DRIVE + STRR = FAST; Bills Merged and Sent Back to Chambers

Twelve Senators and 28 House Representatives met in committee to hash out the differences between the Senate’s DRIVE Act and the House of Representatives’ STRR Act. Their efforts have produced the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The FAST Act is a $305 billion, 5-year bill.

In the American Journal of Transportation, the Coalition of America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) praises the multi-year funding for transportation infrastructure upgrades.

“We are thrilled to see Conferees recognize so many of the Coalition’s long-standing priorities,” said Leslie Blakey, CAGTC President. “Over the past fifteen years, we have advocated for a minimum annual investment of $2 billion in the freight network. This afternoon, despite the arguments of powerful opponents, Conferees answered our call, and in doing so demonstrated a commitment to American manufacturing, agriculture, and retail. Investment of this magnitude will increase the efficiency and reliability of our commerce network, and we urge quick passage by Congress of this landmark legislation.”

One item that has been of great concern to our industry was the STRR Act provision that gave advantages for “interim hiring standards” to carriers and brokers with “Satisfactory” CSA ratings. While that sounds reasonable, it penalized the smaller companies (representing almost half of all truck drivers) who had yet to be rated. We are pleased to report that this provision has been removed from the FAST Act.

Additionally this bill deals extensively with port performance, drug testing, it removes CSA scores from public view, and touches many other related issues.

As you can note in Blakey’s quote above, the FAST Act bill is not a done deal yet. It still needs to be voted on in the House and Senate and, of course, it needs President Obama’s signature.

We’ll be talking more about this bill in the days and weeks to come.

Thanks for reading.

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