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Your July 15 Pre-Trip: Feds scramble to find highway funding fix

Here are five things worth knowing today:

1. The U.S. Travel Association is criticizing House Republicans for their plans to use TSA fees to pay for an extension of federal highway spending, which expires July 31, The Hill reports. On Monday, House Republicans released an $8 billion highway patch that includes $3 billion in savings from redirecting TSA fees to the Highway Trust Fund. According to the report, Travel Association President Roger Dow said the travel industry opposes the idea of using airport security fees to pay for roads. According to The Hill, Dow said: “The travel community has always stood by a very basic precept: user fees must benefit the users who pay them. To say it’s OK to use TSA fees for surface projects because it’s all transportation is just too much of a stretch.”

2. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) moved to proceed with a House-passed bill that would be used as “a shell” for highway legislation, according to The Hill. The motion would allow business to exclude some veterans from ObamaCare’s employer mandate, The Hill said. According to the report, Senators have worked on a six-year, $275 billion transportation funding measure, but it is still unclear as to how it would be paid for. The current Highway Trust Fund expires on July 31, and the Obama Administration has already warned state transportation departments to stop sending payments for construction projects at the end of the month if lawmakers don’t pass legislation.

3. The Dayton Daily News reports that a lack of rest areas contributes to truck driver fatigue. Under federal regulations, drivers can drive 11 hours a day and work no more than 14 hours a day before a mandatory 10 hours of down time. However, according to the report, “the number of parking spots has not kept up with the increased number of trucks on the road.” The Dayton Daily News has more from truck drivers coping with the problem.

4. The former Copp Trucking Company owner in Kansas City, KS, has been indicted on a federal tax evasion charge, according to Kansas City Infozine. According to the report, “The indictment alleges that while Copp Trucking was in business the defendant was responsible for paying quarterly employment taxes for the company. In 2001, he filed reports to the IRS indicating the company owed approximately $939,408 in employment taxes for the year. However, the company did not pay the employment taxes due,” Infozine said. If convicted, he faces five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the report.

5. A new California study shows a 39% increase in the percentage of drivers seen using a cellphone while driving, according to California Highway Patrol. During the study, researchers observed 9.2% of motorists were spotted using a cell phone while driving – up from 6.6% in 2014, according to the report. The California Highway Patrol has more.

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