Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Is Connecticut Hurting Modular Builders in New England?

Recently I heard from several modular home builders that Connecticut is not playing fair when it comes to oversized modules traveling through their state on the way to MA and RI.

I got this email from a major New England builder and it brings to light a problem that is squarely targeting modular homes.


Have you looked into the issues CT is causing on the transportation from factories in PA, NY etc to the Northeast? They have held permits for one month on and one month off recently because of "construction", but yet they will allow boats and other oversized loads to travel during the day, but NOT modular homes.

I am supposed to be getting a lot of oversized units delivered in July, including a home for a family whose house was destroyed, and CT will not let any oversized loads pass through CT for the whole entire month of July.

Isn’t it a federal crime to hinder state to state business via federal highways and isn’t it also discrimination toward an entire industry that we are singled out?

I find it interesting that no factory seems to want to stand up and take a stand against CT.

I am personally sick and tired of it and it is really, really hurting my business and I know I am not the only one. 

It is a complete game they are playing and I have done some research. The state of CT could lose their federal funding for state roads since they are committing a federal crime. 

I did some research with the help of the owner of a trucking company and learned that oversized loads are only prohibited from east of Danbury, CT.

There is construction 84 that is shutting that route down. As for allowing “super” loads through a state, the Fed gives the state the right to enforce transportation laws as they see fit. For example the divisible load law is strictly enforced in Ct. All other states enforce variations of this law, but they are allowed. 

The real problem for builders in MA and the rest of New England is that I90, the Mass Turnpike, completely prohibits oversized loads. If PA factories were allowed to go north on I81 to the Mass Pike, all the builders in New England might have to pay a little more freight but there would be no problems with CT.

The trucking company owner also told me:

We can bitch all we want, but remember it is Connecticut we are talking about. 


Tom Hardiman said...

Coach, as you know transportation issues in the NE have long been a problem for the industry. The CT problem is a little more pressing however. Yes the road construction has caused delays, but I think we are once again looking at bureaucracy at work (or should I say not at work).

MHBA recently held a call with a CT DOT official to discuss this very issue. While the call seemed to go well and indications were given that things would improve, they have not. We've reached out to the CT DOT Commissioner twice to continue this conversation and so far, no reply. We have also reached back out to the official we spoke to on the call and again, no reply. We will continue to press this issue with the state.

These are the frustrating issues that hurt our industry and prevent us from gaining more market share. I will be in a meeting next week with state officials from NJ, WI, RI, and ND to discuss their state programs. We also regularly have issues in MD and MA.

Government interference and over regulation is an all too common problem in our country. And its rarely just one issue within one jurisdiction - its a constant push and pull going on. And unfortunately, its almost never a quick fix. As an industry we have to be more pro-active. We need to get our people appointed to boards and commissions that oversee some of these programs; we need members attending public hearings; and we need someone monitoring and tracking all of these state level issues.

That's one of the roles of the MHBA. Yes, it's frustrating, its time consuming, and results are often slow to materialize - not something business owners want to hear while opportunities pass.

I would encourage your readers to funnel any state level regulatory issues to MHBA so that we can coordinate industry responses and share in any legal costs to these issues rather than everyone trying to go it alone.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like MBI & MHI need to get to work on this.

Harris - Finish Werks said...

Sounds like ALL New England mod builders and ALL mod factories selling into NE need to JOIN MHBA so that one unified voice can go after CT as well as other issues unique to the region.

Again: how on earth can this one builder, as large as he may be, go it alone with a trucking company? Democracy is built on majorities, not teensy tiny minorities. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, but not if that wheel cannot be heard.

Tom Hardiman and the CT builder/author, I've mentioned this before: please publish the emails, phones, names, etc of the CT DOT. They are public servants. Their contact info must be publicly disclosed. If you want CT DOT to respond, I have an intern that would have NO trouble speed dialing these folks. Over. And over. And over.

Until MHBA can mount a serious campaign (which requires Dues) I hope shear volume of calls, emails, faxes into these regulators offices will motivate at least some action.