Capitol Agenda for the Week of March 1: Darling’s Nomination
CAPITOL AGENDA: Darling’s Nomination
On March 3, members of the Senate Commerce Committee will have a chance to voice their concerns about Scott Darling’s qualifications to lead the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration when the panel votes on his nomination. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the committee’s chairman, told Transport Topics several committee members had raised concerns about Darling’s “depth of experience” on key trucking issues. Darling, the agency’s acting administrator, didn’t quite wow the panel when he testified before it last year. Several senators indicated that while Darling’s command of the issues had improved when he appeared before the committee Jan. 20, they expected more. Debate on an hours-of-service rule for truckers, the agency’s safety performance scoring program and a meal-break provision tucked in an aviation reform bill in the House is likely to come up during the panel’s vote on Darling.
March 1, 10 a.m.: Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will deliver remarks at the 2016 Louisiana Transportation Conference in Baton Rouge.
March 3, 10 a.m.: Senate Commerce Committee votes on Scott Darling’s nomination to be administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
March 4, 11 a.m.: Secretary Foxx will deliver keynote remarks at the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council’s annual meeting in New York City.
DISPATCH FROM AASHTO: Lawmakers praised passage of the FAST Act at the policy briefing hosted by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials on Feb. 24. They also spoke about what it was like working with each other in the lead up of the highway bill's passage. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.):
“We had our run-ins in years past. We hadn’t really talked to each other except for saying, ‘Hi Mitch, bye Mitch’ for 20 years. He actually said on the floor of the Senate that working with me was exhilarating and fun. I would not go that far. But the result was amazing.”
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) on Boxer’s hair:
“Her hair was just ravishing,” he said when the two were in the green room before going on Larry King’s show. “Every hair was in place. She had enough hairspray that would have painted an M1 tank.”
LA ISLA BONITA: Foxx and top DOT officials signed a memorandum of understanding with Gov. Alejandro García Padilla of Puerto Rico to proceed with the restructuring of the commonwealth’s Highway and Transportation Administration with the support of the Federal Highway Administration.
BESTIES: Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he is backing John Kasich’s campaign for president.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
DOWN IN MEXICO: Cross-border freight haulers soon will have new access points in New Mexico to carry loads to and from Mexico, according to a pre-published interim final rule issued Feb. 23 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
PLATOON: Peloton’s plans to run pilot truck platooning programs are moving ahead with the introduction of legislation in Florida and Missouri that would suspend the minimum following distance of 300 feet without substituting a new length.
FAA SAGA: The Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill containing a key provision related to meal breaks is expected to be put on hold by Republicans who control the House floor schedule.
WHAT WE’RE READING:
In Governing magazine, Daniel C. Vock examines the role of tolling to fund highway projects. A the center of the piece is the push by Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo to advance tolls for trucks.
“I think accessibility and transparency are very important. We’ve done some of that with our dashboard, but that’s been for large-scale projects. I want to make sure that we’re delivering on the promises that were made.” — Secretary Foxx at the House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies on Feb. 24.
Sen. Boxer addresses the media Feb. 25 about the House FAA reauthorization bill:
The Eno Center for Transportation appointed Robert Puentes its new president and CEO:
Robert J. Puentes Named President and CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation (@rpuentes) https://t.co/mpeiRiZ2AC — The Eno Center (@EnoTrans) February 29, 2016
An earlier version of this article noted Darling testified before the Commerce Committee on Feb. 2.
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