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News Digest

FMCSA Announces No-Defect Driver-Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) for Intermodal Equipment Final Rule - Rule eliminates $54 million in unnecessary cost to the commercial vehicle industry. As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to federal rulemaking that eliminates burdensome cost to the private sector without sacrificing safety standards, the U.S. DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced a final rule that saves the commercial motor vehicle industry $54 million by eliminating the requirement for driver-vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs) when the driver has neither found nor been made aware of any defects in the intermodal equipment. Intermodal equipment or chassis are the trailers used to transfer freight containers from a ship or rail car to trucks for final delivery. This final rule does not change a driver’s obligation to assess the condition of the intermodal equipment at the end of a workday to identify any defects that could impact operational safety. To learn more about the No-Defect Driver-Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) for Intermodal Equipment Final Rule, visit www.fmcsa.dot.gov.  Contact Candice T. Burns: (202) 366-9999.

Federal Highway Administration Seeks Candidates for Freight Delivery Pilot Project.  The Federal Highway Administration will award up to $450,000 in research grants to explore the benefits of delivering goods during “off hours” in small- and medium-sized urban areas with growing congestion problems.  Working with the Environmental Protection Agency, the pilot will look at how truck deliveries made outside of peak and rush hours – when there is less traffic on the highways – can save time and money for freight carriers, improve air quality and create more sustainable and livable cities.  The FHWA anticipates the funding will be used to help businesses retool their operations to accommodate shipments during off hours and distributors reconfigure routes and supply chains.  While transportation agencies are eligible to apply for the grants, FHWA encourages them to partner with businesses involved in freight movement.  The solicitation is posted at www.grants.gov. Contact Nancy Singer: (202) 366-0660.

Federal Railroad Administration Proposes to Add Seven New Categorical Exclusions to its Environmental Procedures.  The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today announced the proposed addition of seven new proposed Categorical Exclusions (CE) to its environmental procedures that will help expedite project delivery across the country. The proposed CEs, which were developed in coordination with the White House Council on Environmental Quality, are part of the Obama Administration’s on-going efforts to streamline government and allow job creators to break ground on shovel-ready projects months or even years faster without doing damage to the environment. CEs are actions that FRA has determined do not individually or cumulatively have significant effects on the human or natural environment so do not require the preparation of an environmental assessment (EA) or environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  FRA’s Environmental Procedures currently contain twenty CEs, in addition to the seven additional CEs being proposed. FRA is making the Categorical Exclusion Substantiation Document available for public review and comment on FRA’s website at http://www.fra.dot.gov/. Contact: Kevin Thompson (202) 493-6024. 

Friday, June 15, 2012