E-Communicator Article


Congress Passes Stop-Gap Extension on Federal Highway Funding

Current DRIVE Act Sections that Impact Household Good Carriers

On July 31, Congress passed a three-month, stop-gap highways and transit extension that keeps the federal aid highways and transit programs operating until October 29. The bill included $8 billion in budgetary offsets that should keep the Highway Trust Fund afloat until the end of the calendar year. This likely sets up a scenario where the programs will be extended yet again until the end of the calendar year while both chambers hash out a long-term three- to six-year reauthorization bill.

The Senate voted 65–34 to approve its $45 billion six-year bill, which funds federal highway and other surface transportation infrastructure projects for just three years. The ball is now in the House’s court for them to move their version of a long-term bill. House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster indicated that his committee plans to mark up a bill by the end of September. But the chairman and House leadership have made it clear they have no intention of taking up the Senate’s bill as their own.

Below is a breakdown of the sections of the DRIVE Act, as passed by the Senate, which survived behind-the-scenes negotiations and are most pertinent to household goods carriers:

Section 32502, Grants to States: Rewrites the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP), which is the program that provides funding to states to enforce federal motor carrier safety regulations, to allow States to use their MCSAP funding to enforce “household goods regulations on intrastate and interstate carriers if the State has adopted laws or regulations compatible with the Federal household goods regulations” (p. 463). Currently, states are not allowed to use their MCSAP funding to enforce federal or state HHG regulations. If a state wanted to use MCSAP funding to enforce HHG regulations, it would have to include those activities in its state plan.

Section 32606, Household Goods Consumer Protection Working Group: Establishes an HHG consumer protection working group, which would produce recommendations that reduce the paperwork burden on consumers going through an interstate move. This section is one of AMSA’s legislative agenda items.

Section 32001, Correlation Study: Requires a study of the CSA program by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The study will analyze CSA’s ability to identify high-risk carriers and drivers, and correlation between the scores and future crash risk. FMCSA is then required to submit a corrective action plan that implements solutions to problems identified in the NAS report.

Section 2301, Minimum Insurance Requirements: Requires FMCSA to initiate a rulemaking to increase minimum insurance requirements if they find there are a significant number of crashes not covered by the current minimums. The removal of this section would allow FMCSA to move forward with their proposed increases of the insurance minimums.

Congress Passes Stop-Gap Extension on Federal Highway Funding

- CMSA Communicator

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