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    Leesburg, Va.
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    I am a practicing attorney. I have worked for Perot Systems Corporation for 17 years. We were recently acquired by Dell. I am also the Chairman of FMCA's Governmental and Legislative Affairs Committee. If my husband and I had our way, we'd be in our motorhome six months out of the year, but, unfortunately, we both still work.
  1. Mr. Brownell - In response to your post, as Chairman of the FMCA Governmental and Legislative Affairs Committee, I reached out to Jon Walker, President of the Great Lakes Area and member of the Committee. Jon, in turn, asked member and London-based attorney Donald Crawford to assist with your inquiry. Don recently provided the following information to me: There is presently a committee drawn from the Ontario RV Dealers Association who have been working the Fifth Wheel project and the motor home issue for approximately five years. They have met with the Minister of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) same as your (DOT) They received permission the last week to set up a training program where dealers can administer a program to their customers, once their customer completes the program they receive an endorsement allowing them to drive their fifth wheel without an “A†license Tractor Tariler. I am also advised that the Insurance Bureau of Canada is also on side. The MTO are also aware that the stats show a very low rate of motor vehicle collisions amongst RV customers. The view of the committee is they want to get the Fifth Wheel issue settled first before they approach the Motor Home issue. They are afraid if they try the Motor Home issue at the same time the MTO will just back off and drop everything. There may still be a problem with the Fifth Wheels against those that tow with a highway tractor, and may have some problems when it comes to axle weights. I don’t think that part really concerns us. The Committee does not have any information, anecdotal or otherwise as to problems with RV drivers. It would be my advice at the present that we not try and force the motor home issue in case it backfires on us. I will have more information after the Hamilton RV show which is being held this week and the London RV show which is being held on the weekend of the 18th of this month. One interim solution might be available and that is to obtain the “D†license, which is a step up from our “G†license. The “D†would allow for combinations over 20,000 pounds and is relatively easy to get. The problem is if we are forced to go to an “A†license (tractor trailer) that means a yearly exam after the driver turns age 65, as well as a medical. With the “D†you don’t get retested until you are 80 years old. Generally speaking, to be on the safe side, I think a person should get their “D†while they are still relatively healthy, and that way they would not run any health problems or retesting until they turned 80. The 80 years of age is also mandatory for anyone holding a “G†license (passenger car). Mr. Crawford has promised to follow up with additional information as it becomes known. He is also happy to speak with you directly if that would be helpful. Regards, Vicky Ferrari Chairman, FMCA Governmental and Legislative Affairs Committee
  2. The proposed toll increase was brought to the attention of the FMCA Governmental and Legislative Affairs Committee. FMCA delivered a letter at the BATA meeting signed by Charlie Schrenkel, FMCA national president. While FMCA supports maintenance of our nation's infrastructure, we did object to the inequitable increase of the tolls for motorhomes and other non-commercial vehicles towing. The text of the letter is as follows: Ladies and Gentlemen: I represent the Family Motor Coach Association, a non-profit organization of over 100,000 motorhome owners. I am writing to you at the request and on behalf of our members, approximately 13,000 of whom reside in California. Our members have expressed concern over the disproportionate impact of the proposed toll increases on motorhomes and other non-commercial vehicles towing cars and trailers. While 2-axle vehicles will generally see a toll increase from $4.00 to $5.00 (a 25% increase), the proposed toll increase for 4-axle vehicles, including cars, trucks and motorhomes towing, is from $8.25 to $20.00 (a 142.4% increase). We respectfully request that the BATA consider a toll increase that is more equitable and in-line with the proposed 2-axle toll increase for non-commercial travelers towing vehicles. We do recognize that there could be logistical problems in any increase that distinguishes between commercial and non-commercial vehicles, and multi-axle vehicles versus two 2-axle vehicles travelling under tow, but we would ask that you try to find a means to overcome these problems. We are aware that one of our members, Bob Lundin, has given this matter much consideration and does have a specific proposal for your consideration. Safety is of tantamount concern for FMCA as I am sure it is for BATA. We are troubled by the possibility that travelers who are towing cars will stop before the toll booth and disconnect towed cars in order pay the reduced toll for two 2-axle vehicles (generally $10) rather than the toll for a 4-axle vehicle ($20.00). This is yet one other reason to try to come up with an equitable increase for non-commercial vehicles. Thank you for your consideration. FMCA also sent an e-mail, regarding the BATA meeting, to Bay Area FMCA members in case our members wanted to have a voice in the discussion. Bob Lundin, FMCA member, brought the matter to our attention and spoke at the meeting for his allotted one minute, offering what he considered to be a more equitable solution. As Todd inquired above, I too, am curious if FMCA members will stop short of the toll booth to disconnect their towed vehicle to save the $10 (the toll difference between two 2-axle vehicles traveling separately and a two-axle vehicle (motorhome) towing another two axle vehicle. Vicky Ferrari Chairman, FMCA Governmental and Legislative Affairs Committee
  3. On a recent drive from Roanoke to Richmond, Va., in southwest Virginia, we happened upon the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va. Bedford was chosen as the site for the Memorial because of the "Bedford Boys," those 19 sons of Bedford who lost their lives on D-Day, more proportionately than any other U.S. community. As the web site (www.dday.org) states, "Imagine a place where the lessons and legacy of D-Day are remembered and preserved, a place where veterans of all ages are welcomed and honored, a place where visitors discover and recognize the worthy service of those who answer duty's call, a place where gravity and dignity are hallmarks." It is all of this and more. The Memorial was constructed with $19 million in private donations and dedicated in 2001 by President Bush. It is, without a doubt, a true national treasure. Attendance numbers (approx. 85,000/year) suggest that Its location, although appropriate and touching, was seemingly ill conceived, and the Memorial is in dire financial trouble (see Air Force Times article). There is a chance that the National Park Service will take it on, as was done with Mount Rushmore, but there is no guaranty. I would like to urge all FMCA members to visit the Memorial. I promise you won't regret it. It is a beautiful setting on top of a hill in the foothills of the Shenandoah Mountains, with lushly landscaped gardens, a breathtaking and touching fountain, various memorials, statutes and plaques, and much symbolism which is fully explained by very knowledgeable volunteer guides. Various tours are offered. We particularly enjoyed our golf cart tour. There is plenty of room for RV parking; leave the dogs in the RV as they aren't allowed to venture around the Memorial. Our RV was in the nearby Cummins shop on the day of our visit, and we were allowed to carry our two small dogs on the tour and into the gift shop. Admission, tour tickets and gift shop merchandise all supports the Memorial.
  4. Good Morning - Interstate rest areas are maintained and funded by the Departments of Transportation of the state governments. Each state has its own laws, rules and/or regulations regarding what is or isn't allowed at their rest areas. If you will be travelling in a particular state, I would suggest logging on to the web site for the Department of Transportation for the state for information regarding that state. For instance, Caltrans (California's Department of Transportation) has a website with a list of all 86 Caifornia Rest Areas, their location, and the amenities at each. You will also find a link to a page with California's rules and regulations that pertain to overnight RV parking. Texas, as another example, allows parking for up to 24 hours at any of their Rest Areas, Parking Areas or Roadside Picnic Areas. I have noticed in travelling up and down I 95 on the East Coast, that the various rest areas have signs that indicate whether or not overnight parking is permitted. I have also seen websites that provide this information (www.overnightrvparking.com/database) and I believe that Explore the Next Exit before you Exit and Exit Now, two publications, might also contain information regarding overnight RV parking. I hope this information is helpful. Vicky Ferrari, Interim Chair, Governmental and Legislative Affairs Committee
  5. I can't address your question about others in AZ, but if you would like to give us some additional information, perhaps we can strategize with you on a way to retain your parking rights. On what basis does the board deny the parking rights? Are they consistent in their denial? Has anyone ever challenged the board to the point of writing a letter? hiring an attorney? Also, if you will email Margaret Keen (MKeen@fmca.com), she will be happy to send you a copy of FMCA's Parking Rights Manual.
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