For the Record
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced the Focusing Resources, Economic Investment, and Guidance to Help Transportation Act July 22. The FREIGHT Act, or S. 3629, would direct the U.S. Department of Transportation develop and implement a National Freight Transportation Strategic Plan and create an Office of Freight Planning and Development.
Projects that can receive grants are for port development or improvement, multi-modal terminal facilities, land port of entries, freight rail improvement or capacity expansion and an intelligent transportation system project primarily for freight benefit that reduces congestion, improves safety or plans that improve port or terminal access.
Rail has received increased attention nationally as a method to reduce diesel pollution and road traffic. Some ports have added or are implementing short-haul freight services to decrease truck trips.
The groups backing the legislation include the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors, Environmental Defense Fund, Transportation for America and the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association. Trucking organizations have not publicly issued a statement on the proposed legislation.
The act’s goals include reducing freight transportation-related fatalities 10 percent by 2015 and cutting national freight transportation-related carbon dioxide by 40 percent by 2030.
The strategic plan is to guide and inform of goods movement infrastructure investments. The act also establishes an Office of Freight Planning and Development, headed by an Assistant Secretary for Freight Planning and Development. The legislation would require the transportation department to report the plan’s progress.
Further, it would add the National Freight Infrastructure Grants initiative, for competitive, merit-based grants with broad eligibility for multimodal freight investment. It would strive to maximize fund benefits.
Democrat Washington Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell are bill co-sponsors.
FMCSA Official Outlines Medical CDL Requirements
Though health-related conditions can take you off the road and put your CDL in jeopardy, steps and treatments can be taken to ensure medical certification, said Dr. Maggi Gunnels, director of the Office of Medical Programs for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Gunnels presented a Truckers News’ Fit for the Road webinar, “Health Regulations and Your CDL,” July 22, in which she said the required biannual exam for certification covers a driver’s health history, vision, hearing, blood pressure and vital signs. A urine test is also required, she said.
High blood pressure is one of the more common conditions that can prevent drivers from passing the medical certification, she said. However, only drivers diagnosed with Stage 3 hypertension are disqualified from driving.
Stage 1 and 2 diagnoses are required to have annual and quarterly certifications, respectively. Stage 3 hypertension is classified as any blood pressure measured at 180/110mmHG or higher.