White House threatens to veto bill with key trucking provisions
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
Posted by: Ford Boswell
Heavy Duty Trucking’s David Cullen reports that the Obama Administration has put Congress on notice that it will recommend that President Obama veto the T-HUD bill (H.R. 2527) that contains provisions key to trucking interests such as federal provisions for the use of longer trailers, keeping the current 34-hour rule, and blocking proposed increases for insurance requirements for truckers.
The T-HUD bill sets the fiscal-year appropriations for the Departments of Transportation and Housing & Urban and is expected to reach the House floor sometime this week or next.
Cullen reports that bill contains several policy riders favored by trucking interests, including allow 33-foot long double trailers to operate on Interstate and other highways, regardless of state laws prohibiting them; keep the 34-hour restart rule suspended until a Federal study is completed; prevent the government from increasing the $750,000 minimum liability insurance coverage now required for truckers; and remove funding to implement wireless roadside inspections on highways.
The $55-billion spending bill was approved last month by the House Appropriations Committee along party lines, 30-21. It must be approved by the full House and Senate before being sent to the White House for the President to sign or veto.
However, recent White House statements broadly object to the bill on the grounds that it would shortchange critically needed investments in transportation infrastructure and housing assistance, it also states that “the Administration strongly objects to language… that would undercut public safety, including by letting the trucking industry avoid truck size and weight limits and by preventing data-driven changes that would improve safety for all travelers by addressing truck driver fatigue (‘Hours of Service’).”
Citing industry safety improvements, the American Trucking Associations says it supports the bill, while other trucking groups question the bill's cuts to infrastructure spending.