On September 18, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) withdrew its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) from December 26, 2007, which proposed new entry-level driver training (ELDT) standards for commercial drivers applying for a license to operate in interstate commerce.
FMCSA cited three reasons for the withdrawal:
A bill sponsored by Representatives Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.) and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.)— which would require the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to go through the formal rulemaking process rather than issuing guidance on the sleep apnea issue—has cleared the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The bill would help ensure interested parties would have the ability to participate in the process during the public comment period. The bill also would require FMCSA to undertake a cost- benefit analysis on the impact of the rule.
On September 25, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a final rule to prohibit commercial motor vehicle drivers from entering onto a highway-rail grade crossing unless there is sufficient space to drive completely through the grade crossing without stopping. “The intent of this rulemaking is to reduce highway-rail grade crossing crashes,” noted FMCSA and PHMSA.
On September 19, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a $531 million Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan for Interstate Highway 35W in Tarrant County, Texas. The loan is intended to relieve one of state’s most congested corridors and improve safety by upgrading the expressway and adding two new lanes in each direction.
Virginia has received an additional $57.3 million in federal funds for transportation originally allocated to other states, according to an article in the September 17 issue of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) plans to use this funding for:
The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) recently announced the opening of two new truck-only parking on Interstate 44 near Halltown, Mo. Previously, they had functioned as all purpose rest sites, but MoDOT closed them in May, saying that it could not afford to comply with stringent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations. The conversion to truck-only parking facilities cost MoDOT approximately $307,000. Located at Mile Marker 52 between Joplin and Springfield, the eastbound site has 22 spaces and the westbound site has 20 spaces.
The Indiana Department of Revenue has published Trucking Tips, a free online magazine in a new “flip book” format that is designed to help motor carriers better understand the state’s tax laws and fees, motor carrier processes and the services available from the department’s Motor Carrier Services Division. Click here to read the 26-page September issue and subscribe.
Construction employment increased in 26 states between July and August and in 35 states for the year, according to an analysis of Labor Department data released on September 20 by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). “While we would all like to see even more robust growth, it is encouraging that most states have a larger construction workforce today than they did a year ago,” said AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr. “It will take a lot more growth, however, before construction employment levels return to their pre-recession levels in most places.”
Due to growing global demand and recent reductions in supply, prices for most industrial metals are expected to increase moderately in 2014, according to the September 6 issue of The Kiplinger Letter.
Recent issues of Wind Energy SmartBriefs noted the following items of interest to SC&RA members: