House passes highway $ bill with regulatory changes

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The U.S. House of Representatives passed by a 363-64 vote Thursday, Nov. 4, a multi-year highway bill that would strip the DOT’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program of its publicly available carrier rankings and require regulators to rework the program.

House bill strips CSA ratings from public view.

The bill also would allow carriers to satisfy driver drug testing rules by testing hair samples instead of urine and set up a program that gives states the ability to enter into compacts to let under-21 CDL holders cross state lines.

The legislation also establishes so-called “interim hiring standards” for those hiring carriers (such as brokers), a measure critics say could damage owner-operators’ and other small carriers’ ability to secure customers. The provision could be changed later in the legislative process, however.

Otherwise, the House’s bill is similar in many ways to the Senate’s July-passed DRIVE Act and would institute similar trucking regulatory reforms. The bills are not the same, however, with key differences coming in the form of funding mechanisms and total scope and breadth. So the two chambers will have to meet via joint committee to reconcile the differences and bring new legislation up for a vote later for a long-term bill to reach the White House and then become law.