FRA Issue Update - 7/12/19

Congressman Ross Spano Signs on to Safe Routes Act

Today Ross Spano (FL-15) signed on as a cosponsor to the Safe Routes Act. Along with Spano the bill now has three members of the Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee supporting the legislation introduced by Congressman Gallagher (WI-8). With three members of the T&I members sponsoring, the Safe Routes Act is gaining momentum.

FMCSA Pilot Program for Drivers Under 21

Public comments are due on July 15 on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) request for comments on an expanding a pilot program for drivers under 21 years of age. This is an expansion of the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) program specifically for 18-20 year-olds with military training that was completed last summer by the FMCSA. Expanding this program to include non-military personnel will create a pathway for young adults to establish a career in the transportation industry. FRA has prepared and will be submitting comments on behalf of our members. We encourage FRA members to prepare comments on behalf of your organization and submit them to the FCMSA. Comments can be sent to the below address or submitted via Enter the docket number FMCSA-2018-0346 to go to the FMCSA public comment page.

Docket Management Facility
U.S. Dept. of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave SE
West Building Ground Floor
Room W12-140
Washington, DC 20590-0001

Forest Service Hosting 2nd Webinar on Proposed NEPA Changes Today

The Forest Service will be hosting its second webinar to inform the public about the proposed revisions to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations. The webinar is scheduled for today, July 12 at 3:30-5:00 PM (EDT). The proposed rule will allow the Forest Service to manage forestlands in a more timely and efficient manner. Included in the proposed rule are several Categorical Exclusions (CEs) that would be used for forest restoration projects, road and trail management, and special use authorizations. Comments on this proposal are due August 12th.

Senate Expected to have Transportation Infrastructure Bill by August

This week Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) said he will have the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act out of his committee by August recess. The FAST Act provides long-term funding for surface transportation for States and local governments. The current FAST Act will expire in October 2020. The FAST Act may present opportunities to advance the FRA supported Safe Routes Act.

Labor Secretary Acosta Resigns

Department of Labor Secretary (DOL) Alex Acosta resigned today. Acosta’s resignation is effective Friday, July 19. Acosta resigned under the scrutiny of a plea bargain he put together with Jeffery Epstein when he was the US Attorney in Miami. DOL deputy secretary Pat Pizzella will be acting secretary until a new appointment is made by President Trump.