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Members of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s senior staff appeared alongside distinguished representatives of the trucking workforce last week to tout the industry’s contributions to the economy and roadway safety.
Meera Joshi, deputy administrator at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, who is scheduled to appear before a Senate committee Sept. 22, was among the officials at the event. Her agency oversees the industry’s activities nationwide.
“As we become more and more reliant on e-commerce, and through pandemic and climate crises, [truckers’] critical role is even more evident,” Joshi said at the department’s headquarters. “Careful, professional truck drivers, attentive to driving, are saving lives every day.” The event at USDOT punctuated the Biden administration’s celebration of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. Many federal, state and local agencies, as well as stakeholders and the private sector, applauded truckers for keeping the economy moving, pun intended. The goods and supplies found at supermarkets and retailers likely arrived via truck.
When she testifies before the Senate committee on freight affairs this week, Joshi will have the opportunity to explain her qualifications to fill the role of administrator at FMCSA. Responding to a questionnaire from the committee, she affirmed a commitment to promoting safety across freight corridors, and noted the prominent role technology is having throughout transportation sectors.
“The agency’s top challenge and primary mission is safety. The agency must reduce the number of fatalities involving commercial motor vehicles to make our roads safer for drivers of [commercial motor vehicles] and all road users,” she said. “The agency has a critical role in forging safety partnerships with state and local government and organizations to amplify our safety enforcement, messaging and training, modernizing inspection capabilities and ensuring the current and electronic exchange of vital safety information. Adequate financial and oversight support for these programs is integral to FMCSA’s success.”
Before joining the Biden administration, Joshi led the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission.
“FMCSA must ensure that the agency’s technology, staffing and regulatory changes keep pace with the rapidly changing commercial motor vehicle landscape,” she said. “Advancing FMCSA’s internal technology is critical.”
The Week Ahead (all times Eastern)
Sept. 22, 9:30 a.m.: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee meets for a hearing titled, “The Circular Economy as a Concept for Creating a More Sustainable Future.”
Sept. 22, 10 a.m.: The Senate Commerce Committee meets for a hearing with Meera Joshi, nominee to become FMCSA administrator.
On Capitol Hill, the other side of the aisle has been making significant noise lately.
The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure panel on Sept. 15 reported along party lines a nearly $60 billion measure. The transportation bill will be included as part of the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill, a significant component of the president’s proposals that the chamber’s leadership plans to finalize this month.
The bill includes $2.5 billion for port infrastructure and freight supply chain resilience projects, $1 billion for developing low-emission technology projects at the U.S. Department of Transportation, $1 billion for the U.S. General Services Administration to promote energy-efficient buildings and $500 million for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
September is Deadline Month. End-of-the-month deadlines include a 2015 federal highway law, the fiscal funding year, a vote on a bipartisan infrastructure bill and big-ticket budget legislation. (Oh, and the debt ceiling is on the horizon.)
Space: The final frontier.
It’s been said, if you got it a truck brought it.
From the @TRUCKINGdotORG, @Cummins, and @ACT1trucking, thank you to the 3.6 million professional truck drivers who when the world stopped, they kept moving! #NTDAW21 #thankatrucker pic.twitter.com/m93Wf8FFpO— LEAD ATA (@LEAD_ATA) September 17, 2021
The Last Word
The essential nature of the work that truck drivers do every day, often behind the scenes, is crucial to the nation’s economy, public health and roadway safety.
Carlos Monje, undersecretary of transportation for policy, Sept. 16
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