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U.S. House Committee Holds Hearing on Sustainability within Transportation Sector

The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing on “The Next Mile: Technology Pathways to Accelerate Sustainability Within the Transportation Sector.” In his opening statement, Chairman Conor Lamb (D-PA) emphasizes that “transportation is vital to our everyday lives,” and the purpose of the hearing is to discuss how to “be smarter about our investments in technologies that can help reduce emissions in this sector.” Ranking Member Randy Weber’s (R-TX) opening statement further emphasizes the need for a conversation about sustainable transportation and H.R. 2170, the Vehicle Innovation Act of 2019, which would provide additional funding for Department of Energy vehicle research activity and research to reduce or eliminate vehicle emissions or petroleum usage.

Witnesses, in testimonies, highlighted the importance of transforming our forms of mobility into affordable, and energy efficient options, such as electric vehicles and optimizing alternative fuel options. Witnesses also discussed how the U.S. can better utilize our energy resources to benefit our national security, climate change, and increase the efficiency of American lives and that these start with upgrading our modes of transportation.

Witnesses:

  • Ann M. Schlenker, Director, Center for Transportation Research, Argonne National Laboratory
  • James Chen, Vice President of Public Policy, Rivian Automotive LLC
  • Brooke Coleman, Executive Director, Advanced Biofuels Business Council
  • Claus Daniel, Director, Sustainable Transportation Program, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Tim Cortes, Vice President of Hydrogen Energy Systems, Plug Power Inc.

To view the hearing in its entirety, click here.

U.S. House of Representatives Committee Holds Hearing on Transportation Network Companies

The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Highways and Transit held a hearing entitled, “The Future of Transportation Network Companies: Challenges and Opportunities.” Prior to hearing, Chairwoman of the Subcommittee Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) stated in a press release, “as state and local governments struggle to integrate new modes of transportation into their networks, Congress must take an active role ensuring safety and accountability for the needs of the traveling public.” In his opening statement, Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, noted the importance of how transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft, are impacting America’s roadways and “what this new business model means for public safety, jobs, emissions, transit services, and other factors, must be at the center of any policy decision to allow these companies to access our infrastructure.”

During the Member Panel, Representative Smith (R-NJ) and Representative Suozzi (D-NY) both detailed in their opening statements the importance of ensuring that passengers utilizing ride hailing companies are getting into the right vehicle to avoid circumstances of those such as Samantha “Sami” Josephson, who was kidnapped and murdered by a man pretending to be an uber driver. The bipartisan legislation, H.R. 3262, in honor of Samantha was introduced this past June by Representative Smith and cosponsored by Representative Suozzi, was taken up in the subcommittee hearing. The legislation would require enhanced vehicle identification procedures to improve the safety of ride hailing passengers.

Witnesses during Panel 1 all echoed similar sentiments during their opening statements expressing the need for ensuring the safety of passengers using transportation network companies (TNCs) and the need for increased investment in pilot programs, research, and federal grants. Paul Miller, Legislative Counsel to The Transportation Alliance, emphasized that Congress should be deliberate in policy decisions, but “where we do see Congress having an immediate role is with the federal contracts awarded to for-hire transportation companies. The General Services Administration (GSA) is in the process of putting together a Request for Proposal (RFP), which is looking to outsource some of the Federal governments transportation needs to TNCs.” Miller, along with Chairman DeFazio, expressed concerns regarding the currently lax background check process at Uber and Lyft, and that fingerprint-based background checks should be implemented, especially if they were to be receiving a federal transportation contract.

Witnesses:

Member Panel:

 

  • The Honorable Christopher H. Smith, A Representative in Congress, From the 4th District of New Jersey

 

  • The Honorable Thomas R. Suozzi, A Representative in Congress, From the 3rd District of New York

 

Panel 1:

 

  • The Honorable Karen Freeman-Wilson, Mayor, City of Gary, Indiana, President, National League of Cities

 

  • Jon W. Martz, Director, Government and Public Affairs, Commute with Enterprise

 

  • Paul Miller, Legislative Counsel, The Transportation Alliance

 

  • Larry Willis, President, Transportation Trade Department, AFL-CIO

 

To view the hearing in its entirety, click here.

NHTSA Opens Rulemaking on Camera Based Rear Visibility Systems

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is taking public comment on amending Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) No. 111, “Rear Visibility”. Currently, FMVSS No. 111, requires that vehicles have rearview mirrors. The notice of proposed rulemaking (NRPM) comes after requests from manufacturers to install “camera monitor system” (CMS) as an alternative to inside and outside rearview mirrors.

To read the NRPM and submit a comment, click here.

California Bill Advances to Governors Desk

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), Assembly Bill (AB) 375, was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in 2018. AB 375 goes into effect January 1, 2020 and allows consumers the right to know what data is being collected on them, if it is being sold and to whom, and the right to opt-out.

California AB 1146, is an amendment to the CCPA, that exempts vehicle information retained or shared for purposes of a warranty or recall-related vehicle repair. AB 1146 was introduced by Assemblyman Marc Berman (D-24) on February 21, 2019. The bill was amended by the State Senate Judiciary Committee to more clearly define vehicle recalls. AB 1146 was sent to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk for signature.

To read more about AB 1146, click here.

U.S. House Committee Holds Hearing on Sustainability within Transportation Sector

The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing on “The Next Mile: Technology Pathways to Accelerate Sustainability Within the Transportation Sector.” In his opening statement, Chairman Connor Lamb (D-PA) emphasizes that “transportation is vital to our everyday lives,” and the purpose of the hearing is to discuss how to “be smarter about our investments in technologies that can help reduce emissions in this sector.” Ranking Member Randy Weber’s (R-TX) opening statement further emphasizes the need for a conversation about sustainable transportation and H.R. 2170, the Vehicle Innovation Act of 2019, which would provide additional funding for Department of Energy vehicle research activity and research to reduce or eliminate vehicle emissions or petroleum usage.

Witnesses, in testimonies, highlighted the importance of transforming our forms of mobility into affordable, and energy efficient options, such as electric vehicles and optimizing alternative fuel options. Witnesses also discussed how the U.S. can better utilize our energy resources to benefit our national security, climate change, and increase the efficiency of American lives and that these start with upgrading our modes of transportation.

Witnesses:

  • Ann M. Schlenker, Director, Center for Transportation Research, Argonne National Laboratory
  • James Chen, Vice President of Public Policy, Rivian Automotive LLC
  • Brooke Coleman, Executive Director, Advanced Biofuels Business Council
  • Claus Daniel, Director, Sustainable Transportation Program, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Tim Cortes, Vice President of Hydrogen Energy Systems, Plug Power Inc.

To view the hearing in its entirety, click here.

US DOL Announces Update to Overtime Rule

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) “announced a final rule to make 1.3 million Americans eligible for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).” The final rule updates overtime regulations, and will go into effect January 1, 2020.

To view the updated final rule, click here.

To view the entire news release, click here.

 

NHTSA Submits NPRM On Sound Minimum Requirements for Hybrid and EV’s

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a Notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) asking the public for comments on amending the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) No. 141, Minimum Sound Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles, to allow manufacturers of hybrid and electric vehicles (HEVs) to install a number of driver-selectable pedestrian alert sounds in each HEV they manufacture.

To view and submit comments on the NPRM, click here.

U.S. EPA Seeks to Revoke California’s Authority on Setting Emissions Standards

Today, Elaine Chao, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and Andrew Wheeler, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), announced their effort to revoke California’s authority on enforcing stricter fuel economy standards. The EPA originally granted California a preemption waiver in 2013 under the Clean Air Act. This waiver related to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and zero emission vehicles (ZEV), however, California has taken the lead in setting the bar for national standards, preempting federal standards. The One National Program rule proposed today by Secretary Chao and Administrator Wheeler revokes that waiver, yet still allows California to enforce low emission vehicle standards and other air standards.

The Trump Administration was planning on a roll back of Obama-era fuel economy standards, and this issue finally came to a head when California recently engaged in a voluntary agreement with four automakers to adhere to the Obama-era standards. California has the largest auto market in the U.S.; therefore, automakers are more inclined to develop vehicles that adhere to California standards, regardless of whether they are stricter than the federal standard or not.

The One National Program rule “finalizes critical parts of the Safer, Affordable, Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule that was first proposed in August 2018.” The SAFE Vehicles Rule “proposed new and amended greenhouse gas emission (GHG) and Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for model year 2021 to 2026 light duty vehicles…includ[ing] a ‘preferred alternative’ to lock-in the model year (MY) 2020 GHG/CAFE standards for model years 2021 – 2026.”

To view the press conference in its entirety, click here.

To view the U.S. EPA final rule and fact sheet, click here.

 

New Hampshire Legislature Sustains Veto on House Bill 664

Yesterday, the New Hampshire legislature held a special veto session where legislators reconsidered House Bill (HB) 664. HB 664  addresses original equipment manufacturer (OEM) repair procedures for collision repairs. The Automotive Service Association (ASA) supported this legislation.

Governor Chris Sununu vetoed the HB 664 in August arguing that it would raise auto insurance premiums “by limiting the ability of insurers to negotiate what is reasonable in the repair process” and stagnate, what is, an already competitive market between small independent repair shops.

The New Hampshire legislature sustained Governor Sununu’s veto by a vote of 241 yeas and 132 nays, lacking the necessary two-thirds vote.

 

 

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