Fiscal Year 2004 Appropriations Bill Finally Clears the Senate

 

Fiscal Year 2004 Appropriations Bill Finally Clears the Senate

 

I. Utility Vehicle Service Driver Exemption
As a follow-up to our January 23 News Update, we want to point out that the appropriations bill exemption specifies only that federal MCSAP dollars are not to be used through the end of the 2004 fiscal year to enforce the new hours of service rules with respect to utility vehicle service drivers. It does not actually change the regulation.

II. MCSAP and State Safety Grant Provisions
The following are the funding levels for the MCSAP program and other new state safety grant programs as well. Parts of the MCSAP program funding and the state grant programs reflect some of what we have been seeking in our reauthorization proposals even though that legislation has not yet passed the Congress.

MCSAP:

Basic state grants
$130,000,000
same as 2003
Incentive grants
11,105,000
a reduction from $16 million in 2003
High priority grants
8,593,000
same as 2003
New entrants
17,000,000
new
State training & administration
2,063,000
same as 2003
Crash causation study completion
1,000,000
a reduction of $4 million from 2003
Total
$170,000,000
same as 2003

 

*Note that a new line item for new entrant programs has been added. Also, under a separate provision in the bill, an additional $8 million has been allocated for state new entrant programs bringing the total for state new entrant programs to $25 million. The bill requires FMCSA to submit a new entrant program implementation plan to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees within 90 days of passage of this bill. CVSA will be discussing this matter with FMCSA and we will keep you informed..

III. Other State Safety Grant Programs:
Border Grants:

According to NAFTA provisions in the 2001 Appropriations bill, this year’s Appropriations continues funding for current Southern border activities: $32 million for border state operations grants, and $47 million for inspections facilities.

In addition, this 2004 appropriations bill provides an additional $23 million for southern border state grants, and $9 million for northern border state grants. These new grant programs reflect what is in the Reauthorization legislation now under consideration in the Congress.

CDL Grants:
A new CDL state grant program is funded at $21 million, again reflecting a proposal CVSA has been seeking under Reauthorization. The bill also encourages FMCSA to continue working with AAMVA, CVSA, and lead MCSAP and licensing agencies to improve all aspects of the CDL program. In this connection, the bill language says that FMCSA should consider sponsoring another pilot project involving law enforcement and driver licensing agencies to explore new and innovative ways to ensure that drivers who have been convicted of a disqualifying offense do not operate during the period of suspension or revocation. We will be discussing this matter with FMCSA.

If you would like to have copies of the Committee Report language, please contact Dick Henderson at 202-775-1623 ext. 107 or RichardH@cvsa.org/.