Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!



Slow goings for transportation legislation as the clock ticks down to March 31

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
March 12, 2012

With the clock officially ticking away until the March 31 deadline for to Congress either—A-sign off on a new federal surface transportation bill—or B-pass yet another short-term continuing resolution with funding intact a current levels, there has been some movement on matters related to this effort in the last week or so, with later this month once the House returns from recess this week.

On the House side, the five-year, $260 American Energy and Infrastructure Act, which was introduced in late January, appears to be on a road to nowhere at this point.

This was made clear by the fact that when the House Republican Conference met last week to review the status of the bill, there were still not enough votes for the bill’s transportation sections, with only the energy portion being signed off on, according to a report in Politico.

Meanwhile, House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-FL) said in a statement that a five-year bill “is the best option for a job-creating bill to improve our infrastructure.”

While Mica has faith in his five-year plan, the lack of sufficient votes indicates the House feels differently at this point. What’s more, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) recently said it is among dozens of organizations that are against removing transit investments from the Highway Trust Fund. 

On the Senate side, last week saw the two-year, $109 billion MAP-21 legislation have a fair amount of activity. 40 amendments were approved last week, according to AASHTO, with work scheduled for 22 other amendments tomorrow.

In early February, the Senate voted by an 85-11 margin to move ahead with MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century). But last week, a 52-44 vote fell short of the required 60 votes needed to close debate on the bill, noted AASHTO.

If the House measure does not gain traction, House Speaker John Boehner said that the House considering the Senate bill is one option being considered as well as continue talking with House members about a longer-term approach.

The National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) said that House leadership tries to “advance a bill which faces considerable opposition from conservatives who are strongly reluctant to commit to the five-year plan,” adding that “failure to advance a House bill which has been promoted to create and foster job growth would place its authors and supporters in a precarious political position in an election year.”

Election year or not, time is running short. This Congress has fallen well short of agreeing upon pretty much anything to a large degree. Unfortunately, it does not look much better when it comes to surface transportation legislation. If anything is close to being partisan-free, it would sure seem to make sense that this would be it.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

The 'Internet of Things' or IoT is a term that has rapidly taken center stage in business and consumer technology circles, with tremendous amounts of hype in both. Don't be distracted if some of the hypothetical consumer examples of the IoT seem far-fetched; the trend has serious implications for businesses. This complimentary whitepaper takes a look at some of the opportunities afforded by the Internet of Business Things.

Of special interest to readers of Logistics Management will be “Americas Update,” which will look into the future of the market in the Americas and assess how firms will be able to favorably position themselves to compete and win market share.

After 20 years, two congressional mandates and countless lawsuits and lobbying efforts, safety advocates and the Teamsters union still say there are too many inexperienced rookie truck drivers hitting the road without sufficient behind-the-wheel training.

Congested U.S. port terminals, harbor and over-the-road truck and driver shortages, slower trains and longer rail terminal dwell times due to increased domestic rates have not only disrupted service but also driven intermodal rates and cargo handling costs up sharply.

Southern California shippers are getting a break on container dwell expenses for the next ten days as the Port of Long Beach announced that it had added an extra three days to the time that overseas import containers can remain on the docks without charge.

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA