On August 10 of this year, the Senate passed the $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021. This legislation is loaded with provisions aimed at several of the trucking industry’s leading concerns. It injects $550 billion of new funding into expanding and maintaining roads and bridges and a five-year reauthorization of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s highway and motor carrier safety programs.
Some of the areas of the bill that specifically relate to trucking include:
The bill also has many non-infrastructure provisions affecting motor carriers. It calls for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to set up a women of trucking advisory board. It includes an apprenticeship pilot program for truck drivers under the age of 21, with the intent of establishing new regulations allowing drivers 18-21 to haul interstate commerce. Currently, drivers under the age of 21 can only haul freight in the state in which they are registered.
It also calls for a task force to check leasing arrangements between carriers and owner-operators and directs the DOT to study automatic emergency braking on new commercial vehicles. A driver compensation study has also been directed and a comprehensive study is to be carried out on the causes of crashes involving commercial vehicles.
The bill is set to be put to a vote Thursday, September 30, in the House of Representatives, where Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is certain that it will pass.