Feds launch roadmap for MAP-21 highway law

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 9/25/2012

Questions about electronic on-board recorders? Highway funding? What about “Jason’s Law” for truck parking? The U.S. Department of Transportation has rolled out guidance, fact sheets and an online Q&A about MAP-21, the new U.S. transportation law set to take effect Oct. 1. The agency has also scheduled a pair of webinars to provide additional info.

The online resource starts with a summary of the law known as Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century. President Obama signed MAP-21 into law on July 6.

The $105 billion, two-year law restructures a number of DOT programs, creates some programs – such as a new office on freight efficiency – and eliminates others. MAP-21 emphasizes performance for highway and bridge projects by cutting some of the red tape.

The law directs the Federal Highway Administration to develop a rule on electronic on-board recorders, but the agency still has not solved the issue of EOBRs being used as a tool to harass the commercial driver.

MAP-21 allows for new interstate capacity to be tolled but does not increase the number of existing interstates that can be tolled.

The law prioritizes safe truck parking through a “Jason’s Law” provision, named after trucker Jason Rivenburg who was murdered in his truck after a lack of truck parking forced him to park off the grid at an abandoned gas station.

Truckers and motor carriers have more at stake with the law, as well, in terms of new entrant audits, driver training, cab crashworthiness, a clampdown on reincarnated motor carriers, and changes to the broker bond, to name a few.

DOT has conducted webinars on various topics related to MAP-21, with two more scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday of this week. The webinars are designed to assist stakeholders in understanding how the law affects them. Both webinars are from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Eastern at this link.

The site also contains text of the legislation in its entirety, presentations on various highway topics, and funding tables.

The U.S. has functioned under the provisions of the previous law, SAFETEA-LU, since Aug. 2005, despite the “expiration” of the law in 2009. Congress passed a total of 10 temporary extensions, which will end once MAP-21 takes effect. And because MAP-21 is only a two-year law, members of Congress are already working on the next chapter in highway policy and funding.

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