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CSA, hours of service, tolls top House’s oversight plans

The U.S. House transportation committee’s oversight plan for the 113th Congress includes targeting hours of service, the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program and recently expanded ability of states to collect tolls on federal highways.

The committee unveiled its agenda Jan. 23, which encompassed assigning programs and issues for its subcommittees’ focus. Highway subcommittee duties include oversight of trucking regulations, highway construction, developing surface transportation policy and implementing safety and research programs.

The committee noted the most significant HOS final rule provisions will take effect in July. Truckers have said the rule is complex and could reduce productivity, while law enforcement has questioned if additional training is necessary, the committee stated.

The subcommittee requested a CSA audit following a hearing on the program last September. The Department of Transportation Inspector General is expected to complete that audit late this year.

The committee also wants subcommittee members to monitor states expanded capacity to collect tolls from the federal-aid highway system.  The current highway reauthorization legislation allows tolling for projects that add new lane capacity to the Interstate system. Tolling for initial construction of Interstate highways, bridges and tunnels also is now permitted under that legislation.

Members are to assess tolling provisions implementation, how states are using this expanded authority and if changes are warranted

The Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation subcommittee’s tasks include monitoring the Transportation Worker Identification Credential program. A 2002 law established TWIC to ensure transportation workers with access to secure areas of maritime facilities were not security risks. Later, Congress set a July 2007 deadline for deploying the credential to workers and installing TWIC readers in secure areas.

The TSA and Coast Guard did not begin deploying TWIC credentials until October 2007 and the agencies also missed the April 2009 deadline for installing the readers. The Coast Guard does not anticipate issuing final rules for installing readers this year.

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