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12/23/2013 10:45:00 AM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Year in Review: Senate OKs Foxx as Transportation Secretary

By Michele Fuetsch, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the Dec. 23 & 30 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

The biggest change in transportation at the federal level this year came when Anthony Foxx took over as secretary of transportation in July.

President Obama appointed the former mayor of Charlotte, N. C., to succeed Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman who returned to private life.

In August, Foxx proposed that truck drivers no longer be required to file pre-trip safety reports if they do not find problems with their vehicles, although they still must conduct pre-trip inspections. The proposal is in the rulemaking process.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. House, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) took over as chairman of the powerful Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, replacing Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.).

One of Shuster’s first actions was to form a freight panel as a prelude to the 2014 work of creating a transportation reauthorization bill to replace MAP-21, which expires Sept. 30.

Headed by Rep. John Duncan(R-Tenn.), the panel explored freight issues facing the nation with six public hearings across the country.In November, the panel issued its findings and recommendations in a 100-page report.

The panel suggested that Congress create a national freight transportation policy and designate a freight network that includes all modes — highway, rail, air and water.

Congress also should approve dedicated, sustainable funding to support a competitive grant program to pay for freight projects of national and regional significance, the panel said.

Its report also reviewed various methods for raising revenue but did not specifically recommend a way.

Meanwhile, freight issues also took center stage at the Department of Transportation.

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