May 24, 2017 4:30 PM, EDT

Trump Budget Requests $658 Million for FMCSA in Fiscal 2018

Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration would receive $657.8 million in fiscal 2018 under a budget request the Trump White House delivered to Congress for lawmakers’ consideration.

The request for the trucking regulatory agency consists of $283 million for motor carrier safety and operations programs and $374.8 million for motor carrier safety grants. The request is slightly higher than the enacted fiscal 2017 levels, which were $277.2 million for safety and operations programs and $367 million for safety grants.

The request was published on the U.S. Department of Transportation website. Throughout the document, the agency emphasized its role as a data-driven organization relying on regulations as the basis for safety and commercial enforcement activities.

“These funds will enable FMCSA to sustain its programs with critical resources to improve safety operations, provide much-needed inflation-level increases in safety grants and explore transportation technology innovations intended to improve the nation’s economy,” according to the request.

Under the proposal, the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program would receive $298.9 million in fiscal 2018, or $47.7 million more than the fiscal 2017 enacted level. Regulators use the program to provide financial assistance to states so they may reduce crashes and hazardous materials problems involving commercial vehicles.

Related to the status of a drug and alcohol clearinghouse meant to track commercial drivers, a contract for its development will be awarded in fiscal 2018, the request noted.

“The development of the drug and alcohol clearinghouse will ensure that drivers who have tested positive or refused testing are not allowed to operate until they have completed the required substance abuse program,” according to the request. “Keeping these drivers off the roads and improving the identification of them to prospective employers will be a significant step toward improved highway safety.”