Surface Transportation Bill Set for House Vote

Trucking Industry News 2012

Are small trucking carriers finally getting a much-needed break with the new Surface Transportation Bill, just released through the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Jan. 31? Or is it just a few light concessions to the mountain of regulatory overhaul the transportation industry experienced in 2010 and 2011? It may be too early to tell.

What were some of the points of interest in the Surface Transportation Bill?

Surface transportation infrastructure will receive approximately $260 billion in funding, but this may not necessarily mean it all goes to roadways and bridges.
Small trucking business bonus: money will go toward an official study of the adverse effects of regulation on small carriers.

Part of the bill will establish a national highway bridge and tunnel inventory and raise inspection standards so roads last longer.

The bill would require states to address high-risk railroad crossings.

A provision will consolidate duplicative DOT programs and offices.

New laws that make it easier for the FMCSA to clamp down on chameleon carriers so they can’t reopen under different names.

The bill calls for the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) to be funded with $1 billion. This would be used to fund large-scale projects including congestion mitigation, PPPs and toll roads. The bill also lays out $750 million to fund state infrastructure banks.

House lawmakers in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee plan to mark up the bill on Thursday, Feb. 2. Even if it passes in committee, the provisions must meet Senate approval before it can advance.