By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory affairs & assistant general counsel, ARTBA

The Obama Administration is facing a May 16 deadline to push through any new regulatory initiatives. Rules not finalized by that date will become subject to the Congressional Review Act (CRA) and could be overturned by the next Congress or president, according to a Feb. 10 report by the Congressional Research Service.

ARTBA has been warning for months about a potential uptick in regulatory activity as the Obama Administration nears the end of its second term.  The May 16 deadline could further prompt the Democratic Administration to use the regulatory process to achieve policy goals that are objectionable to the Republican-controlled House and Senate.

Specifically worth watching is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s proposed rule on exposure to crystalline silica, which is being reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget. The rule could be issued in final form before May 16 to avoid a possible CRA challenge. ARTBA has raised serious concerns about the crystalline silica proposal, noting that it threatens the safety of highway workers and motorists, among other problems.

ARTBA will continue to monitor this and all regulatory activity impacting the transportation construction industry up to and beyond the May 16 deadline.  Please contact me with any questions.