’ve tried to get [trucking] rates changed but they could not,” Jackson said. “The only things left for them to discuss are regulations.”
Martin said Gov. John Baldacci has agreed to send officials to Fort Kent on Saturday when truckers are not in the woods or on the highways.
Martin said they have been hearing horror stories from truckers and the violations they have incurred.
“I had a trucker tell me he was coming off a woods road with a low-bed trailer and he was fined $100 for having a dirty red flag at the end of his load,” Martin said.
“This will be an opportunity for truckers to air their gripes and to see what responses they get,” Martin said. “This has been going on for some time.” Truckers deserve answers, Martin said.
Jackson said he wanted to organize an opportunity for truckers to talk face-to-face with those who are making and enforcing regulations.
He said truckers are not overly concerned with weight laws, it’s the gamut of other regulations they face.
Jackson said one complaint from a trucker was a $200 fine for having four cables holding down his load. An enforcement official said he needed five cables over his load, and it cost the trucker $200.
“Truckers just feel that trucking regulators can get them for anything at any time,” Jackson said.
“I think we just need to see if we can talk out some of these problems,” the legislator said. “It’s a whole range of stuff.”
Attending the sessions, according to Martin, will be Peter Piwowarski, U.S. Department of Transportation, Motor Carrier Safety Administration; Gary Hinkley, motor carrier services chief for the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles in the Secretary of State’s Office; Lt. Thomas Kelly, Maine State Police commercial vehicle enforcement; Maj. Timothy Doyle, MSP, and Alan Stearns, senior policy adviser to the governor.