Regulatory Updates – April 19, 2013

Update on Relevant Regulations

PHMSA Adjusts Hazmat Annual Registration Fee

On April 19, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a Final Rule temporarily adjusting the amount of the annual registration fee, to account for an unspent balance in the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness Fund. PHMSA is lowering the fee for the 2013-2014 registration year. According to the notice, the fee for a small business or not-for-profit organization is revised to be $125 (plus a $25 processing fee), and for all other businesses the fee is $1300 (plus a $25 processing fee). After the 2013–2014 registration year, the registration fees will return to 2012–2013 registration year levels. The Final Rule is effective April 19, 2013.

FMCSA Issues Request for Comment on CMV Marking Requirements

Earlier this month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a Notice and Request for Comments announcing its intent to gather information from industry regarding the burden associated with the marking regulations codified in 49 CFR 390.21, ‘‘Marking of Self-Propelled CMVs and Intermodal Equipment.’’ These regulations require marking of vehicles and intermodal equipment by motor carriers, freight forwarders and intermodal equipment providers engaging in interstate transportation. Comments are due June 10, 2013.

Electronic Logging Device Proposal Expected in September

According to reports, FMCSA Administrator Ferro told attendees at the Mid-America Trucking Show last month that the agency would miss the October 1 deadline, included in MAP-21, for an electronic logging device (aka EOBR) mandate. MAP-21 included additional requirements and considerations for the agency to include in its development of the regulations, which delayed the rulemaking process. The agency is on schedule, however, to release a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in September of this year, with a Final Rule due out some time next year.

Other Items of Interest

PHMSA Issues Update on HM-ACCESS Program

Earlier this week, PHMSA released an update on the HM-ACCESS program. In the document, the agency summarized efforts to date and outlined the parameters for the next phase of the project, a series of pilot tests. According to PHMSA, the goal of the pilot tests is to demonstrate the potential for electronic hazmat communication systems to provide an equivalent or better level of safety as compared to the current hazmat shipping paper requirement. The agency plans to conduct pilot tests in three or four regions of the U.S., with at least one pilot test conducted in a rural area. The agency plans to complete the pilot tests and report back to Congress by October of 2014.

Administration Release Proposed FY2014 Budget

Earlier this month, the President released his proposed budget for the 2014 fiscal year. As in past years, the proposal includes an aggressive increase in funding levels for transportation, focused primarily in infrastructure investment. The Administration proposes to fund these investments, primarily, with the savings created due to reduced spending in the Iraq & Afghanistan war. The proposal includes modest increases to both FMCSA’s budget and MCSAP grant funds. It also includes a proposal to create a new Hazardous Materials Approvals and Permits fund, to be funded through a new fee structure. However, most of the content in the FY2014 budget proposal is not new and has been included, in some form or fashion, in the Administration’s previous budget proposals. Like those previous proposals, the FY2014 budget has little support on Capitol Hill and it is very unlikely that the increases will be incorporated into Congress’s 2014 Appropriations bills.