Heavy Duty Trucking

SEP 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

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16 HDT • SEPTEMBER 2014 www.truckinginfo.com "At that point you and I will likely be told the same thing we were told this summer and over the past several years: a long-term measure is just too hard." Congressional leaders on the issue are pushing the same point. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who led a failed effort to get the House to pass a bill that would force Congress to act this year, said she and her allies would continue work for a multi-year bill "as soon as possible." Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., one of Boxer's allies on this issue, said that short-term patches amount to congressional irresponsibility that is placing a burden on states and cities. "The best thing we can do to promote economic growth and provide the certainty state and local officials are begging for is to stop stealing from future genera- tions and pass a long-term highway program reform bill that is paid for in the same time frame in which the money is spent," Corker said. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., a strong advocate of rais- ing the federal fuel tax to pay for infrastructure invest- ment, said Congress should not congratulate itself for passing the patch. "We are nowhere near the finish line," he said. "I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol, as well as a broad coalition of businesses, labor, truckers, motorists, transit riders, and elected officials, to ensure we do what we were sent to Congress to do — govern and lead by example." Public perception The challenge will be the same as it always has been: to convince lawmakers that they have to risk the ire of voters who do not wish to pay any more for infrastruc- ture. A recent AP poll shows that 58% of Americans op- pose raising the federal fuel tax to pay for highways. The public also strongly opposes tolling as a way to pay for private investment in roads, and most oppose a vehicle mile tax. And the public doesn't want responsibility for fund- ing shifted to states and local governments, as some conservative groups suggest. Yet 60% of the public understands that keeping WASHINGTONreport "At that point you and I will likely be told the same thing we were told this summer and over the past several years: a long-term measure is just too hard." – Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx T he Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is taking another swing at a driver training rule, this time suggesting negotiations to resolve details that sidelined an earlier proposal. At issue is the agency's seven-year effort to come up with standards for entry-level driver training. A year ago the agency pulled its proposal because of disagreements over how it should work, even though there was general agreement with the concept. Now the agency is proposing a negotiated rulemaking. It has hired a "convener," Richard Parker of the University of Connecticut School of Law, to see if an agreement is possible among carriers, driver groups, trainers, state agen- cies, safety advocates and insurance companies. Parker will interview the interested parties and assess the possibility of agreement. The agency will use his report to deter- mine whether or not to proceed with negotiations. If the agency decides to go forward, it will invite representatives of these interests to col- laborate on a draft of a proposed rule. If they can do that, the draft would be posted for public comment. The negotiation will have to resolve dif- ferences over basic details such as whether training should be measured by hours or by performance. Other issues are how driver training schools should be accredited, if there should be a graduated licensing program and how the behind-the-wheel portion of the training would be conducted. FMCSA wants to negotiate driver training rule PHOTO: ISTOCK.COM 8

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