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October 23, 2017 5:15 PM, EDT
Capitol Agenda for the Week of Oct. 23: Industry and Government at Work
ATA President Chris Spear Spear by John Sommers II for Transport Topics

The collaboration between the trucking industry and federal regulators is bound to strengthen once the tenure of Ray Martinez at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration kicks off.

If confirmed, Martinez, President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the trucking and bus regulator, said he would carry out the administration’s effort of drawing in stakeholders for high-level talks on safety and policy matters.

Martinez’s sentiment, which he shared in a questionnaire for senators considering his nomination, was echoed at American Trucking Associations’ annual conference by the secretaries of labor and transportation. Secretary Alexander Acosta, at the Labor Department, promised not to “micromanage apprenticeships from Washington” as he touted programs targeting job creation for commercial drivers. Elaine Chao, head of the Transportation Department, reminded trucking executives that “FMCSA is also working with ATA and other industry and safety stakeholders.”

ATA President Chris Spear welcomes open and frank dialogue with regulators and policymakers. As he put it, in a reference to the Cabinet secretaries during his State of the Industry address Oct. 23: “Together, these two leaders are committed to working with ATA so our industry can responsibly recruit, hire, train and retain talent.”

Later that day, at a workshop in which Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) staunchly supported an increase of the federal fuel tax, Spear told ATA members to engage in bipartisan discussions with policymakers. The safe movement of freight nationwide is everybody’s priority.

THE WEEK AHEAD (all times EDT):

Oct. 24, 9:30 a.m.: House Natural Resources Committee meets for a hearing on disaster relief in Puerto Rico.

Oct. 25, 10 a.m.: Senate Environment and Public Works Committee considers the nomination of Paul Trombino to become administrator at the Federal Highway Administration.

Oct. 25, 4 p.m.: Bloomberg Government hosts a discussion on “Building a Smart City,” focusing on urban innovation. Participants include Steve Crout, vice president of government affairs at Qualcomm; Josh Emig, head of research and development at WeWork; Jeff Friedman, director of Microsoft CityNext; and Diane Hoskins, co-CEO of Gensler.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

UPS ELDs: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will grant UPS Inc. temporary exemption from parts of the upcoming electronic logging device mandate, according to a document scheduled for publication in the Federal Register on Oct. 20.

PUERTO RICO: The distribution of essential supplies and recovery kits in Puerto Rico is occurring in higher volumes, helping to improve conditions there, according to two freight firms with operations in the U.S. territory that was devastated by Hurricane Maria.

DAIMLER: Daimler AG announced it is taking steps to separate its Daimler Trucks & Bus and Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans divisions into two legally independent and more entrepreneurial entities still under the “roof and the lead” of Daimler. http://www.ttnews.com/articles/daimler-takes-steps-separate-car-truck-units

BUZZ:

A confirmation hearing for the nominee to lead FMCSA is likely to occur before the end of the year, sources say.

WHAT WE’RE READING:

The Week spotlights funny man Stephen Colbert breaking down “elite truckers.”

FAVORITE QUOTE:

Back in Washington, anti-truck and amateur hour advocacy groups believe they know what’s best for our industry. This wave of special interests has built a cottage industry fueled by ideology, emotion and misguided narratives, all intended to divide our industry and this association. Obstruction is their weapon of choice.

American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear
at the Management Conference & Exhibition in Orlando, Fla., on Oct. 23.

FAVORITE VIDEO:

POTUS gives himself a perfect score.

FAVORITE TWEET:

A reminder from FMCSA.

Thank you for reading Capitol Agenda. We publish Tuesdays when Congress is in session. E-mail emulero@ttnews.com with tips. Follow @eugenemulero and @transporttopics on Twitter.