How much is added flexibility to your driving workday worth to you?
House Democrats on Capitol Hill unveiled the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST in America) Act on Wednesday, May 3rd. The bill is 864 pages long, but the two biggest pieces that should interest truck drivers are:
- The bill authorizes $494 billion of spending on surface transportation over the course of five years.
- The bill delays the hours-of-service reform, set to be in effect September 29th, to whenever the Secretary of Transportation completes a “comprehensive review” of the final rule.
The added spending in infrastructure and other amenities that keep trucks running is helpful, but the HoS review may make it not worth it.
The bill states, “the Secretary, in consultation with State motor carrier enforcement entities, shall undertake a statistically valid analysis to determine the safety impact, including on enforcement, of the exemptions, waivers, or other allowances” for the final rule. The bill requires the Secretary of Transportation to post the findings of the review no later than eighteen months after the review starts, which would be some time after the bill passes but no longer than sixty days after.
This means that the HoS reform could be delayed to May 2022.
As you may expect, people have mixed thoughts about INVEST in America bill. Trucking associations including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) praise the bill for increased spending on roads but lambast it for delaying the HoS reform.
The bill has not been voted on in the House yet. If it passes, it will still need to pass through the Senate and President Trump’s desk. If you oppose the bill because you place a high emphasis on having more flexibility in how you conduct your driving day, right now the bill is still in its infancy, and you should not be too worried.
The bill also allocates $755 million for truck parking grants to increase the number of parking spaces nationwide. If you want to read more about the bill, the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has the bill for public display here.