Four Big Wins for the Towing Industry in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
Early this week the Senate passed the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R.3684). While nothing is ever guaranteed when dealing with the Congress, it appears highly likely that the version passed by the Senate will be the bill that makes it to the President’s desk by year's end. TRAA is happy to report that thanks to the efforts of our membership, our federal lobbying firm, the TRAA LAN, and the great success of TRAA’s annual Legislative Action Workshop & Hill Days, the Senate version of H.R. 3684 has addressed two of TRAA’s top priorities and also killed two provisions that represented profound threats to the towing industry.
Damaging Provisions Defeated
No Federal Increase to Insurance Liability Coverage (H.R.2687) - One of our top priorities this year has been defeating efforts to increase minimum liability coverage for motor carriers, including towers, from $750,000 to $2M. In this effort, TRAA was a signatory on the February 2021 Truck Insurance Coalition letter to House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR-04) and Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO-06) opposing any increase in minimum liability coverage requirements for motor carriers. TRAA was also an active participant in numerous meetings with Congressional staff as part of the OOIDA Minimum Insurance Requirement Coalition and raising this issue was part of our conversations during TRAA’s Hill Day meetings in March. Special thanks to Joanne Blyton, Bill Johnson, and Brian Riker for their many hours that they spent working to defeat this provision.
Outcome: We are happy to report that this provision was not included in the Senate bill. Given how damaging this insurance burden would have been for towers everywhere, this is a huge win.

Non-Consent Towing Rate Regulation Struck-Down (S. Amdt. 2137) - Recently Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced an amendment regarding non-consent rate regulation that would have had a negative impact on our industry. Having previously met with TRAA, our federal lobbying firm, and representatives from the Professional Towers Association of Nebraska, the Senate Commerce Committee's minority staff proactively reached out to TRAA to get our opinion and understanding of the amendment. TRAA was able to quickly analyze the amendment, understand the negative impacts and bad precedent it sets, and articulate our concerns to the staff who were working as gatekeepers for amendments that would and wouldn’t make the final Senate passed version.

Outcome: We are happy to report that this potentially damaging amendment also did not make into the final Senate passed version of bill. Special thanks to the PTAN for their outreach with Senator Fischer (R-NE)! This situation really highlighted why consistent presence, engagement, and communication with Congress is so important.
Good Provisions Included
Apprenticeship Pilot Program for Under-21 CDL Drivers, Provisions from the DRIVE Safe Act (S.659) - An Apprenticeship Pilot Program was included as a provision in the Senate version of the bill.The three-year pilot program will allow up to 3,000 CDL holders aged 18 - 20 to drive long-haul in interstate commerce. As many of you will remember, TRAA has been supporting various versions of this legislation since 2019. First, with the FMCSA's pilot program (Docket ID FMCSA-2018-0346) and then again with the DRIVE Safe Act. The DRIVE Safe Act has been one of the bills we've promoted with Members of Congress during our last two annual Legislative Action Workshop & Hill Day events. The Apprenticeship Pilot Program is almost identical to the provision outlined in the DRIVE Safe Act but as a pilot program overseen by the secretary of transportation. We believe this is a safe and effective way to explore the realities of under 21 drivers engaging in interstate commerce. Not sure why TRAA supports under 21 drivers? Check out our article Under 21 Drivers, Why is This a Good Idea? written by Brian J. Riker.

Outcome: Much of the provisions of the DRIVE Safe Act that TRAA supports were included in the Senate version of the bill under the Apprenticeship Pilot Program. This is great for the towing industry as we look to engage and attract more qualified individuals looking for career opportunities.
Protecting Roadside First Responders Act/Move Over Law Enforcement -
The Senate bill also addresses another long held TRAA priority – protecting roadside first responders. The Senate version includes the major provisions of the Protecting Roadside First Responders Act (S.1386) which has been one of TRAA’s top priorities. Earlier this year TRAA signed on as a supporter of the bill which orders a federal study of Move Over Laws to determine what laws are most effective and how the federal government can partner with states for better enforcement. The provisions also expand the definition of digital alert technology while adding a new section “to pilot and incentivize measures, including optical visibility measures, to increase the visibility of stopped and disabled vehicles”. Preventing first responder roadside fatalities is a central part of TRAA’s advocacy. The infrastructure bill will lay the foundation for a national focus on the alarming increase of roadside fatalities.

Outcome: Much of the provisions of the Protecting Roadside First Responders Act that TRAA supports were included in the Senate version of the bill. This is another major win for the towing industry as we work to increase safety for all roadside responders and decrease line of duty deaths.
While not yet signed into law, we believe this Senate version of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R.3684) represents four huge wins for the entire towing and recovery industry. TRAA will continue to advocate on your behalf in DC including laying the groundwork federal Move Over Law provisions.

These successes could not have been achieved without our collective efforts. Thank you to everyone who attended TRAA Hill Day meetings, reached out to their members of Congress, and engaged in coalition efforts. TRAA continues to expand its presence in Washington and the important progress we have made is the result of everyone’s hard work. We could not have done it without you, our members. Stay tuned for next steps!
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