Hoeven Secures ELD Provision for Livestock Haulers in FY19 Transportation Funding Legislation
Bill Also Supports the State’s Infrastructure, Williston Airport Relocation, UAS Center of Excellence
WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD), today secured a provision in the Fiscal Year 2019 THUD funding legislation that directs the Department of Transportation (DOT) to address concerns with electronic logging device (ELD) regulations for commercial motor carriers hauling livestock and insects. The language recognizes the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s recent guidance and directs the DOT to consider the unique challenges associated with transporting live animals and agricultural commodities, while ensuring roadway safety.
Hoeven secured a delay in implementation in Fiscal Year 2018, and also worked with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to provide waivers from the ELD rule for agriculture transportation. Additionally, the senator continues working to pass bipartisan legislation to address agriculture producers’ concerns and provide permanent relief and flexibility for livestock haulers under ELD and hours of service regulations.
“The current Hours of Service regulations do not work for livestock haulers in the real world. It puts unnecessary burdens on our ranchers and threatens the wellbeing of livestock. We secured language in the FY19 transportation funding bill that supports DOT’s recent guidance provide additional time for us to put in place a permanent solution that works for our agriculture industry,” said Hoeven.
“At the same time, the THUD funding bill supports important transportation infrastructure across North Dakota to help move forward vital projects. That includes improvements to roads, rail and airports, including the Williston airport project, as well as support for UAS research and development.”
Hoeven worked to include the following state priorities in the funding bill, which was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee and will now go to the full Senate for consideration:
- Directs the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to provide sufficient funding to relocate airports that are in critical need of expansion but are unable to expand due to physical limits. This provision, which Hoeven authored and also included in last year’s bill, prioritizes projects like the Williston airport relocation.
- Maintains funding for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), which is critical to projects at airports in North Dakota, including the Williston airport project.
- Includes Hoeven language directing the FAA to consider the full range of flight activities, such as pilot training, when considering AIP discretionary grants. Currently, AIP entitlement funding for primary airports is allocated based primarily on commercial enplanements, which does not capture the full range of airport activities, including pilot training. This provision, which Hoeven authored, will help prioritize airports such as Grand Forks International Airport, which, due to the flight training programs offered by the University of North Dakota’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, is the 24th busiest airport in the country.
- Provides full funding for air carriers serving small communities through the Essential Air Service (EAS) program, allowing flight service to airports in Devils Lake, Dickinson, and Jamestown.
UNMANNED AERIAL SYSTEMS
- Provides $14 million for the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Center of Excellence co-led by the University of North Dakota.
- Makes $3 million available as matching funds for companies that work with the UAS test sites to demonstrate or validate technologies essential to integrating UAS into the national airspace.
- Includes language requiring the FAA to develop plans for a full scale unmanned traffic management system in coordination with research conducted under the UAS Integrated Pilot Program (IPP). DOT recently selected the North Dakota Department of Transportation, with support from the Northern Plains UAS Test Site, as one of ten locations to participate in the IPP.
ROADS AND RAIL
- Fully funds the Highway Trust Fund at FAST Act levels. The bill continues to allow state departments of transportation to repurpose old, unused funding for more important infrastructure projects.
- Provides $1 billion in funding for BUILD grants to invest in road, rail, transit, and port projects.
- Provides funding to help for the Federal Railroad Administration implement Positive Train Control (PTC), as well as for Amtrak, including long distance services.
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