The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposes a fiscal year (FY) 2009 budget request of $541 million, the amount authorized by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) of 2005. The FMCSA programs funded under SAFETEA-LU have contributed to significantly improved truck and bus safety. In 2006, for the second year in a row, safety data show a decrease in overall fatalities for large trucks and buses. Large truck and bus fatalities decreased from 5,539 in 2005 to 5,309 in 2006, a drop of 4 percent. Large truck and bus injuries decreased from 136,000 in 2005 to 126,000 in 2006, a drop of 7 percent. The FMCSA is also on target to meet its ambitious safety goal of reducing fatalities involving large trucks and buses to a rate of no more than .160 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled by the end of 2011.
In FY 2009, FMCSA will maintain the momentum from recent successes by continuing major initiatives to reexamine and reengineer core safety activities. FMCSA will be at a critical juncture in implementing some of its most far-reaching initiatives such as the Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 (CSA 2010) and COMPASS (the Agency’s information technology reform) projects. These projects will increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and reach of the Agency’s core operations by strengthening many aspects of FMCSA’s enforcement operations and Information Technology (IT) systems. FY 2009 also signals the second half of the Agency’s Strategic Plan for 2006-2011, which has been aligned with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Strategic Plan for 2006-2011. These redesigned and refocused strategic plans form the backbone of this FY 2009 budget request and future Agency efforts.
FY 2009 Priorities: Agency-wide, Secretarial, and Presidential
A key FMCSA priority for FY 2009 will be to complete work on the next highway reauthorization proposal. The increased authorities granted in SAFETEA-LU have allowed FMCSA to positively impact large truck and bus safety. The Agency will seek to build on this foundation in the next reauthorization. The .FMCSA will develop innovative and comprehensive proposals for improving safety in cooperation with Federal and State partners, as well as other important stakeholders.
Another FMCSA FY 2009 priority will be to improve the efficiency of operations to ensure the Agency is getting the most it can from its current resource base. In FY 2008, FMCSA will complete a top-to-bottom organizational assessment, and by FY 2009, the Agency will begin implementing the results of that assessment.
A vital and far-reaching Agency priority in FY 2009 will be to test and validate CSA 2010 operational concepts and to introduce new COMPASS functions to replace legacy computer systems. Through CSA 2010, the Agency is redesigning its core enforcement and compliance activities; through COMPASS, the Agency is reengineering the technology and systems used to conduct these activities. Together, these projects represent a comprehensive modernization of the Agency’s key enforcement processes and procedures.Funding for these projects represents an important commitment to the future effectiveness and efficiency of the Agency.
In FY 2009, FMCSA focuses further on improving grant program activities. Over half of all Agency funding is provided to State partners in the form of grants. The FMCSA recognizes that it cannot succeed without the concomitant success of the States and of grant program activities that support the States. In FY 2009, FMCSA will increase oversight of grant funding and work with its State partners to ensure these funds are having the maximum impact on improving truck and bus safety.
The Agency will place an emphasis on the Secretary’s priorities to improve the safety of our transportation systems, improve system performance, and find 21st century solutions to 21st century problems. Several of FMCSA’s innovative programs are improving the safety of the nation’s transportation systems. The Agency’s New Entrant Program improved safety by ensuring that recent entries to the truck or passenger carrier industries understand their operational and safety responsibilities and have complied with the applicable rules and regulations. The FMCSA is also expanding a successful pilot program showcased in Washington State called Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks (TACT), which has been proven to reduce crashes involving trucks and passenger cars by increasing public awareness of the dangers of unsafe driving around commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). The Agency will also contribute to improving system performance through the DOT-led National Strategy to Reduce Congestion on America’s Transportation Network, a national congestion relief initiative. The Agency will develop and promote electronic safety and credentials monitoring devices to inspect vehicles and drivers. These devices can decrease the impact on congestion caused by roadside safety activities since they reduce the amount of time carriers spend entering and exiting weigh stations and inspection facilities and during roadside inspections, thereby reducing the congestion that builds around these particular areas. This helps maintain the flow of commerce and decreases delays in the delivery of goods to their destinations. These programs, along with FMCSA’s ongoing CSA 2010 and COMPASS initiatives, ensure that FMCSA is leading the way into the 21st century with solutions to today’s large truck and bus safety problems.
The FMCSA will continue its support for the Secretarial Priority of Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response. The Agency responded to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as the planning for a response to a potential pandemic influenza outbreak. The FMCSA’s FY 2009 budget request reflects this increased priority, and this issue is a new element that has been added to the FMCSA Strategic Plan for FY 2006-2011. The President’s second term priorities include development of International Trade Data Systems to consolidate access to international trade data across the Federal Government. The FMCSA supports this priority by being the first Federal Agency to partner with the Department of Homeland Security/Customs and Border Protection on the Automated Commercial Environment/International Trade Data System (ACE/ITDS). The FMCSA is a leading partner in developing and testing these systems for the U.S. northern and southern border operations. FMCSA is vigorously enforcing safetymstandards against foreign vehicles and drivers on both the northern and southern borders to ensure that any vehicles entering the country fully comply with all U.S. safety rules.