The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's hours of service proposal is taking longer than expected.

The agency had originally thought that the White House Office of Management and Budget would clear the proposal by the end of October.

Then the Department of Transportation asked for an additional 30 days to help OMB with the review, which pushed the release date back to the end of November.

That led industry officials close to the issue to expect the proposal early in December, but last week FMCSA chief Anne Ferro said she hopes OMB will complete work on the proposal "certainly by the end of the year - that's our goal."

Trucking interests are anxious about the proposal on two counts. First, they are alarmed by the possibility that the proposal might significantly change drivers' work schedules, and second they are worried about FMCSA's ability to process the voluminous comments it will no doubt receive and come up with a final rule by the court-ordered deadline of July 26, 2011.

As of the morning of December 7, the proposal was still at OMB.