U.S. Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Signed Into Law

November 24, 2021

Landmark Legislative Vehicle Includes Several Motor Carrier Provisions


Last week, President Biden signed into law the roughly $1.5 trillion Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act, informally referred to as the bipartisan infrastructure bill. In addition to $17 billion for U.S. port of entry investments, the bill includes significant and increased funding for roads, bridges, broadband and other infrastructure elements. The bill increases both the funding formula for U.S. states, along with the amount of funding for competitive surface transportation grants. Projects across the country will be seeded with this money over several years.

 

Of interest to IAM members, the approved legislation incorporated the INVEST in America Act,  also known as the highway reauthorization bill. This five-year authorization program requires the Dept. of Transportation, along with their sub-agencies, to incorporate new programs, review opportunities and challenges within industry and to establish priorities moving ahead.

 

As part of the legislation, the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) included several household goods transportation related provisions, which are highlighted below:

  • The FMCSA is required to issue guidance to clarify and make clear distinctions between ‘‘broker’’ and ‘‘bona fide agents’’. The agency must consider the extent to which technology has changed the nature of freight brokerage, the role of bona fide agents, and other relevant aspects of the freight transportation industry. IAM will be on the lookout for this rulemaking and opportunity for stakeholder engagement. 
  • The FMCSA is also tasked to review the functionality and usability of the current National Consumer Complaint database. Household goods moves complaints are its primary focus, and the agency will recommend ways to improve its usability, review of complaints received and issue any resulting recommendations based on their findings.
  • The IAM-supported DRIVE-Safe Act was also included within the legislation, and requires the FMCSA to begin a three-year pilot program to allow 3,000 drivers under 21 years of age to operate commercial trucks in interstate commerce. Drivers will need to complete 400 hours of training, along with safety-focused requirements and licensing. The goal of this effort is to increase the amount of CDL holders permitted to operate in interstate commerce, to support the driver shortages being faced across a number of industries.
  • The agency must also conduct an "outside review" of driver pay, which are likely to include driver-detention connected issues. This issue has received renewed attention over the past year, as drivers have contended with longer delays at ports and other intermodal connected facilities.
  • The FMCSA will also conduct a broad review of electronic logging devices (ELD). This report will need to detail a path forward for future ELD violation appeals and provide current cost assessment/impact on industry. 
  • In addition, a 2-year rulemaking deadline that would require automatic emergency braking systems on CDL-class CMVs, the agency is also tasked to review the applicability of a similar requirements for smaller commercial vehicle classes.

For more information or questions on any of the initiatives or issues highlighted, please contact Bryan Vickers (703-403-2882, bvickers@pacellp.com) with IAM's Government and Regulatory Affairs Team.