Nov 19, 2021

New Infrastructure Bill Provides $2.5B for Inland Waterways Projects

Bill also funds safety and research and enables younger truck drivers

source: USDA Grain Transportation Report

Signed into law by President Biden on November 15, the new Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act would invest roughly $17 billion in port and waterways infrastructure.

About two-thirds of this funding is expected to be used toward construction and major habitat restoration projects, and the rest toward operations/maintenance and other projects.

This law includes a total of $2.5 billion of 100% federal funding for authorized U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) construction and major rehabilitation projects on inland waterways.

Projects will receive priority based on the recommendations included in the USACE 2020 Capital Investment Strategy. USACE’s Operations and Maintenance account under the Civil Works mission is expected to receive $4 billion.

Within 60 days of the bill’s enactment, USACE’s Chief of Engineers must submit a project-specific spending plan to House and Senate appropriations committees.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act also includes $11 billion for transportation safety (more than double the previous level) and contains various provisions affecting trucking.

One such provision makes 18 to 21-year-olds newly eligible for interstate truck driving and creates a training and apprenticeship program for this age group.

Other trucking-related provisions include automatic emergency braking performance requirements, underride/side protection, truck broker/truck dispatcher guidance, and an exemption for livestock haulers from hours-of-service requirements.

Regarding research, the newly enacted funding legislation authorizes a truck-crash study and a review of data generated by electronic logging devices.

The law also establishes several new government bodies (task force, advisory board, and subcommittee) dedicated to addressing issues of truck leasing, women in trucking, and the needs of small-business truckers.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is tasked with restoring and maintaining the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund and establishing a vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) pilot program.

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Marketwatch: Nov, 28

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