Highway funding, CSA and hours of service on T&I Committee watch list

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has announced its oversight plan for the 113th Congress. Of interest to truckers, the committee lists highway funding, the CSA program and hours of service among its top priorities for the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit to keep an eye on.

Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-PA, and Ranking Member Nick Rahall, D-WV, announced the bipartisan oversight plan on Wednesday, Jan. 23.

Items on the committee watch list could lead to hearings that will give OOIDA and truckers a chance to be at the table.

“We applaud Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member Rahall for focusing on trucking-related issues as the committee moves into the 113th Congress,” said OOIDA Director of Legislative Affairs Ryan Bowley.

“In addition, OOIDA is certainly going to be working with committee staff to identify issues that come up, as we’ve done in the past.”

An ongoing program the committee has targeted for oversight is the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program. Known as CSA, the program was established to identify high-risk motor carriers and bus companies.

During a hearing in September 2012, the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit requested an audit of the CSA program by the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General. That audit is on track to be completed later this year.

“As that audit moves forward and as other issues arise with CSA and its impact on the industry and especially the small-business segment of trucking, the committee looks ready to continue that oversight of the program,” Bowley said.

“CSA is a prime example of issues that OOIDA members raised and then T&I members raised at the committee hearings. As a result, the inspector general is doing an audit, and that will be a tool that the agency can use to do further improvements within the program.”

Another hot-button issue for the committee is the continued fight over hours-of-service regulations. Hours of service have been the subject of ongoing litigation since 2003, and that has led to a final rule scheduled to take effect in July of this year.

“While that case is moving in court, the committee is going to look at issues like the 34-hour restart and other provisions that are of concern to OOIDA and OOIDA members,” Bowley said.

As part of its oversight of the current highway bill known as Moving Ahead for the 21st Century, or MAP-21, the committee plans to make much needed decisions about highway funding, according to the oversight plan.

Making the committee’s list of programs to watchdog are innovative financing and tolling. Click here to read the full oversight plan assigned to T&I subcommittees.

“The committee is going to be spending a good amount of time on highway funding and solutions,” said Bowley. “Fixing the Highway Trust Fund is going to be a priority for the committee as they look to reauthorize transportation programs in 2014.”

Shuster, along with U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA, were scheduled to have their first meeting about long-term highway funding on Thursday, Jan. 24.

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