- Congress averted a government shutdown last week by passing two funding bills whose contents promise to benefit the supply chain greatly.
- In passing the continuing resolution that would fund the government until April, Congress approved clarified language regarding the future of the 34-hour restart rule, Overdrive reported last week.
- Following the continuing resolution vote, Congress also passed the Water Infrastructure Improvement for the Nation Act (WIIN), formerly known as the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).
The two bills promise to help fix the waterway funding gap and correct a mistake made by Congress last year that threatened to nullify the 34-hour restart rule.
The WIIN Act provided 30 Army Corps of Engineer projects approval, increased the allowable harbor dredging depth from 45 to 50 feet, and increased exclusivity to ports on money raised by the Harbor Maintenance Tax.
"AAPA is not only pleased that all of our key navigation priorities were included in this bill, but by passing it during the 114th Congress, it enables the much-needed return to biennial legislation in order to authorize 21st century navigation channel improvements in a timely manner," the American Association of Port Authorities said in a press release.
Meanwhile, the new language on the 34-hour restart rule avoids a potential nullification of a regulation that is widely seen as beneficial by truckers and highway safety advocates alike. The 34-hour restart rule has allowed truckers to reset their hours-of-service clock by taking a 34-hour break, with limitations, allowing them to deliver goods more quickly at times.
There were two versions of the regulation, however, so in order to decide between the two Congress last year passed language that would allow the results of a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to automatically make the decision. However, rather than "either or" language, the text of last year's rule would have nullified the regulation altogether if the FMCSA preferred the original version, Overdrive reports.
Congress has now fixed what was widely seen as a transportation mistake. Meanwhile, the FMCSA report is in its final stages, although the agency did not announce a release timeline.