Democrats Unveil $547B Highway Bill Including Massive Insurance Hike, $1B For Truck Parking
Washington D.C. – Today, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives unveiled a five-year $547 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill which includes a long list of controversial trucking provisions.
Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) is a sponsor of the long-awaited bill dubbed the “Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST in America) Act.”
The 1,249-page piece of legislation is filled with highly contentious measures which would have deep impacts on the trucking industry.
As expected, the bill would increase the minimum amount of insurance required for commercial motor vehicles (CMV) from $750,000 to $2 million, and directs this amount to be adjusted for inflation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) every five years.
Additionally, the legislation calls for requiring newly manufactured heavy-duty CMVs to be equipped with an automatic emergency braking (AEB) system, and mandating that systems installed in such vehicles be in use during operation.
It also requires the FMCSA to, within one year, initiate a rulemaking to establish screening criteria for obstructive sleep apnea among CMV drivers.
Further, the INVEST Act would:
• Place restrictive limits on personal conveyance,
• Return Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program scores to public view (after a methodology review),
• Grant new authority for congestion pricing,
• Allow data from electronic logging devices to be used by the FMCSA for transportation research,
• Pave the way for a side underride guard mandate,
• Require the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) to establish new performance measures for greenhouse gas emissions, and
• Require newly manufactured CMVs to be equipped with a universal electronic identifier that identifies the vehicle to roadside inspectors for enforcement purposes.
However, there are some less controversial provisions also included.
For instance, the bill calls for $1 billion to be set aside to address the truck parking shortage crisis.
It also requires the USDOT Inspector General to examine and report to Congress on the prevalence of the operation of CMVs by drivers admitted to the United States under temporary business (H-1B) visas, and the safety impacts of such operations.
Another provision some truckers will find favorable is it establishes a Truck Leasing Task Force (TLTF).
The TLTF would examine common truck leasing agreements, and the terms of those agreements, to determine if they are predatory or have a negative impact on the net compensation of drivers.
Notably, a provision to mandate speed limiters was NOT included in the legislation though such a measure could still be added via an amendment during the mark up process which is expected to occur next week.
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