Senate Begins Fiscal 2019 Appropriations Process

On June 7, 2018, the Senate Appropriations Committee released and approved their transportation funding bill for fiscal 2019. The text of the bill includes full funding for CMV-related grants, at or above the FAST Act levels, with a $1 million increase to the CMV operators grant program.

  • MCSAP Formula – $304.3 million
  • High Priority – $44 million
  • CDL – $32.5 million
  • CMV Operators – $2 million

The Senate bill does not carry many of the policy riders that the House appropriations bill does. The policy riders included in the House bill are:

  • Section 127 amends the existing weight exemption for natural gas vehicles, expanding the exemption to include electric vehicles and incorporating CVSA’s request that the exemption be a flat 2000 pounds, restricted to the power unit.
  • Section 131 extends the current exemption from the electronic logging device (ELD) requirement for motor carriers transporting livestock or insects through Sept. 30, 2019.
  • Section 132 prevents the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) from implementing the agency’s 2015 final rule regarding the lease and interchange of vehicles for passenger motor carriers.
  • Section 133 includes language preempting the states from requiring additional meal and rest break provisions that would affect the trucking industry.
  • Section 134 includes language creating a truck length waiver for transporters of sugar beets in certain portions of Oregon.

Although the Senate bill did not include these riders, the committee report for the Senate bill did contain language addressing many of the same issues. Report language does not have the weight of law, but does provide the agency with direction from the committee.

  • Encourages FMCSA to create new safety regulations for CMVs transporting liquefied or compressed natural gas.
  • Encourages FMCSA to address ELD concerns raised by drivers of certain agricultural commodities as well as explore expanding the definition of “livestock” to include farm-raised, ornamental and bait fish.
  • Re-emphasizes the Dec. 1 deadline for FMCSA to modify or remove the final rule regarding the lease and interchange of vehicles for passenger motor carriers.
  • Directs FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to respond to all public comments regarding the proposed rule requiring speed limiter devices on heavy vehicles, originally published on Aug. 26, 2016.
  • Directs FMCSA to provide both the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations with updated information on the ability to meet requirements to conduct compliance reviews on high-risk carriers.
  • Discourages the use of guidance in place of regulation.