FRA Issue Update 5/17/19

Senator Johnson (WI) Introduces Safe Routes Act

Thursday, May 16, Senator Ron Johnson (WI) introduced the Safe Routes Act of 2019 (S. 1509). Senator Perdue of Georgia additionally supported the measure as an original cosponsor.

“Forestry is a top industry for a number of Wisconsin counties. Yet certain logging trucks are unable to use federal highways to travel even short distances from forest sites to processing or storage facilities. This bill would help make our roads safer by opening Wisconsin’s federal highways to logging trucks [allowing log trucks access to the safer Interstate System at legal state truck weights to avoid interactions with on-coming traffic, intersections, driveways, pedestrians, and school crossings]” Sen. Johnson said.

The Senate bill is companion legislation to the Safe Routes Act (H.R. 2453) that was introduced in the House by Congressman Mike Gallagher on May 1, 2019.

FRA will continue to work with our allies to advance the Safe Routes Act in both Chambers.

FMCSA Seeks Public Comment on a Pilot Program for Young Drivers

On May 15, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a notice seeking public comment on creating a pilot project to allow commercial drivers 18-20 years old to operate in interstate commerce. The agency is seeking input on the training, qualifications, driving limitations, and vehicle safety systems that it should consider in developing options or approaches for a second pilot program for younger drivers. FRA is currently working with TEAM Safe Trucking as they apply to be one of the qualifying businesses to provide training.

FMCSA is also currently working on a pilot project authorized by the FAST Act to allow military veterans under 21 to drive in interstate commerce. This announcement indicates that the agency is considering expanding this pilot to determine how best to bring younger drivers into the industry safely.

First Infrastructure Bill Emerges from House

This week, the House released the first infrastructure package of the 116th Congress. The legislation includes language that recognizes biomass for energy improvements at public school facilities and homes, and defined biomass as a clean renewable energy source. The bill language can be found here.