Hours-of-Service Stays, Highway Budget Stalls

Speculation is that the new Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) funding bill might still be passed when this Congress returns after the elections. If not, the new Congress will have to begin all over again in the next session.

Old funding for transportation has been extended several times. Under the bill just passed, Congress has provided an eight-month extension. Filled with federal pork for many running in this year’s elections, TEA-21 has met consistent opposition from the White House because it is seen as too costly.

HOS that went into effect at the beginning of the year have caused some havoc in the transportation industry. A Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on July 16th was aimed at vacating the rules. Rather than canceling them, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was able to keep HOS rules in place in order to avoid confusion.

Now the Congress, under the same bill that extended transportation funding, is permitting the FMCSA to keep current rules in place until September 30, 2005, or it comes up with new rules that answer the Circuit Court’s objections, which ever comes first.

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