| April 11, 2005

Bush Proposes $59.5 Billion Transportation Budget
The Bush administration has proposed a $59.5 billion budget for the U.S. Department of Transportation for fiscal year 2006.

Most of that money, $35.4 billion, would go to the Federal Highway Administration to be distributed to the states for road-building projects.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration would get $465 million. Almost half of that figure, $222 million, would go to the states to fund law enforcement and CDL oversight.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would get $696 million.

The office of U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, which has 635 employees, would get $259 million, less than its 2005 budget. Of that proposed sum, $100 million would build a new headquarters.

Trucking-specific outlays are dwarfed by the proposed budget of the Federal Aviation Administration ($13.7 billion) or the $9 billion proposed to repave much of the National Highway System. Even the Federal Railroad Administration, drastically cut from 2005 levels, would get $552 million, more than the FMCSA.

Mineta introduced the budget by saying, “The transportation sector is the workhorse that drives the American economy, providing mobility and accessibility for passengers and freight, supplying millions of jobs, and creating growth-generating revenue.”
-Andy Duncan

Five-minute Idling Now in Effect in California
California’s new five-minute limit on truck idling allows longer use during driver rest periods, but not when trucks are within 100 feet of homes and schools.

The California Air Resources Board’s rule became effective Feb. 1. It applies to all diesel trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds, regardless of what state the truck is registered in, according to the board’s website.

The board’s own truck inspectors will do the most enforcement, but local and state police can also issue citations. Drivers are subject to a minimum $100 civil penalty and potential criminal penalties.

By September, CARB staffers will present the board with a more comprehensive proposal addressing truck idling during rest periods.

For now, truckers during rest periods can idle engines or use diesel-powered auxiliary power systems for more than five minutes only if more than 100 feet from a restricted area, which is a school or any type of dwelling, including apartments.

The idling rule also provides exceptions:

  • When truckers must stay in traffic (in a queue at a toll booth, for example) or in motion (during a snowstorm, for example).

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