Capitol Agenda for the Week of April 26: Primary Winner Shuster on Trucking Issues
Pennsylvania holds its primary April 26. On the Republican side, the transportation establishment is expecting the 9th District’s incumbent, Rep. Bill Shuster, to prevail. Shuster, chairman of the transportation panel in the House, is in a heated rematch with tea party-backed Art Halvorson, a retired Coast Guard captain. Halvorson has accused Shuster of not doing enough on Capitol Hill over the years to assist constituents. Shuster disagrees, pointing to a five-year highway bill he helped get signed into law in December. Update, April 27, 1 a.m. EDT: Shuster prevailed in an extremely close race, receiving 48,686 votes to Halverson's 47,677. Before Election Day, Transport Topics reached out to the campaigns for their thoughts on trucking. Halvorson did not get back to us after repeated requests for comment. Shuster did. Here’s the chairman, in his own words:
Hours of service: "I believe that all federal regulations should be based in sound science. Unfortunately, that has not been the case with respect to the Obama administration’s recent changes to hours-of-service regulations for truckers. That’s why I supported language in recent appropriations bills to study the proposed changes and make the administration prove they will actually improve safety and driver health before the changes can take effect."
Meal and rest break: “Recent court rulings in California threaten our ability to efficiently move freight across our nation by encouraging states to impose a patchwork of conflicting regulations on truckers. Language that will fix the problem by reaffirming the federal government’s authority over interstate commerce has already passed the House once and is currently included in the [Federal Aviation Administration reform bill]. I encourage my Senate colleagues to take up the issue."
Highway trust fund: "The FAST Act included provisions to explore alternative ways to fund the [Highway Trust Fund]. Lawmakers at all levels of government and stakeholders need to continue working to come up with a solution that everyone can live with."
THE WEEK AHEAD (all times EDT):
April 26, 10 a.m.: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on oil and gas development.
April 27, 1:45 p.m.: House Speaker Paul Ryan addresses millennials at Georgetown University's Institute of Politics and Public Service.
April 27, 4 p.m.: The House Public Transportation Caucus hosts a briefing on "Realizing the Future of Zero Emission Transit."
April 28, 9 a.m.: Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is scheduled to speak alongside Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake at the Reconnecting West Baltimore groundbreaking ceremony.
April 30, 7 p.m.: Foxx is scheduled to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
73 HOURS: A fiscal 2017 transportation funding bill that would set the allowable time truckers may work before taking a break at 73 hours per week was advanced by a Senate panel April 21.
PIPELINE: Legislation aimed at improving pipeline safety by reforming federal rules was approved unanimously April 20 by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
I-WEEK: The Bipartisan Policy Center plans to unveil on May 16 a paper detailing ways policymakers can improve the country’s infrastructure, as part of Infrastructure Week. The center’s recommendations will focus on funding strategies aimed at boosting private capital into large-scale highway projects. The recommendations will include insight from corporate CEOs and executives who have looked at the issue for over a year to come up with an investment model.
WHAT WE’RE READING: In the future, cities will offer walkable opportunities for the citizenry. In a romanticized view of urban landscapes, experts predict autonomous vehicles will dominate roadways, clean energy will enhance productivity and groceries will be delivered via drones. The Wall Street Journal stitched together a glimpse of the futuristic city.
“Safe trucking moves our economy, and we can’t achieve that without also ensuring every truck driver has a safe place to pull off the road to rest and take care of his or her basic necessities.”
— Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration acting Administrator Scott Darling, blogging April 20 about a road trip he took with truck driver Leo Wilkins.
Oahu was the focus of an Earth Day feature produced by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. The spotlight on the home of the fabled North Shore touches on the mesmerizing natural wonders and efforts to boost sustainability. However, it fails to capture the epic bumper-to-bumper congestion on Oahu’s main highways that the overbudget, multibillion-dollar new transit system is expected to address.
Transportation for America asks the tough question: When is a road a road?
One is a street, one is a road. Should we measure them the same when it comes to traffic? https://t.co/7dJ1wvHbqo pic.twitter.com/wueYU73G8k — Transport. 4 America (@T4America) April 21, 2016
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