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The Need-To-Knows About MAP-21

Associate VP

MAP-21, also known as the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (P.L. 112-141), was signed into law by President Obama on July 6, 2012.  This legislation will go into full effect through September 20, 2014, and will bring a wave of changes to the transportation industry. 

Want to read the law in its entirety?  The 599-page document can be found on the House of Representatives website, as can a 91-page “summary.” For just the need-to-knows, read on for aCourthouse summary of the 20 most significant regulations and components of MAP-21 that will be implemented over the next few years by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).           

1. Electronic Logging Devices             

The law requires DOT to establish regulations mandating electronic logging devices (EOBR’s) for motor carriers currently required to complete paper logs.  The regulations must be in place within 1 year and carriers will have two years thereafter to adopt/install the devices.           

2. 34-Hour Restart Study         

The law requires DOT to complete a field study by March 31, 2013 of the efficacy of the changes to the hours of service 34-hour restart provision, due to go into effect in July 2013.  The language does not prohibit the agency from putting the restart into effect based on (or pending) the results of the study.           

3. Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse    

MAP-21 requires DOT to establish a clearinghouse to capture drivers’ positive drug/alcohol test results and records of refusals to test within two years.  Motor carriers will be required to query the clearinghouse when screening new driver applicants and annually thereafter.  Third-party service agents will be permitted to conduct these inquiries on behalf of motor carriers.           

4. Employer Notification Systems       

Within one year, FMCSA must establish standards for state systems that automatically notify motor carriers of drivers’ moving violations and other driver record changes (e.g., suspensions).  Motor carriers may use these systems to meet the current annual motor vehicle record review requirements.  Within 2 years, FMCSA must develop recommendations and a plan for implementing a national system to perform these functions.           

5. New Entrant Testing and Audits     

DOT must require motor carriers entering the industry (new entrants) to complete a proficiency test on the safety regulations and to complete a DOT safety review within 12 months (the current deadline is 18 months).           

6. Crashworthiness Standards

MAP-21 includes language directing DOT to study the need for crashworthiness standards for large trucks, including an evaluation of the need for roof strength, pillar strength, air bags, and other occupant protection standards, as well as frontal and back wall standards.           

7. Hazmat       

DOT is proscribed from publishing a wetlines rule for two years or until a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study determines whether such a rule will be necessary.  Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is to update its accident and release recordkeeping and reporting requirements.  It will also provide direction for DOT to set mandatory standardized training for HM enforcement officials, and require PHMSA to update its hazmat accident and release information collection, analysis, reporting, and data use methods.  

The law failed to include provisions from the House bill that would have fixed a previous legislative error that extended OSHA’s jurisdiction into areas already regulated by DOT, a prohibition on State Hazmat incident reporting requirements that differ from PHMSA’s, and a provision requiring the States to participate in the Hazmat Uniform Carrier Permit Program.           

8. Transportation of Agricultural Commodities and Farm Supplies    

MAP-21 clarifies movement of farm supplies under the agriculture exemption to the hours of service rule from a terminal or distribution point to the retail site or farm.  The language also increases air mileage from 100 to 150 and eliminates “in the state” from the language, making it an interstate issue.           

9. Pension Funding Stabilization         

Single employer pension programs stabilize interest rates that are used to calculate employee contributions.  Interest rates are averaged over a 25 year period.  Employers pay less into the employees’ pension plan (calculating for higher interest return) and use that savings on investing back into the business.  The investments back into the business are then taxed and the government receives additional tax revenue.            

10. Broker Bond          

MAP-21 increases the broker bond to $75,000 and applies it to freight forwarders.  It also tightens requirements on bonding companies to respond to carrier claims.           

11. Eligibility for Non-Highway Projects        

The law does not expand eligibility to additional non-highway projects.  It eliminates eligibility for landscaping and other scenic beautification; historic facilities; and transportation museums.          

12. Minimum State Apportionment     

The minimum share of highway funding for each state is increased from 92% to 95% of the total.

13. Performance Standards     

Each state and metropolitan area is required to establish minimum performance standards related to highway and bridge maintenance, congestion, system reliability, safety, freight efficiency, air quality and project delivery.  If states fail to meet these standards, they will be required to transfer federal funds from other areas in order to meet the standards.           

14. Freight Policy        

MAP-21 establishes a new National Freight Network and requires DOT to create a national freight plan.  The freight plan is to include an assessment of the condition and performance of the national freight network and identification of highway freight bottlenecks.  

The federal share for highway projects that significantly improve freight efficiency is increased from 80% to 90% for projects off the Interstate System and 95% for projects on the Interstate system.  The law does not include a set aside of funding for freight projects included in the Senate bill.           

15. Accelerated Project Delivery         

MAP-21 includes significant reforms to planning and environmental requirements for projects built with federal-aid money.  This will reduce project costs and speed up construction.           

16. Truck Parking       

Funding for truck parking is eligible under MAP-21, but the law eliminates a pilot program which set money aside for truck parking projects.  It also requires a study to determine the extent and location of truck parking shortages.           

17. Truck Size and Weight      

The law does not include an increase in size and weight limits other than an increase in allowable weight for idling reduction devices from 400 pounds to 550 pounds.  The law requires USDOT to conduct a comprehensive size and weight study that is due in two years.  However, it is unlikely the study will be completed in this timeframe.  MAP-21 also allows states to issue 120 day oversize-overweight permits to trucks responding to disasters if a national emergency is declared.           

18. Tolls         

The bill effectively maintains the status quo on allowing states to toll existing Interstates, but makes it easier to build new Interstate lanes with toll financing.           

19. Public -Private Partnerships (PPPs)

The senate bill language which would have curtailed PPP’s was not included.  USDOT is to compile best practices to ensure that public and state and local government interests are protected in the course of negotiating a PPP.  USDOT is to develop model PPP contracts.           

20. Projects of National and Regional Significance     

$500 million from the General Fund is allocated for a USDOT grant program for major projects.  Highway, transit, rail, and other modes of transportation are eligible for funds.           


This summary covers the most significant regulations and components of MAP-21 that will be implemented over the next few years.  Contact your HNI Relationship Manager or comment below with any questions on this topic!  



Topics: Transportation