House funding bill would extend ELD exemption for livestock, insect haulers
Washington — The House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill for fiscal year 2019 includes language that would grant another electronic logging device exemption for livestock and insect haulers.
The same language was included in the FY 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act passed in March. That same month, the Department of Transportation also granted its second 90-day waiver to the ELD mandate for transporters of “agricultural commodities as defined in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.”
Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said in an April 12 appropriations hearing that the underlying issue with ELDs is hours of service and that she has “encouraged legislation” to clarify HOS requirements.
The House appropriations bill, released May 15, also contains a rider preventing states from regulating HOS for commercial motor vehicle drivers who are under federal HOS regulations.
The bill allocates $666 million to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a reduction from $844.8 million in the FY 2018 omnibus bill. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is in line for $982 million, an increase of $67 million from FY 2018, and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is slated for $275 million, a $3 million bump.
The legislation also directs $262.3 million to railroad safety and research programs, the same funding as in FY 2018 but $40.4 million more than the DOT’s budget request.
“This will fund inspectors and training, plus maintenance and safety investments to the physical rail infrastructure, to help ensure the safety of passengers and local communities,” an appropriations committee press release states.
Overall, DOT would receive $27.8 billion, $542 million more than in FY 2018, and $11.7 billion more than President Donald Trump’s budget request.
The Senate will have its chance to weigh in with its appropriations bill, expected to be released the week of June 4.