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Senator appears set to introduce amendment to suspend restart rule

The American Trucking Associations says Sen. Susan Collins's amendment she will introduce Thursday would suspend the restart rule pending a study. (The Trucker file photo)

By LYNDON FINNEY
The Trucker Staff

6/3/2014

WASHINGTON — Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, appears to be set to introduce an amendment to suspend the controversial restart provision of the Hours of Service rule that became effective last July.

The Capitol Hill office of the American Trucking Associations late Tuesday e-mailed ATA members asking them to support the amendment.

“Be advised, Sen. Susan Collins intends to offer a proposal before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday, June 5, providing an opportunity to impact the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s harmful new trucking Hours of Service “restart rule,” the notice read.  “The new rule has placed economic hardships on countless employers, and reduced drivers’ wages throughout the motor carrier industry.  As such, members of the Senate Appropriations Committee need to hear from you on this important issue ASAP!”

The notice called for its members to support the HOS Restart Study Amendment, which would “suspend the burdensome restart provisions” in the new driver Hours of Service rules while a one-year study of the rule is undertaken.

Ever since the rule went into effect July 1, the ATA has been tireless in its efforts to get the restart provision to the pre-July 1, 2013, standards.

Very quietly, the ATA asked for an audience with FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro to share information it had gathered about the impact of the new restart provision.

Ferro agreed and, along with several associates went to ATA headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, on May 8.

As a follow-up to that meeting, on May 15, ATA sent Ferro a letter recapping its presentation.

However, in a follow-up letter the ATA sent May 16 Ferro found out that the ATA had been lobbying the appropriations committees on Capitol Hill to cut off funding for the restart portion of the rule.

“Needless to say, your follow-up letter of May16 applied a hard brake to the momentum, at least to ATA's participation in a productive, fact-based, open discussion of the issues,” she wrote the ATA.

The Senate Appropriations Committee mark-up is scheduled for Thursday at 10 a.m.

Collins’ public affairs office could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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