Government Affairs

FMCSA Amends HOS Requirements

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) last week formally amended some outdated hours-of-service (HOS) requirements, removing provisions that required 34-hour restart, which included two periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. The requirement also limited the use of a restart to once every 168 hours.

In a series of appropriations acts, Congress suspended the provisions, pending completion of a naturalistic study.  Completed in 2017, the study found no statistically significant benefits from the restart rule. A 2017 appropriations act voided the restart rules, but the provisions remained in the Code of Federal Regulations until last week. The FMCSA’s action on September 12 was intended to avoid confusion. 


Road Gang Focuses on Senate Transportation Bill

At the biweekly meeting of The Road Gang* in Washington, DC, last week, members of the group heard from U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee staff, who discussed the America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019 (ATIA).

As proposed, ATIA authorizes $287 billion over five years, including $259 billion for formula programs to maintain and repair America’s roads and bridges. The total represents a substantial  increase over FAST Act levels. The legislation includes provisions to improve road safety, streamline project delivery, protect the environment and grow the economy. 

As we reported previously (ACPA TODAY, July 31), the federal Highway R&D Program, including the Technology and Innovation Deployment program, also gets substantial bumps in the Senate proposal (22.7% and 100%, respectively). With those increases, the ACPA-led AID-PT program** ($12M/year for concrete and asphalt technology implementation and deployment, that helps fund the majority of CP Tech Center’s federal contracts) is included and “enhanced” with some additional reporting requirements.

The funding and financing portions of the bill (not within Senate EPW’s jurisdiction), are also in the process of being developed. Committee staff are hopeful financing can be rolled together into a package that can be introduced and voted on in the next several months. 

It is important to acknowledge that the Senate EPW Committee delivered a surface reauthorization bill more than a year early, and should be commended for their leadership, says Leif Wathne, who adds this is one of several proposals that will be advanced in the normal process of eventually reaching agreement among lawmakers in both Chambers of Congress and the White House.  

ACPA remains fully committed to working with both the Senate and the House to produce and pass a robust, effective final reauthorization before the expiration of the FAST Act next year.

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*  The Road Gang is an informal group of business and government executives, highway engineers and consultants, press and public relations specialists, company representatives, and trade association officials from the highway transportation industry in the Washington, D.C. area. The Road Gang serves the dual purpose of promoting fellowship and providing for the interchange of ideas among “Washington’s Transportation Fraternity.”

** The Accelerated Implementation and Deployment of Pavement Technologies (AID-PT) is a provision first included in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP 21).  This ACPA-led initiative created both a mechanism and funding for the delivery of pavement technology.  In 2015, Congress included the program in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which provides funding through 2020.

News from Capitol Hill

This is the latest installment of highlights of PCA’s “This Week in Washington” update. Interested in seeing more?  Become an ACPA Advocacy Interest Member.* Advocacy Interest Members are eligible to participate in the Legislative Issues Committee (LIC). Click here to join!

  • With the end of August recess, Members of Congress have returned for three weeks. Officially, there are 13 legislative days before the next recess period, although the Senate will meet for 15 days this month. Year to date, U.S. Senators have introduced 2,442 bills and taken 252 roll call votes, 16 of which have become law. In the lower chamber, U.S. Representatives have introduced 4,214 bills, taken 514 votes and enacted 40 of those into law. With issues such as the economy, trade wars, the Democratic Presidential Campaign, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), gun violence and natural disasters drawing attention away from legislative issues, it will be difficult to predict what business will be finished in the next three weeks.
  • The deadline every year to fund the federal government is September 30, so Congress will need to agree on either a short- or a long-term solution before the next recess. There are also 10 other legislative items that expire on the same date. Congress will also need to pass a defense authorization bill, which they have done every year since 1961. Lawmakers also should consider the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization and two dozen tax breaks or “tax extenders” that expired at the start of 2018.
  • The PCA Government Affairs team moved into new offices at 200 Massachusetts Avenue, NW 200, 2nd Floor Washington, D.C. 20001. 

* Advocacy Interest Membership is a special individual membership category. To be eligible for membership in this category, a member must be a stockholder, owner, director, or employee of a member admitted to any other class of membership (Article IV, Section a-i, and l). In addition, to become and remain eligible, individuals must affirm their Advocacy Interest Membership annually.

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ACPA Joins Group in Supporting Infrastructure Investment

ACPA is signing on to support of a coalition effort to urge U.S. House and Senate Leaders to develop and pass a long-term, robustly funded surface transportation reauthorization bill. With the strength of more than 150 trade and labor organizations, the Infrastructure Working Group (IWG) will urge Congress to develop and pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill ahead of the September 30, 2020, deadline. 

The IWG works to inform and persuade Republicans and Democrats to pass legislation that addresses several priorities:

  • Significantly increase direct federal investments in a broad range of infrastructure sectors,
  • Fix chronic challenges and addresses reoccurring shortages in key federal infrastructure accounts such as the Highway Trust Fund,
  • Complement and strengthen existing tools, such as municipal bonds, that successfully deliver infrastructure investments at the federal, state and local levels,
  • Facilitate opportunities for private investment in U.S. infrastructure, 
  • Create efficiencies such as accelerating the federal permitting process, while continuing to provide environmental protections, and 
  • Encourages active participation among all levels of government and between public and private sectors without shifting federal responsibilities because no single partner can deliver a well-functioning, national U.S. infrastructure network driven by a long-term vision and funding stability.

Led by the National Association of Manufacturers and the Associated General Contractors, the IWG exists to unite a diverse range of trade associations and build support for infrastructure investments. The IWG works to unite the common interest of support for infrastructure investment among a diverse range of industry organizations.

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Tech Brief Covers CRC Design Optimization

The FHWA released an 8-page tech brief covering design optimization for continuously reinforced concrete pavements (CRCP). 

Authored by Dr. Shiraz Tayabji, Advanced Concrete Pavement Consultancy LLC, and Mike Plei, a Pavement Engineering Consultant, the publication begins with an overview of CRCP technology, including benefits including the potential to provide “zero maintenance” with proper design and construction. 

The publication, “Optimized Design Details for Continuously Reinforced Concrete Pavements” (FHWA-HIF-19-066), then provides guidance on optimizing several key design features including:

  • Simplified details for terminal ends,
  • Improved transverse construction joint detail,
  • Shoulder type, and
  • Concrete slab/base interface.

The publication is based on information included in the previously cited references and recent refinements implemented in the field.  Click here to download a copy. 

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