A Closer Look at the New Transportation Bill

Transportation lowNow that the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act is in motion, what are some of the likely outcomes? IWLA Washington Representative Pat O’Connor shares his insight on key areas of this legislation.

Freight Policy

  • Establishes a multimodal freight policy and a national multimodal freight strategic plan and designates a National Multimodal Freight Network to assist states in strategically directing resources and informing freight transportation planning.
  • Encourages each state to establish a freight advisory committee comprised of freight stakeholders, including third-party logistics (3PLs) providers, to provide input on freight projects and funding needs. [Note: inclusion of 3PLs is thanks to the efforts of Sen. Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Rep. Gibbs (R-Ohio).]
  • The conference committee emphasizes the importance of the national strategic freight plan, which will now be multimodal in scope, and, among other things, will assess the conditions and performance of the National Multimodal Freight Network, and develop best practices for improving the performance of the Network, including critical commerce corridors, critical urban and rural access to critical freight corridors.  [Note:  the Act does not include a definition of “critical commerce corridors,” which IWLA had requested.]
  • Designation of critical urban freight corridors includes public roads that serve “a major freight generator, logistic center, or manufacturing and warehouse industrial land.”

Compliance, Safety, & Accountability (CSA)

  • Requires a thorough review and reform of the current enforcement prioritization program to ensure that Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, Accountability analysis is the most reliable system for the public and for enforcement purposes. The Act requires that FMCSA analysis of enforcement data be temporarily removed from public websites on the day after enactment, until the agency has completed.

Port Metrics

  • Provides for the collection of statistics on port capacity and throughput for the 25 largest ports to be reported annually by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.   [Note: incorporates the provisions of the IWLA-supported Port Transparency Act(S. 1298).]

National Hiring Standards

  • The National Hiring Standards Act was not included in the final bill.  The House receded to the Senate on this provision.

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