USDOT revises lobbying, subscription rules for grantees

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) issued a memo yesterday to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) grantees, including organizations such as Drivewyze and HELP, Inc., who provide weigh-in motion (WIM) sensors throughout the country.

Both Drivewyze and HELP, Inc. companies received “official notification” via email from MoDOT in April that they were recommended for the “contingent award” of “Commercial Motor Vehicle Electronic Preclearance and Bypass System.”

The memo outlines revisions to the eligibility of “Memberships, Subscriptions, & Professional Activity Costs (Dues and Memberships) Within FMCSA Grants. The revisions put stricter limits in place describing how FMCSA monies can be used.

Per the memo, FMCSA grantees cannot spend the monies on lobbying organizations, travel and related expenses beyond federal per diem rules, or funding non-public entities. Membership in business, technical, and professional organizations is allowed under the restrictions, as are subscriptions to the same.

Beyond the Drama: HELP vs. Drivewyze

The revision comes within weeks of questions within and outside of the Capitol regarding Missouri’s WIM station provider, HELP, Inc. Missouri is the only state in the union that does not own its WIMs.

Because HELP, Inc. owns the current sensors, it seems likely that Drivewyze will have to install a second set of sensors at each of the 19 WIM stations throughout the state. Drivewyze only sought to install WIMs at eight stations based on their own customer demand.

A legislative proposal from Rep. T.J. Berry regarding potential conflicts of interest between state officials and HELP Inc. was voted down on the House floor recently. MoDOT has not yet been required to promulgate rules regarding WIMs or bypass stations by the legislature.

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The revision went into effect on May 1, 2017.

The full memo can be read below.

[embeddoc url=”http://themissouritimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Eligibility-of-Membershipts-Subscriptions-professional-Activity-Costs….pdf” download=”all”]

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Rachael Herndon Dunn

Rachael Herndon is the managing editor at The Missouri Times, but also produces This Week in Missouri Politics and publishes Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in 2014, returning to writing after working as a campaign and legislative staffer. Rachael studied at the University of Missouri - Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children. To contact Rachael, email rachael@themissouritimes.com, or via Twitter @TheRachDunn.

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