As recently as last month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reiterated their commitment to getting Hours of Service reform passed on a “fast track” process. But now it looks as though that fast track has hit a pretty big bump: The partial government shutdown.
FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez seems committed to getting HOS changes pushed through. He’s even gone so far as to cancel other programs – including a split-sleeper study which was years in the making – because the FMCSA says that they will be unnecessary once HOS reform happens.
With over 800,000 government workers furloughed nationwide however, it’s not clear that the FMCSA is going to hit its March estimate for a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).
Because this is only a partial government shutdown, some government employees are still working. That includes most FMCSA workers. They’re still working because the DOT has other funding methods including money from the Highway Trust Fund.
According to Overdrive, an unnamed U.S. DOT official told them that even though FMCSA workers are still there, “everything’s stopped” in the federal rulemakings process. That’s because hundreds of employees at the DOT’s Office of the Secretary (OST) and the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have been furloughed.
Both OST and OMB workers are needed to review and approve new federal regulations. Even one the government is reopened, there will be a large backlog of rulemakings and filings to get through from other agencies.