Senate moves forward with bipartisan infrastructure bill

July 29, 2021

Land Line Staff

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A bipartisan infrastructure package crossed a major hurdle on Wednesday, July 28, as the Senate voted 67-32 in favor of a procedural measure to move forward with the bill.

The text of the $550 billion bill still hadn’t been released as of Thursday afternoon, but it was reported that the package would put $110 billion toward roads, bridges, and other projects. The package also incorporates the Senate version of the highway bill, which does not include any measures to increase motor carriers’ minimum insurance requirement.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has favored the Senate version of the highway bill over the House version, which includes several “anti-trucker” measures.

The House bill, for instance, would increase truckers’ minimum liability insurance from $750,000 to $2 million.

A downside of the Senate version for truckers is that it does not include any measures to address the truck parking crisis. The House version would invest $1 billion toward the creation of truck parking spaces. OOIDA said it will continue to work to get truck parking included in the Senate package.

“We are still awaiting all the details that will be released in the legislative text, but incorporating the Senate version of the highway bill is a much better starting point than the House alternative,” said Jay Grimes, OOIDA’s director of federal affairs. “The Senate bill does not include many of the harmful mandates that were passed in the House, such as minimum insurance increases, sleep apnea rulemaking, personal conveyance restrictions, public CSA scores, and expanded use of ELD data. As the infrastructure bill moves forward, we will continue working with senators to add funding for more truck parking capacity.”

According to a White House Fact Sheet, funding for the overall infrastructure package would come from unspent emergency relief funds, targeted corporate user fees, strengthened tax enforcement on crypto currencies and “other bipartisan measures.”

Investment in roads and bridges

The bill would reauthorize the surface transportation program for five years.

“This investment will repair and rebuild our roads and bridges with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians,” the White House said.

The bill dedicates $40 billion for bridge repair, replacement and rehabilitation. According to the White House, that would be the largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system. LL

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