WASHINGTON—The U.S. House of Representatives voted 363-64 on Nov. 5 to approve a bipartisan six-year bill providing $325 billion for highway, bridge and other surface transportation projects.
The bill includes more than 1,000 pages of amendments from a Senate surface transportation bill that passed last July, as well as a number of other amendments introduced on the House floor.
Although the exact content of the bill as passed was somewhat unclear on the afternoon of Nov. 5, the legislation apparently contains intact a provision that would require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to establish a return to the system of tire registration from the 1970s mandating that all independent tire dealers register tires at the point of sale.
That provision also would require independent dealers to transmit electronically all information about tire buyers to tire manufacturers.
The same provision would mandate new minimum standards for rolling resistance and wet traction, as well as an easy-to-access tire safety recall lookup database on the NHTSA website.
A separate provision would direct NHTSA to make it illegal to disable or modify an original equipment tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).
“We've supported the tire provisions from the beginning, but we have a ways to go before they become law,” said Dan Zielinski, senior vice president, public affairs for the Rubber Manufacturers Association. House and Senate conferees should start meeting to negotiate a reconciliation bill almost immediately, Zielinski said, but Congress will be in recess the week of Nov. 9.
The Tire Industry Association opposed the tire registration language, on the grounds that it would be burdensome and punitive toward independent tire dealers.
TIA Executive Vice President Roy Littlefield, in Las Vegas for TIA's Global Tire Expo, declined comment on the House vote pending his return to Washington.
A number of organizations expressed pleasure at the long-term bill's passage, including the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Retail Federation and the Laborers' International Union of North America.
Other organizations—including the American Trucking Associations, the National Association of Truck Stop Operators and the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates—generally approved of the legislation, but expressed concern that the House bill as passed might allow for expansion of highway tolls.
The American Road & Transportation Builders Association also expressed concern that the House bill does not provide the investment levels necessary to maintain and improve highways and bridges, or provide a long-term solution to providing a revenue stream for the Highway Trust Fund.
Congress passed yet another stopgap transportation bill Oct. 27, two days before the previous one lapsed. The new stopgap measure ends Nov. 20.