Your July 16 Pre-Trip: House passes five-month highway extension

Here are five things worth knowing today: 1. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a five-month transportation funding extension, Reuters reports. The House bill would authorize federal spending on highway and transit projects through Dec. 18 and would put $8.1 billion into the Highway Trust Fund. That $8.1 billion would be paid partly by extending higher TSA airport security fees for two years.2. After the House passed a five-month federal highway extension plan, GOP Sen. James Inhofe said he believes the Senate would be able to quickly pass a long-term highway bill after it wraps up work on No Child Left Behind, The Hill reports. The Senate has been working on a $275 billion transportation funding measure, but it’s unclear how it would be paid for. The Hill has more. 3. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) strongly opposes a Senate Appropriations Committee proposal to expand trailers to 33 feet from 28 feet, according to the Times Union. Referring to the 33-foot double tandems as “the length of an eight-story building laid flat and put on wheels,” Schumer called the double trucks too dangerous, Times Union reports. Proponents of the proposal and those in the trucking industry have maintained that the larger trailers will help the industry keep freight moving, particularly as trucking companies struggle to find qualified drivers.4. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is saying federal oversight of states’ commercial driver’s licensing programs could be improved. GAO conducted a study after commercial motor-vehicle industry stakeholders raised concerns that prospective drivers may face delays taking the skills test to obtain a CDL. GAO found that “some elements of FMCSA’s oversight policy are unclear” and “FMCSA’s data system for tracking oversight activities does not readily provide management with accurate and complete information on oversight rules because it is difficult for users to input or review some information,” GAO said. “As a result, FMCSA management does not have complete and accurate information on what oversight reviews are completed and whether they are conducted per agency policy,” GAO added. GAO said that without a clear policy on oversight of CDL programs, FMCSA cannot provide assurance that state CDL programs comply with federal regulations – a main objective of FMCSA. 5. Trucking, warehousing and distribution company A. Duie Pyle seeks to hire 30 to 50 truck drivers, the Citizens Voice reports. The company, which employs about 2,500 – 1,000 of which are truck drivers, provides transportation and distribution services throughout the Northeast, the report said. Though the company says it has room for growth, the driver shortage has been making it difficult. Citizens Voice has more.

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