The changes to the hours of service regulations are being celebrated by many trucking associations around the country, and they have Senator Collins to thank for it. Here’s a little information on the woman behind the HOS amendment.
-First elected in 1996, this is her 3rd term.
-In 2011 Collins got trucks weighing up to 100,000 lbs on Maine highways that were once re-routed to busy downtown streets.
-Collins lives in a rural northern part of Maine, it’s big trucking country.
– Collins efforts won praise by many trucking associations as well as FedEx.
– FedEx was her 9th largest contributor with $44,500.
-Collins raised $2.76 million in total.
-She has fought for many other issues including, repealing $50 billion in tax breaks for tobacco industry and helped repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell”
– In 2002 she became chairman of Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee and continues to work as a member.
An omnibus spending bill is to come up in congress this week and it is expected to have the Collins Amendment attached to it. The Collins amendment might be considered controversial for lawmakers but has many in the trucking industry fighting to include it.
The Collins Amendment
The Collins Amendment would eliminate the requirements that a truck operator’s hours restart include two 1am to 5am period.
It would suspend the once-per week limit of the use of the restart.
Require the FMCSA to provide stronger justifications to mandate restart provisions.
The Trucking Industry Rallies
The Collins amendment is being advocated by many trucking groups like the American Trucking Association (ATA), the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA), and the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) to name a few. OOIDA added data from a membership survey that showed 46% of operators felt more fatigued after the new rule took effect and 65% are making less since the new rule. They are asking its members to send letters to their congressmen.
P.S- It’s 17 days before Christmas! Hope you’re all ready.
The American Trucking Association has been pushing for Congress to find a long term highway funding solution however, Obama does not believe that it will get done this year, suggesting Congress concentrate on finding a short-term highway funding fix instead. Obama challenges congress to “redesign and think through how, what is a sustainable way for us on a regular basis to make the investments we need… we’ve got to figure it out”
Raising the gas tax seems like the quickest and most rational fix, which is probably why a bi-partisan pair in the house is pushing for a fuel tax increase. Their bill proposition suggests raising the gasoline and diesel tax by 15 cents over the next three year and more importantly indexing the tax to inflation. They quoted another president, “We simply cannot allow this magnificent (infrastructure) system to deteriorate beyond repair.”- Reagan. He then raised the gas tax from 4 to 9 cents a gallon two months later. The bi-partisan pair might have some support but there are huge challenges.
The reason Obama believes they will not find a highway fund solution anytime soon is the current lame-duck session that Congress is in. Plus, even if they weren’t in a lame-duck session Congress hasn’t raised the gas tax in over 20 years and there’s a reason for that, it’s strategically frightening for members of Congress. It seems the challenges for this simple solution to a major problem might actually be detrimental.
For The Video on Obama’s Proposition go to Transport Topics>>
For More on the Bi- Partisans Proposed Raise in Gas Tax go to HDT>>
The last time congress truly helped transportation funding revenue was when Bill Clinton had just become president. Now because of certain revenue shortfalls congress will be forced to reassess transportation funding by May.
The Two Major Bi-Partisan Options
1. Simply raise the federal gas tax and ideally raising it in accordance to inflation rates, if they had done this in 1993 (the last time they raised the gas tax) we would not be so short on transportation funding. The one issue with gas taxes is with todays technology, cars are becoming more and more fuel efficient and with the Tesla running completely on electricity, who knows how efficient this tax will be.
2. Obama and some other republicans are favoring a different approach. They would like to raise the money through corporate tax returns and putting it into transportation. The revenue however would be a one time fund and although it would provide years of continuous funding there are no promises it will leave transportation in a better place once the money runs out.
For more information go to the Washington Post>>
10 New Governors were elected, with half of those coming from opposing political parties than before. Republicans net gained three governors and took control of the senate. Now what does this mean for us?
-Congress has been under pressure for awhile to produce a LONG TERM transportation bill. Something that has been unsuccessful since 2009. The current bill funds the states transportation until May 2015, which is a problem since states rely on federal funding for more then 50% of their transportation money. Here is a broad list of what is being developed.
New State Transportation Money
States really working on it: Texas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan.
Federal Surface Transportation Money
The reason congress hasn’t been able to figure out of a long term bill for transportation is that neither congress or Obama want to raise the gas tax, which has not been raised since 1993. With the republican in control of congress that won’t change, but the positive, Republican are going to have to work hard to prove themselves.
The good news first, 70% of voters approve of the current local public transits. Atlanta plans to expand MARTA and both Seattle and San Francisco have voted for measures to support public transit.
The bad news, Florida voters voted against tax increase to support transit. Baltimore and Washington DC might be having some issues with the surprising win of Republican Larry Hogan for Governor of Maryland, who stated he wanted to cancel both the Baltimore Red Line and Washington DC purple line projects. (Both projects have been worked on for years)
For more specific details for to Governing>>