The Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), Anthony Foxx, held a media only conference call on Friday, September 12th, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation participated. The call, described to journalists as an"important transportation announcement", had the transportation community searching for what the important topic could be.
The subject of the call was to announce this years recipients of the DOT's Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery or TIGER grants. These grants are designed to send cash to communities for specific projects deemed valuable by the local communities. For instance Indianapolis, Indiana is receiving money for a downtown pedestrian and bike path, Ann Arbor, Michigan is getting some new bridges and Charleston, South Carolina is getting a bigger shipping port. There are 72 different projects being funded in 46 states spending almost $600 million dollars. This is the fifth year of the program.
EPA Sends Ethanol Regulations to White House
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent its final regulations to the White House for Presidential approval, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) reports. This is the final step in the approval process before the mandate can be revealed.
Last year, the EPA proposed that the amount of ethanol to be produced by refiners actually be reduced over previous years. This plan to reduce the amount of ethanol being produced sent shockwaves through the energy community. Petroleum users lauded the proposal as a step in the right direction. The MRF testified at a hearing on the proposal in favor of lowering the amount of ethanol and in favor of doing away with the sale E-15. The MRF is also actively supporting legislation to halt the sale of E-15 fuels until further testing can be done.
The proposal was by far one the most controversial ever put forth by the EPA and received over 340,000 public comments.
While the EPA announced the White House review, they did not release whether any changes were made to last year's proposal to lower the amount of ethanol to be produced. The EPA will release the final rule after the White House and other federal agencies weigh in. The White House has 90 days to review the proposal and issue a response.
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation will keep you informed on this issue.
30th Annual Meeting of the Minds
Do not forget that August 25th is the pre-registration deadline for the 30th Annual Meeting of the Minds to be held in Kansas City, Missouri on September 25th-28th. The pre-registration price includes a $10.00 discount for both members and non-members. You may either register on-line at www.mrf.org, click on 2014 Conference Information; you may register by mail, or you may register by calling the D.C. office. Please note: To pre-register by phone you must do so no later than August 22nd since the D.C. office will be closed the week of August 25th.
August 25th is also the last day to make hotel reservations and receive our group rate of $111.00 which includes breakfast. The conference will be held at the Embassy Suites Kansas City Airport. The phone number to make reservations is 816-891-7788. After August 25th, rooms will only be available at the standard rate and we cannot guarantee availability.
If you wish to pre-order your T-shirt during the registration, you must also complete your order before the early registration deadline. This is a great way to be sure you get the shirt you want and the size and color you need. Event shirts will be available at the Conference, but we encourage pre-order to assure your choice.
Highway Funding Bill Clears Congress
The United States Congress has agreed on a temporary patch for the highway trust fund, reports the Motorcycle Riders Foundation. The Senate agreed to the House version of the temporary funding fix for the highway trust fund.
The fix came just hours before the United States Department of Transportation would have had to cut off payments for highway construction projects and mass transit programs. The quick fix will keep the trust fund solvent through mid May of 2015.
The final Senate vote ended a week of legislative ping ponging between the House and Senate. The Senate wanted to modify the legislation so it would expire in December of 2014, thus forcing a vote on a larger highway bill that would address the trust fund issues before the end of this year. The House defeated that legislation, sending its own version to be passed by the Senate, that will run through May and spends $10.8 billion.
The temporary patch kicks the larger issues into the next Congress to be sworn in next year.