House T&I Bill Introduced, Sees Highly Contentious Mark Up
The long awaited House Transportation & Infrastructure surface transportation authorization proposal has finally been released. On Tuesday, bill language was released to the public and a markup of the bill began this morning. The markup has been pretty contentious, with nearly 100 amendments offered from Members of both parties. Before I provide an initial summary, let me touch on the outlook for the bill moving forward.
Once the markup is completed, the bill will be partnered with funding provisions from the Ways & Means and Natural Resources Committees by the House Rules Committee. Currently, House leadership has indicated that it plans to have the bill on the House floor the week of February 17th. Meanwhile, the Senate continues to move forward with its version, with the Banking Committee (which handles the transit portions of the bill) also marking up today. No official date has been set for a Finance Committee markup – the portion of the bill responsible for providing the funding, obviously a critical piece. However, it seems likely that the relevant committees will complete their work in the coming weeks, setting both chambers up to move their legislation to the floor prior to the March 31st extension deadline.
However, even if both bills pass their chambers, and that’s still a big if, the two bills will have to be reconciled, no small task given the vast differences in the bills. Length, funding sources and policy all diverge dramatically in the bills.
Now on to a summary of the House bill – a brief summary follows. Please note that a much more comprehensive summary will be distributed once staff has had time to fully comprehend and analyze the bill.
First and foremost, the bill makes dramatic changes to the MCSAP safety funding. A draft assessment of the grant changes can be found here. CVSA staff continue to analyze the impact of these dramatic changes.
Further, the bill contains a number of policy changes of interest to CVSA members:
- Language calling for a size & weight limits study was added in markup
- Truck parking provisions
- Support for graduated licensing programs
- Provisions tightening motor carrier registration
- Targets chameleon carriers
- Tightens requirements for getting and maintaining a CDL
- Language on a National Registry of Medical Examiners
- Language on a National Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse
- Requirements for CMV safety standards, including passenger protection provisions for passenger vehicles
- Requires the establishment of minimum training requirements for CMV operators
- Includes a field study of the efficacy of the new HOS restart provision and prevents enforcement of that provision until the report is complete
- Includes requirements for any future rules regarding EOBRs, calling for a standard user interface for law enforcement and secure data transfer, including transportability for law enforcement
The bill also contains a number of exemptions to HOS and other safety regulations for members of the agricultural community.
Again, this is a brief summary of the bill. More information will be sent out soon. CVSA staff is available to discuss particular provisions.