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New federal rule for entry-level CDL training goes into effect in February

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New federal requirements for entry-level driver training for the commercial driver license (CDL) go into effect on Feb. 7.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations for entry-level driver training (ELDT) for CDL licenses were mandated under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21 Century Act (MAP-21).

ELDT regulations establish the baseline for training required for entry-level drivers. They apply to anyone:

  • seeking a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time
  • upgrading an existing Class B CDL to Class A CDL
  • obtaining a first-time school bus (S), passenger (P) or hazardous materials (H) endorsement.

Final action on a Senate infrastructure package could be a week away

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Senate action Wednesday night on a bipartisan infrastructure package starts the clock on the issue but a final vote on the Senate floor could be at least a week away.

The Senate voted 67-32 Wednesday night to proceed to debate on the bipartisan infrastructure package that has been agreed to by a group of 22 Republican and Democrat senators, known as the G-22. Seventeen Republican senators voted to advance the measure. The Biden administration also supported it.

If passed, the legislation would then head to the House, where members of both parties have expressed concerns with the package as constructed.

Senate sets timeframe for infrastructure package

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) indicated that the Senate should expect to vote on a bipartisan infrastructure package later this month.

The framework of the package was agreed to in late June and has the support of the “G-22,” a group of 11 Democrat and 11 Republican senators. The framework’s initial total cost is $1.2 trillion, with $109 billion going to roads and bridges and $11 billion marked for safety.

Senate Democrats intend on pairing the infrastructure package with a companion $3.5 trillion budget resolution made up of priorities kept out of the bipartisan bill, including action on climate change, increases to childcare and a potential increase on taxes for corporations.

Midyear Meeting adds Roadway Worker Protection session to agenda

New topic results from Roadway Worker Protection Summit during ATSSA’s 2021 Convention

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This year’s Midyear Meeting adds a new council focused on roadway worker protection to the lineup.

The addition evolved from the Roadway Worker Protection Summit, which was heavily attended during ATSSA’s 2021 Annual Convention & Traffic Expo held online in February, said ATSSA Vice President of Education and Technical Services Donna Clark.

She said the topic resonates with everyone in the roadway safety industry and, unfortunately, the statistics on injuries and deaths aren’t improving.

Congressional Road Safety Caucus puts spotlight on safety

Transportation and safety proposals this year offer optimism for roadway safety advocates

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One of the ways members of Congress shine a light on a specific issue is through the formation of congressional caucuses. Reps. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) and Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) have done exactly that in creating the bipartisan Congressional Road Safety Caucus this year.

One of the first steps came on April 14, when Reps. Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.) and Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) introduced the High Risk Rural Roads Safety Grant Program Act in the House. The Act would create a new competitive grant program for local jurisdictions and tribal nations to focus federal funding on rural and tribal road safety projects.

Funded at $600 million annually, this proposal would give a needed boost to targeting safety challenges on these rural and tribal roadways.

Other roadway safety proposals are also being considered on Capitol Hill.

House Republicans release transportation reauthorization proposal

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Republican members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, led by Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-Mo.), today released their version of a transportation reauthorization ahead of likely Committee action in early June. The language, which is narrower in scope than the House-passed transportation bill last year, would spend $400 billion over five years on federal-aid highway projects, an increase of 32% over current funding levels.

Dubbed the Surface Transportation Advanced through Reform, Technology & Efficient Review Act 2.0 (STARTER Act 2.0), the legislation includes increases to the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP).

MASH scoping study discussed during AASHTO Virtual Spring Meeting 2021

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During AASHTO's 2021 Virtual Spring Meeting on Monday, the Council on Highways and Streets (CHS) gathered to provide updates from various stakeholders. The discussion included an update on the Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) scoping study to determine the feasibility and potential next steps to convert MASH into a set of performance specifications.

Joyce Taylor from the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT), who serves as design vice chair with AASHTO, gave an update on the MASH scoping study conducted by Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI). She discussed the challenges related to current testing procedures and the gray areas within the existing manual that lead to a lack of consistency, as testing may be conducted differently by facilities.

The scoping study, conducted by TTI and sponsored by AASHTO, was completed in April.

FHWA’s Pollack expresses support for roadway safety at ATSSA Legislative Briefing & Fly-In

ATSSA members gathering online this week for annual advocacy event

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Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Acting Administrator Stephanie Pollack joined ATSSA members today for day one of the Association’s two-day Legislative Briefing & Fly-In being held online this week.

Pollack stressed the importance of roadway safety and referenced next week’s National Work Zone Awareness Week as she engaged in a conversation with ATSSA Vice President of Engagement Nate Smith and responded to member questions.

More than 100 ATSSA members registered for the Legislative Briefing & Fly-In, which is organized by ATSSA’s Government Relations Team and is a member benefit. Members are scheduled to take part in more than 60 meetings with members of Congress and legislative staffers on Thursday.

FHWA adds Thursday webinar on MUTCD Notice of Proposed Amendments

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The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has scheduled an additional webinar on the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD) Notice of Proposed Amendments (NPA) for Thursday.

This final webinar starts at 2 p.m. EDT. Registration is now open for the session, which will provide an overview of the MUTCD process and highlights of some proposed changes. FHWA indicated local jurisdictions will be especially interested in this webinar. 

ATSSA thanks FHWA for extending feedback time for proposed MUTCD changes

Association joins other industry leaders in opposing rewrite of MUTCD

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ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner sent a letter thanking Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Acting Administrator Stephanie Pollack for extending the comment period for the Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) on the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

He noted the decade-old MUTCD needs an update, expressed ATSSA’s backing of the process and rejected the recent call by some to rewrite the MUTCD.

“ATSSA supports the ongoing process and we are confident that USDOT will obtain great feedback on how to improve this important manual,” Tetschner wrote. “We understand that some want to start over with the manual and we do not support this idea. We do, however, support a reexamination of the structure, process and content of the MUTCD at a later date. We also want to make it clear that this reexamination should not delay a new edition that our industry desperately needs.”

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