ATA President and CEO Walter McCormick said he has asked DOT Secretary Rodney Slater to make hours of service reform the top priority of a new National Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
It is possible, but by no means certain, that Congress will pass legislation creating a motor carrier administration this year. The House has cleared a bill, but the Senate still is working on its version. In any event, it would take months to implement the new law once it is signed by the president.
The delay would add even more time to a rulemaking process that already is many months overdue. A spokesman for the Federal Highway Administration yesterday said he believes the rule is close to being sent from DOT to the Office of Management and Budget, which must review it before it is published in the Federal Register.
Until now, ATA has been pressing DOT to hasten the reforms. McCormick did not explain why he is seeking the delay, although ATA recently lost a bid to have DOT highlight the research it is using as the basis for the rule. Slater declined ATA's request, saying all of the research already is available in the HOS docket and on the Internet.