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Meeting Summary Emergency Route Working Group - June 27-28, 2017

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Meeting Summary/Minutes
Emergency Route Working Group
June 27-28, 2017

Committee Members:

Brent Baker, John Berg, Michael Callahan, Richard Cofer, Patti Earley, Michael Frego, Tom Kearny, Jonathan Mallard, Tom Moran, Steve Park, Joe Salamy, David Schilling, Jeff Short, Michael Temple, Steven Todd, David White, Bill Wondrachek

Public Participants:

Tom Bittleman, Wayne Davis, Anita Ducca, Katelyn Dwyer, Chris Eisenbrey, Mary Kenkel, Claire Mansbock, Kelly Moss

Date and Time:

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 – Wednesday, June 28, 2017


U.S. Department of Transportation Conference Center
1200 New Jersey Ave SE, Washington, D.C. 20590


Discuss the challenges associated with emergency permitting and routing of vehicles before, during, and after emergencies; review the draft report with the intent of having clear steps forward for a final draft by the end of the meeting.

U.S. DOT and Consultant Staff:

Crystal Jones (FHWA), Designated Federal Officer (DFO),
Laurence O’Rourke (ICF), Jessica Klion (ICF), Taylor Gestwick (ICF)

Meeting Summary:

The discussion followed the issues and general timing presented in the meeting agenda (Attachment A). Below is a summary of the discussion during this fourth meeting of the Emergency Route Working Group.

Getting Started:

Crystal Jones (DFO) provided opening remarks, making comments on the agenda and the previous meeting’s draft minutes. The primary focus of the meeting was to go over the draft report, which was shared with the group prior to the in-person committee meeting. The intent of the meeting was to move the group closer to a final report, which was expected to be delivered to the Secretary in August 2017.

Draft Report to the Secretary – Discussion:

The group discussed the draft report in detail during the meeting, focusing both on content and structure. In general the committee felt that the draft provided a strong framework but needed to be refined prior to submittal. The group determined that the draft report should be reformatted to shorten the executive summary and further emphasize the purpose and recommendations. The new format should include more background information in appendices; keeping the main part of the report more concise and readable. In addition, the group determined that adding an acronyms and definitions section at the front of the document would be beneficial and ensure that the reader is clear about what is being discussed.

A major point of debate during the discussion of the draft report was the inclusion of overweight vehicles. While some committee members felt that discussion of overweight vehicles should be emphasized as much as over dimensional vehicles, others felt weight should be de-emphasized. Although weight is an important permitting issue, it is a more contentious issue. Some committee members expressed concern that the inclusion of weight in the report, and specifically in the recommendations, would result in fewer recommendations being moved forward by the Secretary.

Recommendation Prioritization and Action Planning

Significant discussion of the draft report focused on prioritizing and refining the recommendations of the Emergency Route Working Group. Initially, the draft report included 13 recommendations for the Secretary that would assist in expediting the issuance of permits for over dimensional vehicles involved in emergency response. At the end of the first day of the meeting, five recommendations had been removed or combined with other recommendations. During the second day, two additional recommendations were combined with the others. The committee ended the meeting with 6 recommendations for the Secretary.

Although the committee intended to spend much of the meeting defining action items for each recommendation, much of this work did not occur during the meeting itself. Instead, the committee focused their efforts on re-wording and re-ordering the recommendations. This effort to re-word and re-order ensured that all committee members were clear on the intent of and comfortable with the contents of each recommendation included in the final report. In addition, the effort helped ensure that the highest priority recommendations were included in the beginning of the recommendation section.

Through the discussion, recommendations involving auto-issuance of permits for all vehicles (even those that are over dimensional or overweight), as well as harmonization of permitting requirements, were deemed to be the highest priority.

Next Steps:

The next in-person committee meetings were scheduled to be held August 8-9 and September 27-28 in Washington, DC. The goal of the August meeting is to complete the draft report such that it could be submitted to the Secretary on August 9. Prior to the meeting, the committee will provide additional inputs for the draft report. The report will be distributed to the committee prior to the August meeting for review.

Attachment A

Emergency Route Working Group
US DOT Conference Center
27 June – Media Center 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
28 June – Oklahoma Room ABC 8:30 to 12:30pm
1200 New Jersey Ave., Washington DC 20590


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

8:30 AM

Getting Started

Crystal Jones, DFO
Chairman Michael Callahan

9:00 – 12:00 PM Draft Report to the Secretary - Discussion
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM Lunch
1:30 - 3:00 PM Draft Report to the Secretary - Discussion
3:00 - 3:15 PM Break
3:15 – 4:30 PM Recommendation Prioritization and Action Planning
4:30 PM Adjournment for the Day

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Recommendation Prioritization and Action Planning

11:00 AM – 11:15 AM Break
11:15 AM - 12:30 PM Next Steps
12:30 PM Meeting Adjournment


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