TEA-LU Follow Up
This is a follow-up to the July 30 and August 3 Updates on the recently passed Reauthorization bill known as TEA-LU. An attachment that is a section-by-section analysis of Title IV, Motor Carrier Safety, accompanies this update and it serves as a comprehensive reference guide to all of the issues covered in this Title. The President is expected to sign the bill on Wednesday, August 10.
This report will primarily focus on those issues that CVSA’s Ad Hoc Reauthorization Committee identified as major issues in early 2002 as well as significant new items that have been included in the bill as the process evolved over the last several years. For the most part, the major goals of the Committee were realized. However, as is the case with any major bill such as this one, toward the end of the process various groups enter into the picture seeking their special provisions and exemptions such as hours-of-service. These issues are more difficult to track and deal with. Working with other safety groups we were successful in keeping the Boozman amendment out of the bill that would have extended the on-duty time for drivers by two hours. Joint efforts were also successful in holding back attempts to broaden the agricultural exemption even more by including processed food. Unfortunately, the utility industry had their hours-of-service exemption locked-in very early in the process.
As you review this report along with the section-by-section analysis, you will find items in the bill that open new opportunities as well as responsibilities for the states and also have an impact on strategic areas of CVSA activities. Very likely there will be more discussion of the bill from this broader perspective in the days to come, especially after you have studied it.
Bruce Bugg, Chairman of CVSA’s Hazardous Materials Committee is reviewing Title VII of the bill that covers Hazardous Materials Transportation. We will send his report to you.
There are sections of the bill that deal with other areas of highway safety that we did not concentrate on in the reauthorization process. Subtitle D of Title I deals with highway safety infrastructure issues and Title II deals with automobile driver behavioral issues such as primary safety belt use laws and alcohol-impaired driving countermeasures. As soon it is available we will send you an analysis of these titles prepared by the Governors Highway Safety Association.
Also, we will share an analysis of Title V, Research, that includes Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) issues that is being prepared by ITS-America.
MCSAP Funding (4101):
Overall Funding Level
The TEA-21 ceiling was $169,000,000. Under the new bill, the ceiling increases to $188,000,000 in 2005 and increases to $209,000,000 in 2009. The 2009 ceiling will reflect a 24% increase from the TEA-21 ceiling. While this is a modest increase, when the new state grant program funding allocations described later in this report are added to the MCSAP amount, the total amount of motor carrier safety enforcement funding available to the states will be significantly increased.
It also should be noted that with respect to MCSAP, the authorized amount for FY 2005, which ends in less than 60 days, was increased by $19,400,000 (from $169,000,000 to $188,400,000). It is not yet known how the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will make this available for distribution to the states. The House has already completed action on the 2006 DOT Appropriations bill. On the Senate side, the bill will come up on the Senate floor sometime in September. Then, as usual, there must be a conference to resolve any difference.
MCSAP remains an 80/20 matching program. However, see Section 4307 under the Unified Carrier Registration Plan for language allowing state revenues from the new plan to be used as matching funds for MCSAP and other state grant programs
Total State Grant Funding for 2006:
|$2,000,000||Safety Data Improvement|
Total FMCSA Administrative Funding for 2006:
Total State Grant Funding for 2009:
|$3,000,000||Safety Data Improvement|
Total FMCSA Administrative Funding for 2009:
The takedowns from MCSAP have been reduced from five to three preserving as much funding as possible for the core state grant programs. The accident causation study and safety incentive grant takedowns have been eliminated. The accident causation takedown had run as high as $5 million annually and the safety incentive grant takedown amounted to 10% of the overall MCSAP allocation. The 5% border assistance takedown was eliminated in favor of a separately funded border grant program, Section 4110, for both the southern and northern borders.
The High-Priority, Section 4107a, (capped @ $15 million annually) and Training & Administration (averaging about $2.5 million annually) takedowns remain and the New Entrant takedown, Section 4107, has been added at $29 million annually.
An analysis of the MCSAP annual funding levels with the takedowns is as follows:
Fiscal Year 2006
|-15,000,000||High Priority Grants|
|-2,500,000||Training & Administration|
$146,500,000 Core State Grant Programs (TEA-21 level was $133,350,000)
The core state grant programs (after takedowns) will increase to:
$150,500,000 in 2007
$155,500,000 in 2008
$162,500,000 in 2009
The High Priority Grants are 100% money and are to be used to further national safety goals. Safety performance criteria will be used in distributing grants to the states. Up to 90% of this takedown is guaranteed for the states in order to guard against significant earmarking of this item for private entities.
New Entrant Grants are also 100% money. The $29 million comes close to CVSA’s recommendation of $30 million based on a member needs survey.
New Features of State Safety Plan
As reported above, the safety incentive grant (performance based) program was eliminated and the criteria for those grants have, for the most part, been incorporated into the requirements for the basic state safety plan, Section 4106 (a). In addition, a new safety data grant program has been established providing a separate source of funding to upgrade state data systems. Safety data had been a major criteria for the safety incentive grants. This new program will be reported in more detail further on in this report (4108).
The state safety plan must include performance based activities and technology deployment; accurate, complete and timely data collection and upload; CMV and Non-CMV best driving practices in the vicinity of Non-CMVs and CMVs for inclusion in state driving manuals; enforcement of operating authority (see also Section 4139 on operating authority enforcement assistance for states) and comprehensive and visible traffic enforcement and truck safety inspection programs in high-risk locations and corridors.
A new element of a state safety plan can be traffic enforcement not tied to an inspection against commercial motor vehicles and non-commercial motor vehicles, Section 4106 (b). The amount of the basic MCSAP grant that can be used for these efforts cannot exceed 5% annually unless the Secretary determines a higher percentage will significantly increase safety. Also, the number of motor carrier safety activities (including roadside safety inspections) must be maintained at a level at least equal to the average of FY 2003, 2004, and 2005. The Conference Committee intends this new authority to be used in direct relation to conducting highly visible roadside enforcement activities in high crash corridors. Traffic enforcement was an issue of much discussion and deliberation in CVSA’s ad hoc Reauthorization Committee.
In addition, MCSAP grants funds may be used to enforce truck size and weight and drug interdiction laws.
Commercial Driver License Program:
There are four sections of the bill that deal with the program and should be reviewed collectively to get the complete picture of the importance the Congress places on the CDL program.
CDL State Grant Program (4101):
This section funds the new program at $25,000,000 annually from 2006 through 2009 with 100% money.
Commercial Driver’s License Improvements (4124):
This section describes the purposes of the above state grant program with priority given to states that will use the funds to comply with MCSIA’99. A state self-assessment of its own CDL program is among the grant requirements. Up to 10% of the annual grant program allotment can go for high priority activities that benefit all jurisdictions and up to another 10% can go for “emerging” issues relating to CDL improvements.
CDLIS Modernization (4123):
This section provides for a comprehensive revamping of CDLIS. It requires the Secretary to develop and publish a comprehensive national plan to modernize all relevant information systems. It also establishes an 80/20 grant program for the states to modernize the state CDL information system that is funded at $5,000,000 in 2006; $7,000,000 in 2007; $8,000,000 in 2008 and $9,000,000 in 2009. Many of the specific requirements for modernization result from CVSA’s self-assessment studies. This was determined as a high priority need by CVSA’s Reauthorization Committee.
CDL Task Force (4135):
The Secrectary is directed to convene a task force to study and address current impediments and foreseeable challenges to the CDL program and prepare a report within two years of passage of the bill. Issues to be studied are state enforcement practices, operational procedures to detect and deter fraud, needed improvements for seamless information sharing between States, adequate proof of citizenship, updated technology and timely identification from judicial bodies concerning traffic and criminal convictions of commercial drivers license holders.
State Border Enforcement Grants (4101 and 4110):
This program is funded at $32,000,000 annually for both the southern and northern borders and is 100% money. Grant money may be used for purchase of land and buildings. No federal activity will be conducted with the use of this money.
Performance and Registration Information System Management (PRISM) (4101 and 4109):
This program is funded at $5,000,000 annually from 2006 to 2009. This section strengthens the program and re-emphasizes the need to continue to implement it.
Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks Deployment (CVISN) (4101 and 4126):
This program is funded at $25,000,000 annually from 2006 to 2009 and is re-established as a state grant program under FMCSA. It had been a discretionary program with FHWA and as such was not a guaranteed and consistent source of funding for states to deploy CVISN. The realignment means that all states will have the opportunity to complete core deployment and expand deployment beyond the core program. Up to $2,500,000 may be available to a state for core grant and up to $1,000,000 for an expanded deployment grant.
Sometimes an inter-agency realignment such as this one can be difficult to achieve. This was another major priority of CVSA’s Reauthorization Committee.
The federal share under this program is 50%, but up to 30% of federal funds from other sources can be used for the match up to 80%. This is an exception to the rule that otherwise precludes using other federal funds to constitute a state match.
State Data Improvement Grants (4101 and 4128):
These sections establish a new state grant program for activities to improve the accuracy, timeliness, and completeness of motor carrier safety data and funds it at $2,000,000 in 2006 and $3,000,000 annually from 2007 to 2009. It is an 80/20 matching program. The conferees expressed concern that without additional funding, states may have trouble improving their data reporting.
Data Quality Improvement (4108):
This provision emphasizes the responsibility of the Department of Transportation to make sure all data is complete, timely and accurate across all information systems and initiatives and establishes a national motor carrier safety data correction system. This section was initiated due to the concern over weaknesses in the SafeStat system.
Interstate and Intrastate Operations of Motor Carriers (4114):
This section provides that a federal safety determination that an interstate motor carrier is unfit would halt both its interstate and intrastate operations while a state safety determination that intrastate carrier is unfit would halt both its intrastate and any interstate operations.
Chassis Roadability (4118):
This provision establishes that equipment providers are responsible for maintaining intermodal chassis and vests authority with the Department of Transportation to inspect intermodal equipment and place equipment out of service that fail to comply with applicable safety regulations. It also requires FMCSA to promulgate regulations covering the systematic maintenance, repair, inspection and shared responsibility of intermodal equipment traveling on American’s highways. The rulemaking process is to begin within 120 days of passage of the bill and issued within 1 year of passage.
The conferees support an inspection system that will maximize the use of available technology, including electronically verified visual inspections.
Unified Carrier Registration Act of 2005 (4301 – 4307):
These provisions eliminate the Single State Registration System (SSRS) and provide for a single, federal on-line system merging all federal and state motor carrier registration and information systems. The plan provides replacement revenue for all current participating SSRS states (38) and provides an allocation for new states joining the plan. This is important because a number of states have been using SSRS revenue for motor carrier safety enforcement. To raise revenue for replacement funding, the new UCR plan replaces a per vehicle fee with a per carrier fee and includes all motor carriers rather than just for-hire vehicles, which is the only industry group covered in the current SSRS program.
Under Section 4305, participating states must submit a plan demonstrating that an amount (of dollars) at least equal to the revenue derived by the State from the unified carrier registration agreement shall be used for motor carrier safety programs, enforcement, or administration of the UCR plan and UCR agreement.
In addition, under Section 4307, amounts generated under the UCR agreement and received by a State and used for motor carrier safety purposes may be included as part of a State’s matching share for motor carrier safety grants, including the MCSAP grant.
The structure and functions of the new UCR plan are comprehensive. It will be necessary for representatives of state motor carrier safety enforcement agencies, along with other state agency and federal officials, to play a role in the administration of this new plan. We anticipate providing more details on the operation of this plan upon further review.
Agricultural Commodities and Farm Supplies (4130):
This keeps the exemption at the 100 mile radius and to planting and harvesting seasons except that it applies to livestock feed at any time of the year. However, it expands the definition to include feed, fiber, and livestock, which includes meat, poultry and fish that are not commodities grown from the soil. The effort on the part of some groups in the industry to include processed food under the exemption failed.
Operators of Utility Service Vehicles (4132):
This provision totally exempts utility drivers from hours-of-service rules. In addition, states, local governments, and state compacts are prohibited from imposing hours-of-service regulations on these drivers.
The 24-hour restart for the 60/70-hour rule is reaffirmed for well water drilling drivers (4130). Movie producers remain subject to the old rules (4133). Grape growers in New York State are exempt from hours-of-service and all other motor carrier safety regulations except the CDL requirement within a 150-mile radius west of Interstate 81 (4146). Propane drivers operating during the winter heating season and propane drivers responding to emergency conditions are exempt from hours-of-service and all other motor carrier safety regulations except the CDL requirement (4147). An emergency condition does not include requests to fill empty gas tanks.
Driveway Saddlemount Vehicles (4141):
This provides for a new national standard on the Interstate Highway System for saddlemount vehicles that is a vehicle length combination of not less than or more than 97 feet on a driveaway saddlemount with full mount vehicle transporter combinations. Efforts to allow this increased length through the permitting process in the states did not succeed.
CVSA Decal (4137):
This specifies that CVSA may not restrict the sale of its inspection decals to FMCSA unless FMCSA fails to meet its responsibilities under its memorandum of understanding with CVSA.
Foreign Commercial Vehicles (4139):
Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the FMCSA Administrator must conduct outreach and provide training as necessary to State personnel engaged in the enforcement of Federal motor carrier safety regulations to ensure their awareness of the process to be used for verification of the operating authority of motor carriers, including motor carriers of passengers, and to ensure proper enforcement when motor carriers are found to be in violation of operating authority requirements.
Truck Parking (1305 in Title I):
This section establishes a pilot program to address the shortage of long-term parking for commercial motor vehicles on the National Highway System. Annual amounts of $6,250,000 for 2006 through 2009 are authorized. Eligible projects include constructing safety rest areas that include parking for trucks; constructing truck parking facilities adjacent to commercial truck stops and travel plazas; opening existing facilities to truck parking that include inspection and weigh stations and park-and-ride facilities; promoting the availability of publicly or privately provided truck parking using ITS systems and other means; constructing turnouts for trucks along the National Highway System; making capital improvements to public truck parking facilities currently closed on a seasonal basis to allow the facilities to remain open year-round; and improving the geometric design of interchanges on the National Highway System to improve access to truck parking facilities.
State Strategic Highway Safety Plan (1401 in Subtitle D of Title I):
In developing a state strategic highway safety plan, this provision requires the state Transportation Department to consult with a number of state groups that include, among others, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative, State and local traffic enforcement officials, representatives conducting a motor carrier safety program and motor vehicle administration agencies. A highway safety improvement project is one that corrects or improves a hazardous road location or addresses a highway infrastructure safety problem.