Outlined below is a summary of current legislative issues and TLPA's position on the issues:
TLPA Opposes NLRB Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: On February 10, 2011, TLPA President Robert McBride and the Executive Committee met and decided to notify all TLPA members operating in the U.S. of TLPA's opposition to the new National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The proposed rulemaking would require almost all private sector employers in the U.S. to post a biased notice informing employees of their rights including the right to join a union and bargain collectively. Comments were due by February 22, 2011. Those opposed to this proposed federal mandate, were asked to file a comment of opposition. The hope would be that due to over-whelming opposition from the business community, the NLRB would revise or withdraw the proposal. For a copy of TLPA's Legislative Alert, click here. For a copy of the best opposition comment filed thus far, click here.
Minimize Federal Regulation
The impetus of TLPA's formation in 1917 was to keep the federal government out of the regulation and taxation of local passenger transportation. A guiding principle of TLPA's government relations program is still local determination of passenger needs combined with state or local regulation. On the federal front, we currently support the repeal of the gas guzzler tax that is imposed on stretch limousines.
Oppose Expansion of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR)
TLPA opposes the recent expansion of DOT's general safety provisions of FMCSR to stretch sedan limousines designed to seat 9 to 15 passengers (including the driver) used in interstate transportation. Regulations designed to make long distance truck, bus and van driving safer are not reasonable for stretch sedan and limousine operators.
TLPA is seeking to exempt stretch sedan limousines from this new regulation.
Support Contracting Rights
Federal and state taxes fund many billions of dollars worth of transportation for the general public as well as for targeted populations such as the disabled, low income, medically ill, and elderly. TLPA works in Congress and at federal regulatory agencies to promote public-private partnerships and expand private operator rights to participate under contract in publicly sponsored passenger transportation programs as a partner with public transit, social service agency transportation, and non-emergency medical transportation. As Congress moves forward with the reauthorization of the federal transit program, TLPA will work for improved private operator rights.
Protect Independent Contractor Status of Drivers
Over 90% of taxicab drivers and 50% of executive sedan and limousine drivers are independent contractors. These entrepreneurial individuals are often more efficient and more focused on serving their customers. TLPA works in several coalitions to monitor and act on any legislative or regulatory proposal that may impact the independent contractor status of drivers.
Legislative accomplishments include:
||Throughout 2006, TLPA filed several sets of comments to the Federal
Transit Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation on
regulatory proceedings to implement provisions TLPA supported in the
passage of SAFETEA-LU.
|| On August 10, President Bush signed the Safe, Accountable, Flexible
Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU)
into law. SAFETEA-LU is the most pro-private operator transit reauthorization
bill ever. The law includes TLPA’s call for the repeal of the anti-private sector
planning provision as well as the adoption of the New Freedom Program,
significant labor reform, a collaborative planning process, and much more.
||The U.S. Senate passed the very pro-private operator transit reauthorization bill, however, the U.S. House of Representatives' reauthorization legislation was not good for private oprators. Before the Senate and House could resolve the differences in the two bills, Congress adjourned.
||The administration's transit reauthorization proposal (SAFETEA) includes most of the issues TLPA is promoting to be adopted in the reauthorization.
||H.R. 2546, The Real Interstate Driver Equity Act, successfully completed its journey through Congress on November 12th, after several years of effort. President Bush signed the bill into law on November 26th.
||H.R. 2546, a bill drafted by TLPA to resolve duplicate licensing requirements for pre-arranged interstate transportation and to define taxicab service, passed the U.S. House of Representatives by unanimous consent. We anticipate that in 2002, H.R. 2546 will pass the U.S. Senate and be signed into law by President Bush.
||Our bill to resolve duplicate licensing by multiple states for pre-arranged interstate passenger travel passed a House Committee, but Congress adjourned before the bill passed the full Congress. Efforts continue to resolve this matter with the new administration.
||Defeated a provision in the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 to apply the truck and bus industries' requirement for Commercial Drivers License (CDL) and drug testing to drivers of vehicles that seat 9 to 15 passengers (including the driver).
Succeeded in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) to:
||Expand the exemption from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) beyond taxicabs that seat 6 or fewer passengers to all for-hire vehicles that seat 8 passengers or fewer (including the driver).
||Assure that private operators may participate in the newly created Access to Jobs transportation program.
||Mandate a study on the effects of contracting transit services to private operators.
||Defeat the attempt to expand CDL's and drug testing requirements to vehicles that seat 9 to 15 passengers (including the driver).
||Succeeded in convincing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to issue audit guidelines to determine when limousine drivers qualify to be classified as independent contractors.
||Defeated an effort to give the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the authority to auction metropolitan-wide overlay licenses that would have threatened the ongoing viability of the majority of the existing dispatch systems of TLPA member companies.
||Defeated federal regulatory effort to impose a uniform fare structure on all taximeters. A vote, held in the House of Representatives, narrowly failed to repeal the anti-private sector, union-protection provision of Section 13(c) of the Federal Transit Act.
||Held national membership legislative conference to oppose national health care proposal. Hundreds of members came to Washington, DC to hear Congressional presentations on the proposal and participate in meetings on Capitol Hill to express the industry's viewpoint on the issue. The proposal was defeated.
||Succeeded in staving off the FCC's effort to consolidate the Taxicab Radio Service into a general business pool of frequencies.
||Succeeded in fending off transit labor union efforts to impede private operator rights to participate in the federal transit program through contracts for service provision.
||Defeated an attempt by an IRS regional office to more restrictively define the characteristics of a legitimate independent contractor relationship in the taxicab industry.
||Served on the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) advisory board to implement the transportation elements of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). The regulation enhanced contracting opportunities and clarified that for-hire sedans including taxicabs and limousines are not required to be wheelchair accessible.
||Succeeded in having the FCC allocate tertiary frequencies to the Taxicab Radio Service.
||Succeeded in making the participation of private operators be mandatory in FTA's public transit planning process.
||Defeated effort by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to interfere in the local regulation of the taxicab industry, which led to Congress changing the federal antitrust laws to allow states to give their cities the right to regulate industries in the public interest.
||Succeeded in having the Federal Transit Administration issue the Private Enterprise Participation Policy to implement the private operator inclusion provisions of the Federal Transit Act.
||Succeeded in having the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issue the Paratransit Policy Statement that for the first time officially recognized the importance and the rights of private for-hire vehicle operators.
||Succeeded in having Congress order the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to include taxicabs in the top civilian priority to receive fuel allocations during that time of fuel rationing.
||Succeeded in having Congress adopt legislation granting a two-year 4 cents per gallon fuel tax rebate for taxicabs. Over the years, the temporary program was passed four more times by Congress, and lasted ten years before it expired in 1988.
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