WASHINGTON—The Senate passed a five-year, $305 billion surface transportation funding bill by an 83-16 vote the evening of Dec. 3, hours after the House of Representatives approved the legislation 359-65.
President Obama is expected to sign H.R. 22, the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, as soon as it reaches his desk.
Organizations including the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Retail Federation, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association and the National Governors Association hailed passage of the FAST Act, the first multi-year surface transportation bill to become law since 2005.
“The FAST Act provides states with the certainty and flexibility needed to deliver highway and public transportation projects that enhance the quality, safety and strength of the nation's infrastructure systems,” the National Governors Association said in a Dec. 3 statement.
The FAST Act contains several provisions involving tires. The most controversial is one that would direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to require independent tire dealers to register every tire they sell at the point of sale and transmit the information electronically to tire manufacturers.
The Rubber Manufacturers Association championed the provision as the best way to ensure reaching consumers in case of tire safety recalls, but the Tire Industry Association said the mandatory registration system as currently written is both hopelessly outdated and unfairly punitive to independent dealers.
House-Senate conferees added TIA-sponsored language directing NHTSA to conduct a study on requiring manufacturers to include electronic identification in tires, but rejected TIA's proposal to postpone consideration of mandatory registration until the study was completed.
Among other things, the FAST Act will also:
• Require NHTSA to create minimum performance standards for tire fuel efficiency and wet traction;
• Require NHTSA to establish a user-friendly online tire recall search tool using tire identification numbers; and
• Require NHTSA to update its rule covering tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS).