ARA spotlights House bill's impact to retailers
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Tuesday released the “American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act of 2012” discussion draft in anticipation of the committee’s mark-up scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 2. The more than 800-page bill reauthorizes the program for 5 years at about $52 billion per year—about $260 billion overall. It is ARA's understanding that the House draft proposal looks a lot like current surface transportation programs, and it is also similar to a surface title approved in the Senate.
Some of the relevant issues to ARA members include the following:
- The hours of service agricultural exemption bill (HR 3265) is included. It also modifies the air mile radius to 150 air miles.
- Provision to allow states the option to increase truck-weight limits to 97,000 pounds with inclusion of a sixth axle on trucks.
- Provision that no hazmat endorsement is required if transporting diesel fuel in quantities of 1,000 gallons or less if placarded “diesel fuel” and in the agriculture industry.
- Federal funding will not be reduced to any state that chooses to exempt farmers from CMV licensing, drug testing, medical examination, or hours of service requirements (except for hazmat transportation). *position not advocated by ARA.
- Study to assess trends for small and independent operators- how federal regulations may adversely affect them and their safety records.
- Rulemaking within two years to improve the visibility of agricultural equipment operated on public roads.
- Prohibition of transporting horses on a double-decker horse trailer on the interstate. *position not advocated by ARA.
- Study postponing the hours of service 34-hour rest period requirement.
Hazardous Materials Transportation Provisions:
- Improve regulations and review framework to issue regulations, including a mandate to consider cost, benefits risks and authority.
- Hazmat Uniform Motor Carrier Permit Program- DOT must issue regulations to implement the program. Federal help to the states to implement the Uniform Program will terminate in 6 years. States wanting to join, must do so within 6 years.
- Better training and information for state enforcement personnel for uniform enforcement of the hazmat transportation regulations.
- Federal preemption of laws that cause an unreasonable burden on commerce.
- Wetlines- authorizes a study on wetline incidents and options. DOT cannot issue a final rule in the meantime.