Scale backup, roadside inspection sites, and Port of Entry officer training were just three of the issues discussed at an Oct. 15 meeting in Colorado. OOIDA's Rick Craig attended the meeting along with OOIDA members Robert and Jean Johnston, Junior Elmore, and George Johnson. Attending from law enforcement were representatives from the Colorado State Patrol, two supervisors for the Colorado Port of Entry, and the CO Division Office of the Federal Highway Administration's Office of Motor Carriers (OMC).
The issues addressed to POE officials included automated closure of ports (Ft. Collins); by-pass policies during scale back-up; posting of signs on routes within five miles of the ports; officer training; truck inspections, and safety when weighing with portables on highway shoulders.
"Many of these problems have been ongoing," Craig said. "Some progress has been made, but getting the necessary funding from the state is claimed to be the biggest hurdle to resolving the issues in Colorado."
Johnston and Elmore are long-time member activists and have major concerns for truckers' safety on Colorado roads. Elmore, an owner-operator from Cheyenne, WY, expressed satisfaction in the meeting and said most of his concerns were discussed.
One of the CO POE regional supervisors at the meeting, Dave Fugget, told Land Line that the meeting was beneficial for both sides. "I believe CO is headed in the right direction, it just takes time and money," Fugget said. According to Fugget, the whole port system in CO is under-going reorganization. Since the meeting, the Ft. Collins' port has reduced the waiting time on the entry ramp to five seconds, there are automated signs on the highway that shut down the port in a backup situation, and the state has allotted money to change the Ft. Collins' port to Prepass. "Within two years, a trucker, with a transponder, will be able to breeze through the I-25 corridor without stopping," said Fugget. "We are dedicated to training POE officials now. CO has an Administrative Program Specialist who came up through the ranks and now trains the personnel at ports."
"I'm adopting a 'wait and see' attitude," said Robert Johnston, owner-operator from Conifer, CO. "Now that all the issues are out there, I'm going to step back, watch and listen and see what happens."