Category

Transportation

FAA Extension Takes Off From House On Time

By | General, Shopfloor Policy, Transportation | No Comments

Today, the House passed H.R. 636 to extend the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs until September 30, 2017. While manufacturers are eager for the long-term certainty that a full FAA authorization brings, the 15-month bipartisan extension negotiated between the House and Senate is a next-best option. Manufacturers appreciate the effort to avoid stop gap extensions which create instability and disadvantage our job creators when a bipartisan bill like this can’t get over the finish line.

To reach bipartisan consensus, the bill also includes some modest policy provisions on safety and security that were negotiated between House and Senate aviation leaders. Of note, the legislation includes additional guidance on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drone use, specifically for emergency response and critical infrastructure. The innovative applications of drones are endless and show great promise for manufacturers who are looking to UAS technology to inspect and secure facilities and other land-based assets. This guidance takes a practical approach to ensure safety remains the top priority while realizing the potential of this new technology.

With a 15-month reprieve, there is still important work to accomplish and the NAM urges Congress to seek a long-term bipartisan Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization ahead of the September 30, 2017 deadline. Reforms that would enhance the competitiveness of U.S. aerospace manufacturing through improvements to the FAA’s certification process for aircraft design and modifications are critically important and should not be delayed.  As aviation technology advances and manufacturing becomes more innovative, red tape and bureaucratic inefficiencies pose a risk to our globally competitive and enviable position in this sector.  The FAA international certification process must not encumber, but strengthen American exports of aerospace products, which grew its annual trade surplus to a record $82.5 billion in 2015.

Today, Congress acted to keep critical FAA programs and the world’s largest aviation market open without further delay, and manufacturers urge the Senate to quickly get the FAA extension to the President’s desk. However, Congress must now recommit to working on a bipartisan, long-term bill that addresses critical reforms that support manufacturing competiveness as well as bold funding solutions to tackle growing airport infrastructure demand which create backlogs that cost American travelers and manufacturers billions of dollars annually.

New Onerous Requirement for Shippers Coming Online This Summer

By | Shopfloor Policy, Trade, Transportation | No Comments

A new International Maritime Organization (IMO) rule requiring shippers to physically weigh containers and their contents before being loaded at the port of origin is expected to come into effect on July 1, 2016. This amendment to the long-standing International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) treaty places an additional burden on shippers (both exporters and importers) to obtain and certify the Verified Gross Mass (VGM), or combined weight of cargo and the container. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is the responsible agency for overseeing and enforcing this new requirement, and it will be implemented around the world by the other 161 signatories to the treaty.

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Manufacturers Support Balanced Approach to Lithium Battery Air Transit

By | Shopfloor Policy, Transportation | No Comments

Manufacturers appreciate the balanced approach to lithium battery transportation by air as outlined in Section 615 of the H.R. 4441, the Aviation, Innovation, Reform and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act, introduced by Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) last week. The provision will ensure the continued harmonization of lithium battery regulations with international standards and implement a balanced approach that ensures safety while protecting commerce and vital supply chains. In addition to building off current law as outlined in Section 828 of the bipartisan FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, the new provision includes stepped-up enforcement and education efforts as well as the establishment of a Federal Advisory Committee to help ensure proper information sharing and best practices for safe lithium battery shipments.

The NAM joined a broad coalition of interests and communicated strong support of the AIRR Act’s lithium battery provision in a letter today to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman and the Aviation Subcommittee chairman. The NAM also hosted a panel of experts on the Hill from across the manufacturing supply chain for a Shopfloor event that focused on the need to maintain consistent globally harmonized standards for shipments of these batteries and products containing them. Read More

Manufacturers: Train Deadline Extension Agreement Welcome News

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Transportation | No Comments

Manufacturers are pleased that House and Senate leaders have reached a bipartisan agreement to extend the December 31st Positive Train Control (PTC) deadline. This agreement will be reflected in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015 as a mark-up approaches on Thursday.

In spite of this welcome announcement, the urgent need to extend the PTC deadline continues. The House and Senate must both pass the agreed-upon language on a piece of legislation that will achieve the President’s signature by the end of the month so that manufacturers are not adversely impacted. Read More

House Moves to Put Transportation Back in Play

By | Shopfloor Policy, Transportation | No Comments

The need for competitive infrastructure has never been more apparent, and manufacturers appreciate the bipartisan introduction of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015 (STRR). It’s a sign that things in Washington can get back on track, and the work of the Senate over the summer months to advance H.R. 22, the DRIVE Act, provided needed momentum.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) is ready to forge ahead to a committee mark-up this week with the support of Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR). While Congress is currently holding off on addressing the long-term funding sources to address the imbalances facing the Highway Trust Fund, the STRR offers the opportunity to advance several key issues that will make our transportation and infrastructure systems more competitive.

When the Texas Transportation Institute released updated figures on the cost of congestion this August, reaching $160 billion annually in wasted time and fuel, it was a reminder that increased logistics costs due to congestion and deteriorating road conditions are real threats to manufacturers’ competitiveness. Facing mounting political pressure in the face of House Republican leadership uncertainty, House Transportation Committee leaders made a strong statement by putting their transportation authorization proposal in play.

As always, the process of delivering a highway bill will continue to play out in the days and weeks ahead. Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio have made the right move, and manufacturers appreciate their commitment to begin the process of addressing the nation’s transportation challenges.

To Keep Trains Running – Leaders Must Emerge

By | Transportation | No Comments

All railroads, freight and commuter, are mandated by statute to install new technology equipment known as Positive Train Control (PTC) by December 31, 2015. This complex and expensive $9 billion mandate was a response to a deadly 2008 California commuter rail crash.

Freight railroads have invested billions in the testing, development, purchase and installation of PTC components. The PTC deployment is an unprecedented operational challenge that requires the entire rail network, public and private, to develop, test and implement this new equipment. The December 2015 deadline is impossible to meet and this fact was confirmed by the GAO last week. As a result, significant service impacts, for all manufacturers who ship by rail, are anticipated. Rail carriers will not be able to operate when they can’t meet the terms and conditions of this statutory mandate. Read More

Congress Needs to Keep Driving

By | Transportation | No Comments

The House of Representatives left Washington to begin its August recess in the middle of a critical Senate debate on a long-term transportation measure, the DRIVE Act. In spite of the House choosing not to wait around a little longer to take up the Senate bill which also included the much needed Export-Import bank reauthorization, the Senate still gave the legislation a strong bipartisan showing and passed H.R. 22 in a 65-34 vote. Read More

Manufacturers Gear Up for the DRIVE Act

By | Transportation | No Comments

With federal highway and transit programs headed into shutdown mode in just 9 short days, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) today plans to revisit and proceed with his intention to move H.R. 22, the “Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act” – legislation that represents a six-year commitment to surface transportation investments.

While the action to move the transportation legislation to the floor of the Senate does not ensure a six-year transportation bill by the end of the month, the Majority Leader’s commitment, with the help of unlikely ally Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to get the DRIVE Act passed in the Senate is good news and a welcome development by manufacturers. Read More

Senate Committee Offers Bipartisan Long-Term Highway Reauthorization

By | Transportation | No Comments

Manufacturers need competitive infrastructure to thrive in today’s global economy. Unfortunately, the nation’s infrastructure is outdated and resting on a legacy built by previous generations.

Transportation extensions can no longer be a substitute for action. Manufacturers have been asking Congress for a well-funded, multiyear transportation bill and the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) leadership has delivered. Today, Senators Inhofe, Boxer, Vitter and Carper introduced a long-term highway reauthorization bill, The Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act, that will provide a funded, multi-year extension that addresses future growth and need for manufacturers. Read More

Keep American Opportunities Flying

By | Transportation | No Comments

Aviation is an American success story. As a nation, our aerospace and aviation industries are second to none and have helped lead the way in a competitive global marketplace. For over twenty years, the United States has been a driver of aviation market liberalization and achieved Open Skies bilateral aviation agreements with over 100 nations around the world. These agreements enable access to foreign aviation markets that had previously restricted U.S. air carriers and provide the ability to offer new services in overseas markets, increase competition and facilitate global trade. Read More