U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Deb Fischer, R-Neb., chairman of the Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety, John Thune, R-S.D., and Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., today released the following statements after the committee approved S. 3729, the Motor Carrier Safety Grant Relief Act of 2020. The legislation would provide states flexibility in spending Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) grant funds in light of COVID-19 impacts.
“States should have the ability to reassign their roadside inspectors to critical COVID-19 response tasks,” said Wicker. “This bipartisan bill would give states flexibility while efforts are focused on combating the pandemic so that they do not needlessly lose critical highway safety funding during this uncertain time.”
“Many state commercial motor vehicle enforcement agencies have had to adjust their operations to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected their ability to apply for and utilize federal grants,” said Fischer. “Our legislation would ensure our commercial motor vehicle enforcement agencies around the country have more time and flexibility to use federal dollars already allocated to them as they work to keep Americans safe on the road.”
“Senators from both sides of the aisle agree – providing additional time and flexibility to states to use and redistribute motor carrier safety funding is common sense,” said Thune. “This law will ensure roadside inspectors can remain safe during this health crisis and focus their efforts on improving road conditions in a sensible manner when the time is right.”
“Providing law enforcement and other roadside inspectors with the flexibility they need to use federal inspection grants as intended during this pandemic is a commonsense action,” said Duckworth. “I’m proud to join with Chairman Wicker, Ranking Member Cantwell, Senator Thune and Subcommittee Chairman Fischer to advance this important safety initiative.”
The Motor Carrier Safety Grant Relief Act would:
- Give states an extra year to spend funds awarded for fiscal years 2019 and 2020 through the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program, Commercial Driver License Program Implementation; and High Priority grants; and
- Authorize FMCSA to keep and redistribute unallocated funds at the end of the grant period for FY 2019 and 2020.
Click here to read the bill.