Capitol Agenda for the Week of March 22: Moving on to Plan B

The Week Ahead for Trucking on Capitol Hill

American Trucking Associations is pursuing Plan B. On March 18, ATA President Bill Graves announced the group’s intention to help win support from congressional leaders to make the appropriations bills the vehicles for advancing a provision related to a meal and rest break rule. ATA led a recent campaign to draw support on Capitol Hill for an aviation reform bill in the House that included the meal and rest break provision. House Republican leaders who manage the floor agenda opted not to call up the aviation reform bill for a vote amid pushback on the trucking provision and an effort to privatize the air traffic control system. The House bill would prevent states from enacting laws requiring companies to schedule meal and rest breaks for drivers or to pay drivers by the hour. A Senate version, reported out of committee, did not include the trucking-related provision.

“ATA is working with a broad coalition of motor carriers to educate members of Congress on the need for this clarification,” Graves wrote to his group. “The objections raised by opponents of this effort misrepresent both the current state of the law, and what the effect of a provision like Section 611 would be.”

The meal-break provision aims to block a California meal-break law, signed in 2011, that requires employers to provide a “duty-free” 30-minute meal break for employees who work more than five hours a day and a second “duty-free” 30-minute meal break for those who work more than 10 hours a day. Aside from the meal and rest break provision, ATA also is actively seeking support in Congress to attach a clarifying language pertaining to an hours-of-service provision in a fiscal 2016 funding law.

THE WEEK AHEAD (all times EDT):

March 22, 9 a.m.: The House Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee holds a hearing on the U.S. EPA budget. EPA administrator Gina McCarthy will testify.

March 24: Eno Center for Transportation hosts its conference, “Convergence: The Intersection of Technology and Transportation.”

ON THE TRAIL: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told supporters recently that if elected president, he would look to create a “state of the art rail system which takes trucks off the road.”



PEOPLE: Walter “Butch” Waidelich Jr. is the new executive director of the Federal Highway Administration. Waidelich, who had been the associate administrator in FHWA’s Office of Infrastructure since August 2013, will serve as the agency’s chief operating officer, FHWA Administrator Gregory Nadeau said.

PENNSYLVANIA: Starting next year, Pennsylvania no longer will issue vehicle registration stickers for motorists to affix to license plates, state transportation officials announced.

SPEED-LIMITER: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration should release their long-awaited proposed speed-limiter rule by April 22, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced at a hearing of the Senate’s Appropriations transportation subcommittee March 16.

WHAT WE’RE READING: USA Today took a look at Reno, Nevada’s approach to freight. There’s something going on in the biggest little city.


“ATA has a terrific leader in former Kansas Gov. Bill Graves (R) … but getting ATA to be open to [tolling] remains a tremendous challenge.”

— former Connecticut Transportation Commissioner Emil Frankel, who serves on current Gov. Dannel Malloy’s Transportation Finance Panel.


PLATOONING: Transport Topics Editorial Director Neil Abt was in Dusseldorf, Germany, for Daimler Trucks’ demonstration of a three-truck platoon. Check out the video of the trucks on the Autobahn on March 21. The event was meant to spotlight the importance of vehicle connectivity industrywide. At the demo, the trucks altered their distances until the path was clear again as cars cut in between them.


The big winner of last week’s Metro shutdown in Washington, D.C., was — no surprise — Uber. The ride-sharing service got lots of business when the subway system in the nation’s capital was frozen for the day.

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