Capitol Agenda for the Week of April 5: A Different Darling



Scott Darling posed for photos with truckers and families at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, last week. He also made time to chat with the press. Darling did not have an update on the Senate’s consideration of his nomination to become administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, but he told this reporter things were status quo in his role as the agency’s acting administrator. He also talked about meeting with truckers. “I’m getting good feedback. I talked to one gentleman who just retired after 42 years who really enjoyed his career and his profession as a trucker. And he understood and appreciated the compliance because safety, mobility and profitability are not mutually exclusive,” Darling told TT. Before our conversation, he added that he thought Oklahoma would win the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. So did this reporter, by the way. (You probably know the Sooners got vanquished by Villanova in the semifinal.) This was a departure from the Scott Darling we’ve come to know, the one who last year walked around MATS’ vast exhibition floor incognito, avoiding the press. The one consistency from last year to this year was the presence of his well-worn Red Sox cap. The Senate has yet to schedule a vote on Darling’s nomination, but it appears the members of the world’s most exclusive club will not hold it against him that he roots for the Bosox.

THE WEEK AHEAD (all times EDT):

April 5, 5 p.m.: The American Petroleum Institute provides its weekly report on petroleum inventories.

April 6, 10 a.m.: The Senate Commerce Committee holds a hearing titled, “Transportation Security: Protecting Passengers and Freight.” Transportation Security Administration administrator Peter Neffenger is scheduled to testify.

April 6, 12:45 p.m.: Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx delivers the keynote address at the American Association of Port Authorities conference in Washington, D.C.

April 7, 9 a.m.: Foxx will speak at the Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration conference in Washington, D.C.

OINK OINK: The Congressional Research Service determined in a recent report that members of Congress have found a way to direct funding to their districts for specific transportation projects. According to the report, “Banning earmarks has not eliminated the opportunity for members to influence the allocation of transportation resources.” Congressional leaders five years ago banned the practice, known as earmarking.


OOIDA: The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has told an appeals court that a federal mandate requiring electronic logging devices on commercial vehicles “does not advance safety, is arbitrary and capricious and violates Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

SHOW ME STATE: Missouri’s Senate gave preliminary approval on March 30 to a fuel-tax hike of 5.9 cents per gallon on both diesel and gasoline.

FDA: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on April 5 previewed its final rule that creates new requirements for the sanitary transportation of human and animal food by truck and rail to ensure that transportation practices do not create safety risks.

WHAT WE’RE READING: Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is still pushing for a national fuel tax increase, even though his former boss doesn’t touch that issue. The Phoenix Business Journal brings us an update on LaHood.


“When it comes to design, it can be done at a cost-neutral level and it can be done in a way that has more of a place-making mindset than a place-getting mindset. We’ve actually never told our transportation professionals to think outside of the mode of transportation they’re focusing on, to think about place-making. Look at how many lane miles we have across the country. We have 40,000 miles of highway. Every inch of that is some place. So let’s make those places that if you were having to wake up every morning and look at them, let’s try to make them look like something that you’d want to look at.” — Secretary Foxx at the Center for American Progress on March 30.


Transport Topics caught up with attendees at the Mid-America Trucking Show to capture a few testimonials.


TT editorial director Neil Abt gets quality one-on-one time with Kevin Burch, the next chairman of American Trucking Associations.

We publish when Congress is in session. Follow us @transporttopics, @SethClevenger, @ericdmiller46, @neilabt, @davidelfin, and @eugenemulero.