MRF May 2018 Update
By Andy Kelly
We will start with Infrastructure and the Highway Trust Fund that pays for highway and transit projects. Congressmen Jeff Denham, Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, from California, does not foresee any movement on bills to fund repairs and improvement to our highways. He estimated the price tag could go as high as $400 billion and how it is going to be paid for is up for grabs. Gas-tax, toll roads, public-private partnerships, and even selling off “unused assets” are being talked about.
There has been a lot coming from Washington D.C. about ethanol from both sides. Representative Shimkus, from Illinois, is pushing for higher ethanol blends which is to be expected from someone in the corn belt. Also, Representative Loebsack, from Iowa, is saying ethanol is good for farmers. Representatives Bill Johnson, from Ohio, and Buddy Carter, from Georgia, were very vocal in talking about the potential damaging effects on small engines that ethanol can have.
Senator Tom Udall, from New Mexico, and Representative Peter Welch, From Vermont, released the “Greener Fuels Act” in both the House and the Senate which would overhaul federal government’s ethanol mandate to reduce incentives for corn-based ethanol.
Senator John Cornyn, from Texas, has been working on a Renewal Fuel Standards (RFS) reform bill for the last two years. Sources are saying the bill he will be introducing will upset both sides on the ethanal debate but may create compromise legislation that both sides can live with.
Megan Ekstrom, Vice-President, Government Affairs and Public Relations, for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, had the opportunity to sit down and talk with the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Deputy Administrator, Heidi King. Megan shared with her our concerns over the autonomous vehicles guidance system and the lack of mention of motorcycles. She presented her with a study and news articles that demonstrated instances where cars on “autopilot” or cars with automatic emergency braking are hitting riders. Megan felt that Heidi King has concern and would be willing to investigate making changes.
Heidi King then asked for two favors. She has concerns about drugged driving. While drunk driving is on the decline, drugged driving is on the rise especially in states that legalize marijuana. She asked if the state motorcycle rights organization could address this issue. The second favor she asked is for a list of all the things the State Highway Safety Offices are doing RIGHT and a list of what they are doing WRONG. DO NOT blast NHTSA with any responses as to right or wrong, please forward any responses to either myself or Megan so she can review and present them to Heidi.