Tag Archive for 'U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT)'

ARTBA Reports: Transportation Spending Measure Advances in House

The House Appropriations Committee June 4 advanced a $137.1 billion FY 2020 spending bill covering transportation and housing. The bill would provide $86.6 billion to the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT), a slight increase over current funding levels.

The measure was approved in a 29-21 vote, mostly along party lines. The Trump administration had requested an $11 billion reduction in spending. A comparison of this bill to the previous year’s spending levels on highway, transit, and aviation construction programs can be viewed below.

A bipartisan duo, Reps. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) and Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), tried and failed to strike three riders that Womack said would “place an unacceptable burden on the trucking industry.” One would prevent U.S. DOT from establishing uniform hours of service rules for truckers, another would require U.S. DOT to publish trucking company safety violations, and the third would prohibit changes to the 30-minute rest break rule. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) also offered an amendment unsuccessfully that would remove a provision from the bill preventing U.S. DOT from taking back funds from California’s high-speed rail project.

House Democrats say they will put a roughly $1 trillion package of five unrelated annual spending bills on the floor next week. The remaining bills, including the transportation measure, are likely to be considered by the full House later this month. Republicans say the appropriations bills should not move forward until the House, Senate and White House agree on top-line spending levels for FY 2020, the approach the Senate has thus far taken.

ARTBA will continue advocating for FAST Act authorized funding levels and increased General Fund spending as this process moves forward.

ARTBA Reports: FHWA Proposal Breaks With 2012
Transportation Bill Directives

29d04b3d-4453-4557-a059-9cf73a6a6df3The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) challenged the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) proposal to measure greenhouse gas emissions from new transportation projects.The proposal is part of larger performance measures required under the 2012 “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (MAP-21) surface transportation reauthorization law. In Aug. 19 comments to the agency, ARTBA charged the proposal “exceeds both the authority of the FHWA and the intent of MAP-21.”

ARTBA warned of this three years ago, when it urged the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) not to jeopardize the broad bipartisan congressional support for MAP-21 by including extraneous issues—such as climate change— in the law’s implementation. Specifically, a 2013 ARTBA task force cautioned:

“Focus on the goals enumerated in the law. The authors of MAP-21 had the opportunity to include a host of external goals such as livability, reduction of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, reduction of reliance on foreign oil, adaptation to the effects of climate change, public health, housing, land-use patterns and air quality in the planning and performance process….the U.S. Department of Transportation should focus on implementing the goals and standards as spelled out in MAP-21.”

In its latest comments, ARTBA noted that neither Congress nor the administration sought emission measurements in the MAP-21 performance management process, and that such proposals were not included in the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation” (FAST) Act reauthorization law passed in December 2015.

ARTBA also raised a variety of concerns about the proposed measurement system. Specifically, it “does not define what exactly it will measure and how it will measure it,” ARTBA stated, and “[i]t is unfair to ask the regulated community to provide specific comments on such an abstract proposal.” Further, the association warned that the proposal could lead to a cumbersome regulatory process that undercuts progress from both MAP-21 and the FAST Act on expediting transportation project delivery and delay transportation improvements.

ARTBA concluded “it is hard to see this proposal as anything other than a maneuver to achieve a policy objective the administration failed to initiate during the MAP-21 and FAST Act deliberations.” The association has asked FHWA to withdraw its proposed measurement system.

Established in 1902 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., ARTBA is the “consensus voice” of the U.S. transportation design and construction industry before Congress, federal agencies, the White House, news media and the general public.