The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) this week approved bills co-led by Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24) aimed at strengthening U.S. supply chains, alleviating congestion, and improving efficiency in U.S. transportation corridors.
The committee advanced H.R. 3318, legislation introduced by Carbajal and Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR) to allow a variance of up to 10% weight between axles of a commercial vehicle when transporting dry goods like flour or grain.
This allows for potential shifts of the dry bulk goods within the vehicle without violating weight-per-axle regulations.
“Strengthening our supply chains requires a range of solutions – but few are as commonsense as making sure we’re allowing for the realities of basic physics,” said Rep. Carbajal. “Providing this variance standard will ensure that while trucks are still meeting safe weight limits, they are also given the flexibility to transport critical goods across our nation. This bipartisan fix will not only provide important relief to our carriers, but also reduce congestion and boost productivity in America’s agriculture, manufacturing, and other industries.”
Committee lawmakers also approved the Intelligent Transportation Integration Act, introduced in March by Carbajal and Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA).
The bill will help bring traffic management and planning into the 21st century by creating a federal program that will allow the use of anonymized, aggregated, secure data to inform both planning decisions and real-time traffic flow management decisions on the federal highway system.
“Efficient and safe transportation corridors are not only critical to local commerce and our national economy, but they are also one of the most bedrock parts of a working family’s quality of life. The time that it takes to get to work or school, the grocery store, the next town or county over – these are major factors that drive daily decisions on the Central Coast of California,” Carbajal said. “Proud to see my colleagues on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee join Rep. Graves and I to demonstrate that there is bipartisan interest in combating traffic, making our roadways more efficient, and leveraging data we already have to raise our constituent’s quality of life behind the wheel.”
Carbajal and Graves’ legislation highlights numerous potential uses for this data, including: increased safety, congestion reduction, improved freight efficiency, swifter emergency response, and others
Both measures are now advanced to the House Floor and are available for potential consideration by the full U.S. House of Representatives.
Carbajal, who serves as the top Democrat on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, also joined a bipartisan majority of the panel to advance bipartisan legislation that will strengthen security in maritime supply chains, streamline maritime freight logistics, and address the shortage of truck parking nationwide.
Those bills included:
- The Ocean Shipping Reform Implementation Act of 2023, which promotes data standard streamlining in maritime freight and empowers investigations into improper business practices in foreign shipping exchanges
- The U.S. Supply Chain Security Review Act of 2023, which requires maritime authorities to evaluate the potential impacts of foreign ownership of marine terminals on U.S. economic security and provide recommendations to mitigate those impacts.
- The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, to provide funding to encourage the construction of new parking spaces for commercial vehicles. According to the Federal Highway Administration, 98% of truck drivers say they regularly experience difficulty finding safe parking, and are forced to park on an exit ramp, on the side of an interstate, or other unsafe areas.
These bills build on supply chain relief legislation signed last year like the CHIPS and Science Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, which was signed into law last June after being championed in Congress by Carbajal in his role as Chairman of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee.