Capitol Agenda for the Week of Jan. 16: LiveOnWeb’s 2018 Government Outlook

Date: 2018-02-01
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If Congress clears for President Donald Trump this week a short-term funding measure, consideration of a provision that would clarify meal-and-rest break rules for truckers will be delayed.

The continuing funding resolution would avoid a partial shutdown Jan. 19 of federal agencies, such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Disagreements the president and Democratic leaders have shared over immigration policy helped to slow down progress on advancing a long-term appropriations bill before the Jan. 19 funding deadline. The next short-term measure funding leaders will unveil is expected to keep agencies operating through February.

LIVEONWEB: 2018 government outlook

American Trucking Associations’ leadership has called on funding leaders to include the meal-and-rest break pre-emption provision in that long-term funding legislation. The provision would clarify a requirement in a 1994 aviation law called F4A to block a California law signed in 2011. Employers are required to provide a “duty-free” 30-minute meal break for employees who work more than five hours a day, as well as a second “duty-free” 30-minute meal break for those who work more than 10 hours a day, under the California law.

To help us understand F4A’s significance, Bill Sullivan, ATA executive vice president of advocacy, spoke about it for our upcoming edition of LiveOnWeb, which will be broadcast Jan. 17 at noon. Aside from F4A, Sullivan will offer an update on the ongoing efforts to ensure the trucking industry is represented in autonomous vehicle legislation.

The webcast also will touch on the White House’s plans to address states’ infrastructure needs. Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), chairman of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee, told us negotiations will kick off in February on ways to ensure the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund, and to find a path forward for reaching Trump’s goal of $200 billion to leverage $800 billion in private investments for infrastructure projects.

Graves is among the transportation leaders on Capitol Hill expressing optimism over the chances of passing Trump’s infrastructure plan.

Transport Topics policy reporter Eric Miller will join me in hosting the Jan. 17 webcast. Our special in-studio guest will be Jeff Davis of the Eno Center for Transportation, who will reflect on the various viewpoints of the administration’s championing of private-sector assistance for paying for roads, bridges, tunnels, and ports.


Jan. 17, 10 a.m.: Senate Environment and Public Works Committee holds a hearing on water infrastructure.

Jan. 17, 11 a.m.: The National Academy of Sciences releases a report titled, “Reducing Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities.”

Jan. 17, noon: Transport Topics hosts LiveOnWeb with Eno Center of Transportation senior fellow Jeff Davis.

Jan. 18, 9 a.m.: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce schedules a summit on infrastructure. Speakers include Kristina Swallow, president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and Tom Donohue, the chamber’s president and CEO.

Jan. 18, 10 a.m.: The House Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee holds a hearing on “America’s Water Resources Infrastructure: Approaches to Enhanced Project Delivery.”


SANDOVAL: Stabilizing the Highway Trust Fund is a pressing concern that needs to be resolved with statewide collaboration and federal support, said Nevada Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval.

MUDSLIDES: Truckers hauling goods and materials south through California’s San Luis Obispo County are facing longer drives and indefinite delays after deadly mudslides closed Highway 101 in Santa Barbara County.

IT’S ELECTRIC: Electric-vehicle technology for the medium- and heavy-duty sector is developing rapidly, but the price and range of these vehicles must improve for widespread deployment to take hold, industry experts said.


Senior administration officials have not ruled out calling for an increase in fuel taxes as part of an infrastructure funding package, people familiar with closed-door meetings between top transportation authorizers and White House officials told Transport Topics recently.


Writing for FiveThirtyEight, Perry Bacon Jr. expressed pessimism over the Republicans’ ability to advance an infrastructure plan. As he put it, “I’m pretty sure they’re not going to be able to take advantage of it.”

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