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We want YOUR advice on cutting more red tape

We want YOUR advice on cutting more red tape

In January 2011, President Obama outlined a plan to improve regulation and regulatory review. He challenged agencies across the federal government to review rules already on the books and remove those that are out-of-date, unnecessary, excessively burdensome, or in conflict with other rules.

Because DOT has long recognized that there should be no more regulations than necessary and that the regulations we issue should be simple, comprehensible, and impose only as much burden as is necessary, we already had a long history of review efforts, but we rose to the President's challenge and stepped it up.

The Department’s 2011 final plan listed 79 existing rules for which the Department had already undertaken or proposed actions that promise significant savings in terms of money and time. In addition, we identified 56 other rules with potential savings.

Today, even as the first round of reviews is being completed, DOT is launching a second round of retrospective review to save our partners even more. But, because we know that meaningful review requires meaningful input from those affected by the Department’s regulations, we need your help.

Photo of President Obama talking about making it easier to do business in America

The mission of the Department is to serve the United States by ensuring a safe, fast, efficient, accessible, and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future. A robust regulatory program is essential to that mission, but we are always ready to improve our work.

That's why DOT is looking for your suggestions on how this round should be managed. To send us your ideas, go to today’s Federal Register announcement and submit a comment.

Here are some questions we’re considering for this round; we hope you can use them to guide your input:

  • Should DOT simply publish a notice in the Federal Register asking for suggestions for specific existing rules to be reviewed, as we did during the initial round?
  • Should DOT focus on the 56 rules identified in the 2011 plan as having potential savings? Or are there any particular rules from that list that should be identified?
  • Should DOT publish a notice and request for comment in the Federal Register —
    • Focusing instead on the existing regulations of one or more of our nine Operating Administrations (OAs) like the Federal Railroad Administration or Federal Transit Administration? If so, which one(s) and why?
    • Focusing instead on one or more cross-cutting issues such as access rules or drug and alcohol testing?  If so, which issues and why?
    • Focus on a combination of one or more specific OA(s) and specific cross-cutting issue(s)?  If so, which and why?
  • Should we hold a series of listening sessions, each one tailored to a specific OA or cross-cutting issue? If so, which OA(s) and/or issues could benefit from this more in-depth retrospective review?
  • What other alternatives should we consider for implementing this second round of retrospective review? Why?

President Obama believes that this nation can have a government vigorous enough to protect the lives and liberties of the American people and agile enough to help America's businesses create the jobs and economic growth we need. And DOT agrees.

That's why we've launched this second round of retrospective review, and that's why we're asking you to help us steer our course.

So, please navigate over to the Federal Register, and let us hear what you have to say!

Katie Thomson is Acting General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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Awesome post.

1- Re: Alternatives: To get real about reaching the public, probably less than 1% access the Federal Register. If you want to reach people and request their feedback, announce the request on public media, Radio, TV, Print Media, etc. through public service announcements, etc. or engage the media via press releases so they publicize the request. 2- Keep it simple. Listening Sessions could work, as could on-line conference calls asking for comments directly after the listening sessions. Andask for comments on one specific issue or regulation at a time [or ask for inventive, new, alternative regulations or proposals or identification of the problem that requires new regulations] or group them so they are interrelated. Most folks don't want to spend hours and hours trying to figure out what you are after; 3- For instance: The one area of Public Transportation that I know is sorely in need of more regulation is Para-Transit Service [which is provided by private contractors ] and is woefully inadequate, as it fails to provide truly "comparable" transportation [in cost and time] to Mass Transit, for people with disabilities and seniors, especially in rural or quasi-rural areas. This causes the disabled and seniors to suffer alone in isolation.I would be glad to comment or propose additional and tighter regulations re: this industry and/or amendments to the ADA or whatever administrative law or existing regulations currently govern this industry, allowing far too much laxity to contractors who provide this essential service. Currently the lack of tighter regulation has had a "chilling effect" on disabled and senior citizen's constitutional right to travel.

OKDO, in the environmental area, spends the bulk of our time and resources proving that no "unusual circumstances" exist on our Categorical Exclusions prepared for FHWA. Proving something does not exist, rather than presuming and validatiing this presumption as a project progresses wastes time and money and delays projects unnecessarily. Rules aren't the issue, but rather the implementation of the rules by overly cautious and risk averse staff at the Division level.

The motor carriers who operate smaller CMVs (10,001 - 26,000 pounds GVWR) are required to comply with almost all of the pertinent 49 CFR rules (except the D&A and CDL parts). I suggest that either make ALL CMV operators comply with 49 CFR or create a separate regulatory part for those smaller CMVs.

It would be most helpful if all DOT agencies operated with the same rules, regulations, processes and formats. FTA, FR, and FHWA all have different procurement policies, application processes, NEPA review formats, Right of Way Acquisition processes and on and on. Realizing the difficulties that "cultural change" presents...requiring all DOT agencies to operate under the same processes would be hugely beneficial. Having had some of these frustrating experiences, I can honestly say that the wasted time and effort cost us not only in dollars but wasted productivity.

Rural counties and the State DOT in Minnesota are being road blocked here by the US Army Corp when needing to obtain their 404 wetland impact permit for reconstruction of existing roads that are 50 years old. The COE has insane red tape for dealing with what they call wetlands that are in man made road ditches. It takes 2 years to get a permit.

Trucking should go back to paper logs.and got to a 12 hour drive time.make trucking companies treat there drivers better.and when there is bad weather and there is a accident it should be considerd s act of god unless the driver is tired drunk or under drugs or kills someone then make driver accountable.drivets should be given drug test at the accident by the cops to detetmine who is at fault.

Link the background checks for TWIC and Hazmat, why should we have to pay twice for the same background check. We are making less and less wages due to the mountains of regulations piled on us every year.

My second issue is the Notice Requirements. The FTA has a requirement that when a notice is sent out for 5307 funding that the notice to the public include certain language, which the specifics as to what the actual language is and how it needs to be stated if the MPO or the transit agency are the noticing party, very hard to find, but it is something to the effect that "the list of projects are the final projects." This means nothing to the general public. Who really needs the language when the meat of the program is stated in the six-year transit plan. Something that my agency hold not one, but two public hearings on and they are generally not attended unless cuts or rate increases are being proposed.

Let's start with unnecessary rules. To start that conversation off, let's look at the dollar coin farebox requirement. I can't remember the last time that I saw a dollar coin. There shouldn't be a rule that fareboxes need to accept dollar coins. If it is really that important, the rule should be that the transit agency shall accept American currency of any form. And why would that need to be stated in every grant agreement?
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