WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The mammoth highway bill that Congress will consider this week contains a long list of provisions that were the target of intense lobbying by interest groups for the transportation industry and public safety advocates.
The five-year measure, dubbed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act or FAST Act, would be the first long-term highway bill in a decade, and according to the Congressional Budget Office, would spend $280 billion on roads, bridges and mass-transit projects.
Following is a list of non-infrastructure provisions that would:
* increase to $105 million from $35 million the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s maximum penalty cap for automakers and other manufacturers that violate vehicle safety laws;
* extend the timeline for automakers to maintain safety records to 10 years from five years;
* require rental car companies and auto dealers with fleets of 35 vehicles or more to repair safety defects before providing the vehicles to consumers;
* require the U.S. Transportation Department to establish travel corridors along major national highways for electric, natural gas and propane vehicles and set goals for developing alternative-fueling stations and other infrastructure;
* create a pilot program allowing drivers as young as 18 to drive commercial trucks and buses across state lines but restrict the waiver, from a current age limit of 21, to veterans who received driver training during their military service;
* order the reform of a federal safety monitoring system for commercial trucks and buses and remove safety scores for trucking companies from public view;
* allow commercial motor carriers to test for controlled substances using a driver’s hair, as an alternative to urine, and direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop scientific and technical guidelines for hair testing;
* raise the passenger rail liability cap to $295 million from a current $200 million, apply the increase to the May 12 Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia and adjust the cap for inflation in each of the bill’s five years;
* require increased thermal blanket protection for tank cars carrying flammable liquids including crude oil;
* streamline environmental and historic reservation reviews to accelerate rail projects.
Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Andrew Hay