Your Oct. 26 Pre-Trip: House unveils patch to prevent highway-funding shutdown

Here are five things worth knowing today:

1. House Republican leaders unveiled a measure on Friday to extend transportation funding for the next three weeks to prevent a highway-funding shutdown, The Hill reports. Funding, which is currently set to expire on Oct. 29, would be extended through Nov.  20 under the proposal. House Republicans said this patch would give them time to finish work on a six year-highway funding bill that the chamber just approved on Thursday. According to the report, the patch could come up for a vote on the House floor as early as Tuesday, giving the Senate two days to consider it before expiration of the current bill. The Hill has more.

2. American Trucking Assns. president and CEO Bill Graves praised the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for passing a long-term highway bill last week and urged House leaders to take the next step quickly. Graves called last week’s move a positive step for trucking and for the country. “While we’re anxious to see the funding portion of the bill, the roadmap laid out by this legislation is a good one for highway safety and efficiency,” he said. “We’re pleased the committee’s bill clamps down on the expansion of tolling and establishes a dedicated freight fund – two positive steps not just for trucking, but for consumers, shippers and the economy. In addition, the safety reforms – from making necessary changes to the CSA safety monitoring system to allowing hair testing as part of the DOT testing program, and limited interstate access to younger commercial drivers – included in this bill are also important steps forward for our industry. Now, we urge leaders in the House to take the next step and bring this long-term bill, with a funding component, to the floor as soon as possible.”

3. The Rhode Island Department of Transportation has confirmed that 80% of a $500 million bond to fix the state’s infrastructure will be funded by truck tolls, according to Go Local Prov. That money is slated to go towards fixing only a fraction of the state’s roads, mainly on Routes 6 and 10, the report said. A spokesperson from the Rhode Island Trucking Association, which has been opposed to the truck tolling plan since it was proposed, said of the 22,054 trucks that the plan estimates travel on the major federal roads, only 12% travel over Routes 6 and 10 roads and bridges. “The remaining 87.2% of trucks will be providing funds to pay for a project on 6/10 that will use up to 80% of the tolling revenue,” Bill Fischer of RITA told Go Local Prov.

4. In Today’s Top Supply Chain and Logistics News, The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. could be entering an industrial recession. According to the report, quarterly profits and revenue at big companies, including railroad and truck operators, are expected to decline for the first time in six years. WSJ says this “raises the likelihood that the industrial contraction may spread to the broader economy.”

5. According to the 2014 Texas Workforce Commission, truck drivers rank number five on the most-needed workers list in the state, KHOU reports. Due to the shortage in the industry and the state, some trucking companies are offering hiring bonuses and recruiting enticements to attract new drivers. Nation Waste in Houston has about two dozen truck drivers, but it needs more, and Houston-based Waste Management just held a 10-city job fair last week looking to recruit 900 drivers and mechanics, according to the report. KHOU has more.

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