Transportation bill conference report move toward House, Senate consideration
No Earmarks: While the previous surface transportation law contained more than 6,300 earmarks, this is the first surface transportation bill in decades that does not contain any earmarks.
Improves Safety: The measure includes provisions to strengthen highway and motor carrier safety programs. The legislation consolidates National Highway Traffic Safety Administration incentive grant programs, and increases funding flexibility for states that qualify for safety incentive grants. The measure also improves motor carrier safety in a balanced fashion that does not over-regulate the industry, as the initial Senate proposal would have done.
Excludes Senate Re-Regulation of Railroads: The measure does not include the proposed Senate rail title due to House opposition to increases in funding and authorities for Amtrak, provisions that stifle private sector competition in passenger and commuter rail service, provisions laying the groundwork for re-regulation of the rail industry, and other provisions.
Hazmat Safety: The measure reauthorizes the Department of Transportation’s hazardous materials safety programs, secures reforms to the HazMat special permits and approvals program, and removes burdensome statutory changes. The legislation also bans proposed wetlines regulation until the Government Accountability Office can analyze costs and benefits.
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