Infrastructure Alert - March 2014

by Cozen O'Connor

On March 20, a proposed shipping alliance of three major shippers was approved by the Federal Maritime Commission. The P3 Network Vessel Sharing Agreement, consisting of Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Company and CMA CGM, authorizes these three ocean carriers, the largest containership operators in the world, to share space on vessels deployed in the three major east-west trades. European and Chinese regulators must approve the agreement before it can go into effect.

The Department of Transportation has updated its Highway Trust Fund ticker to reflect that the trust fund could dip below a $4 billion balance, a threshold under which the Department of Transportation will have to slow disbursements, in late July. The current authorization for surface transportation programs expires at the end of September.


On March 14, the Senate passed H.R. 4076, the Home Heating Emergency Assistance Through Transportation (HHEATT) Act of 2014. The bill, introduced by House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster on February 25, grants the Secretary of Transportation the authority to extend short-term emergency declarations from theFMCSA to allow tank truck operators delivering propane and other home heating fuels to drive for longer hours in order to speed up deliveries. President Obama signed the bill into law on March 21. The bill expires after May 31, 2014, unless the Secretary of Transportation makes a determination that a winter emergency persists past this date.

Hearings in the House and Senate highlighted some Members’ frustration with the surface transportation reauthorization funding mechanism supported by the Administration, to use revenues from corporate tax reforms to supplement Highway Trust Fund revenues to bridge the projected shortfall.

On March 13, several Senators expressed skepticism of the President’s budget plan to use corporate tax reform to prop up diminishing Highway Trust Fund revenues. During the Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee hearing on the FY2015 budget request for the Department of Transportation, Subcommittee Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-Maine) remarked that the proposal was controversial and stated her disapproval, adding that she did not think it was realistic to believe Congress will be able to reform the tax code this year.

On March 12, during the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on MAP-21 implementation and the FY2015 surface transportation budget request, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) asked Department of Transportation Acting Under Secretary for Policy Peter Rogoff if the Administration had a backup plan other than the corporate tax reform. Rep. DeFazio rebuffed Rogoff’s answers, adding that he considers the notion that such tax reform could happen this Congress to be “illusory” and “fake.” Rogoff testified that the Department of Transportation could be unable to meet all of its obligations out of the Highway Trust Fund prior to August.

On March 11, Sens. John Boozman (R-Ark.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) introduced S. 2103, the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act of 2014. If enacted, the bill would require the FAA to reform its general aviation medical standards. A companion bill, H.R. 3708, was introduced in December 2013 by Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) and has 74 co-sponsors.

Tomorrow, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development will hold a hearing on Appropriations for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Jo Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, and Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, Chief of Engineers, will testify.

Also tomorrow, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation will hold a hearing on the proposed FY2015 budget request for the U.S. Coast Guard and related marine transportation programs. Witness testimony will be provided by Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr., Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard; Master Chief Michael P. Leavitt, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, U.S. Coast Guard; Paul “Chip” Jaenichen, Sr., Acting Administrator, Maritime Administration; and Mario Cordero, Chairman, Federal Maritime Commission. Written testimony and a webcast of the hearing will be available here.

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will hold a hearing titled “Strengthening Public-Private Partnerships to Reduce Cyber Risks to Our Nation’s Critical Infrastructure” tomorrow. Witness testimony will be provided by Phyllis A. Schneck, Ph.D, Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity, National Protection and Programs Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Donna Dodson, Chief Cybersecurity Advisor, National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce; Stephen L. Caldwell, Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues, U.S. Government Accountability Office; Elayne Starkey, Chief Security Officer, Delaware Department of Technology and Information; David M. Velazquez, Executive Vice President for Power Delivery, Pepco Holdings, Inc.; Doug Johnson, Vice Chairman, Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council; and Steven R. Chabinsky, Chief Risk Officer, CrowdStrike, Inc. (testifying in his personal capacity). Written testimony and a webcast of the hearing will be available here.

On Thursday, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing titled “MAP-21 Reauthorization: State and Local Perspectives on Transportation Priorities and Funding.” Witness testimony will be provided by Michael Lewis, Secretary, Rhode Island Department of Transportation; Sue Minter, Deputy Secretary, Vermont Agency of Transportation; Greg Ballard, Mayor, City of Indianapolis; Mick Cornett, Mayor, Oklahoma City; BillFontenot, President, St. Landry's Parish, Louisiana; Jim Willox, Chairman, Converse County Commission, Wyoming; and Dave Gula, Principal Planner, Wilmington Area Planning Council, Delaware. Written testimony and a webcast of the hearing will be available here.


Yesterday, the U.S. Maritime Administration announced that its second symposium to help develop a National Maritime Strategy will be held on May 6, 2014. The deadline to submit domestic maritime proposals and agenda topics for inclusion is April 25. The agenda for the symposium, which will be held as part of a meeting of the Marine Transportation System National Advisory Council, will be released on April 28.

On March 19, the FAA published its final report on the safety of the Dreamliner. The Boeing 787-8 Design, Certification, and Manufacturing Systems Review concludes that the Dreamliner “meets its intended level of safety,” and that while “design issues have occurred,” the Boeing 787-8 Critical Systems Review Team “found their cause tended to represent individual escapes in the design or manufacture of the airplane.”

The National Transportation Safety Board released a highway accident brief on the July 19, 2013 Chesapeake Bay Bridge accident.

This month, the Federal Transit Administration has announced $30 million in competitive funds to 42 Native American tribes in 19 states for projects to improve transit service. Tribes and projects receiving funding can be found here.

On March 18, Amtrak released its FY2015 budget request. The request describes Amtrak’s reorganization into three rail-related business lines: Northeast Corridor (NEC) Operations, State-Supported Services and Long Distance Services. Amtrak requests no federal operating support for the NEC for FY2015, but requests $445 million in federal capital investment. Amtrak also requests $83 million of federal operating support for state-supported services, and the totality of the $618 million of FY2015 operating costs needed for long distance services. Amtrak requested $295 million in capital investment for long distance services, including $50 million for ADA compliance at stations, $130 million for the purchase of new rolling stock to replace Heritage cars, and $115 million for overhauls to its fleet. Amtrak’s total FY2015 budget request is $1.62 billion, up from $1.39 billion last fiscal year.

On March 13, the FMCSA announced a proposed rulemaking to require interstate commercial truck and bus companies to use electronic logging devices to ensure compliance with rules that limit how many hours drivers can work.

On March 13, the FAA released its annual Aerospace Forecasts. Among many of the forecasts made, the FAA predicts that ridership on U.S. airlines will grow steadily to over 1 billion prior to 2034. Last year, U.S. airlines carried over 740 million passengers, an increase of nearly 1 percent from the year prior.

At the end of April, Deborah Hersman, Chairwoman of the NTSB, will step down to become the President and CEO of the National Safety Council. Hersman has chaired the NTSB since 2009 and joined in 2004.


California: Yesterday, the Assembly Transportation Committee rejected a bill to prohibit using federal grant money on the California High-Speed Rail project until the state has secured matching funds. The committee voted down the bill, A.B. 1501, on a vote of 8-4. While the state is required to match the $3 billion in grant money that the Federal Railroad Administration has approved for the project, the FRA has allowed California to spend federal money until it can come up with its matching funds. Raising matching funds from the sale of bonds, authorized by referendum, is currently entangled in legal challenges. On March 14, the California High-Speed Rail Authority was granted permission tobegin eminent domain proceedings against eight properties in Fresno.

Michigan: On March 18, 40 organizations, including construction and labor groups, wrote a letter to President Obama to requesting that the Administration provide Customs and Border Patrol funding for the U.S. Federal Plaza associated with the New International Trade Crossing bridge from Detroit to Windsor, Ontario.

New Hampshire: The New Hampshire Senate advanced a bill that would raise the state gasoline tax by 4.2¢, but removed a provision from the bill that would have tied future increases to the tax to inflation. The bill advanced on a 14-9 vote and was then approved by the Senate Finance Committee on a vote of 4-2. Were the House to approve the bill, the current 18¢ per gallon tax would increase to about 22¢ per gallon in July. The gasoline tax has not been raised since 1991 and is currently the lowest in New England. The proposed increase is estimated to raise about $32 million annually for road improvements. Governor Maggie Hassan has stated that she would sign a tax increase if a consensus is reached.

Texas: The Coast Guard will re-evaluate whether vessel traffic can resume along the Houston Ship Channel today. Following a spill of about 168,000 gallons of bunker fuel oil into Galveston Bay, 54 deep-draft ships are in queue to enter the channel toward Houston and 47 are waiting to leave as of this morning.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Cozen O'Connor | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Cozen O'Connor

Cozen O'Connor on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.