On July 21, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced a bipartisan agreement that would provide three years of money for the U.S. highway trust fund. The agreement provides a six-year blueprint for spending on roads, bridges, and mass transit projects. It would pay for three of the six years. Earlier in July, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure financing highway projects until Dec. 18, 2015. The current highway fund authorization is set to expire July 31.
The ‘‘Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act’’ or the ‘‘DRIVE Act’’ includes several provisions that IWLA actively pursued in the Senate:
- For the first time, states are authorized to include logistics centers and warehouses when designating additional miles on the “primary highway freight system” to establish “efficient connections” to the primary system for intermodal facilities, logistics centers, and warehouses.
- National hiring standards for motor carriers. IWLA worked with the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) to include national hiring standards in the bill in order to clarify and standardize industry best practices for hiring safe motor carriers.
- An amendment offered by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) adds representatives of third-party logistics providers to the list of freight stakeholders to be included on state freight advisory committees. The advisory committees are to consist “of a representative cross-section of public- and private-sector freight stakeholders, including representatives of ports, third-party logistics providers, shippers, carriers, freight-related associations, the freight industry workforce, the transportation department of the state, and local governments.”
Stay tuned for new developments on the highway funding issue in next week’s newsletter.