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September 20, 2021 1:30 PM, EDT

FMCSA Nominee Testifies Before US Senate Panel Sept. 22

Meera Joshi FMCSA's primary mission is safety, including reducing the number of fatalities involving commercial motor vehicles, says Meera Joshi. (U.S. Department of Transportation via Twitter)

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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.

Eugene Mulero

Mulero

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.”

Meera Joshi Nominee Questionnaire by Transport Topics on Scribd

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.

Freight Corridor

On Capitol Hill, the other side of the aisle has been making significant noise lately.

Legislative Docket

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.

RELATED: House Democrats edge closer to $3.5 trillion budget

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.

Buzz

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.)

Favorite Video

Space: The final frontier.

Favorite Tweet

It’s been said, if you got it a truck brought it.

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

Carlos Monje

We publish weekly when Congress is in session. E-mail emulero@ttnews.com with tips. Follow us @eugenemulero and @transporttopics.

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