MAP21 Survives Congressional Budget Battle: FMCSA Implements Transportation Bill Despite Criticism That MAP-21 Is Really New Tax on Trucking Industry, Burden on Local Budgets

MAP21 Survives Congressional Budget Battle: FMCSA Implements Transportation Bill Despite Criticism That MAP-21 Is Really New Tax on Trucking Industry, Burden on Local Budgets

In June 2012, Congress passed the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and now the federal government is implementing this new law regarding federal spending on surface transportation.  MAP-21 impacts every state in the union with Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin together comprising Region 5.

The mission statement of Region 5 of MAP-21 is:

Our mission is to enhance citizens’ mobility, accessibility, and economic well-being through the development and management of public transport services that are comprehensive, affordable, efficient, reliable, safe, and environmentally sound.  We build sustainable partnerships through community planning support, technical assistance, grant provision, and project monitoring. In accordance with federal regulations and policies, we seek to achieve maximum productivity, exemplary professionalism, and exceptionally-responsive customer service.  As the Region V office of the Federal Transit Administration, we serve as a bridge between our national headquarters, local and regional service providers, and other transit stakeholders.

FMSCA Implementing MAP-21 as Senate Continues Highway Transportating Funding Law

This month, attempts by the House of Representatives to curtail MAP-21 were thwarted by the U.S. Senate when the budget cut made by the House was put back into the federal funding by the Senate in a vote that will continue MAP-21 as a 2 year plan bringing $109 billion to transportation funding.

One of the big impacts of MAP-21 is on the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) regulations that have been enacted regarding big rig, semi, tractor-trailer trucks, buses, and other commercial vehicles (for details, see our earlier CSA posts).

In testimony before the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on March 14, 2013, the administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Anne Ferro, explained the following ways that MAP-21 was  being implemented by FMCSA, including:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability, or CSA is FMCSA’s compliance model to improve CMV safety and ultimately reduce large truck and bus crashes, injuries, and fatalities on our nation’s highways. CSA enables the Agency to identify high risk motor carriers and achieve improved levels of compliance with Federal commercial motor vehicle safety and hazardous materials regulations. Additionally, through increased operational efficiencies, CSA is enabling FMCSA and its State safety enforcement partners to identify and address compliance and safety deficiencies of a larger segment of the motor carrier industry than we did previously with less interruption to motor carriers’ business operations. Developed with an unprecedented level of stakeholder input, analysis, and planning, the Agency recently implemented enhancements to our Safety Measurement System (SMS) that reflect input collected from the comments of more than 19,000 carriers and 2,900 law enforcement personnel.

MAP-21 includes a number of statutory revisions and additional authorities needed to bring CSA to fruition. For example, MAP-21 provides the Agency with flexibility to allow an investigator’s credentials to be displayed in writing rather than in person. This will allow FMCSA and its investigators – with clear statutory authority to conduct enforcement interventions – to formally demand that a motor carrier provide records without having to travel to the motor carrier’s business location. This is vital to expanding FMCSA’s and our State partners’ enforcement repertoire to include off-site reviews and investigations and will increase the number of reviews that we conduct.

Trucking Industry Sees MAP-21 As New Tax on Trucking Industry in a Bad Economic Time

Trucking industry experts are estimating that MAP-21 will burden the trucking industry with billions of dollars in additional taxation. How?  Hidden things like the new law’s requirement that trucking companies wanting to hire other carriers will be required to start a new company in order to be legally shielded from carrier liability resulting from arranged transportation.

State and Local Governments Concerned that MAP-21 Brings Financial Burden On Local and State Budgets

By requiring new roads in state and local transportation systems, as well as requiring roadways conform with federal standards, MAP-21 brings a big worry to many local and state jurisdictions on how they are to pay for these new things.  Oregon’s Department of Transportation, for example, was quoted as “scrambling” to meet the new MAP-21 requirements.

The Congressional Budget battles are far from over.  Financial concerns over implementing MAP-21 have been raised for over two years now and in today’s troubling economic times these money issues will undoubtedly be raised in the future.  However, as of this month, MAP-21 is still alive and well and moving forward to impact commercial trucking in this country and the duties imposed upon trucking companies to keep their operations safe for all of us.

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