Fleet Management

ATA Sticks to Fuel-Tax Hike as Best Trust Fund Fix

April 24, 2015

By David Cullen

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Photo: Jim Park
Photo: Jim Park

With just five weeks left for Congress to act on some kind of highway-funding measure, the American Trucking Associations said on Thursday that it remains committed to seeing a surface transportation package passed this year that will ensure a long-term fix for the Highway Trust Fund.

“Roads and bridges are not Republican or Democratic. We all drive on them and they should not be a political issue,” said ATA’s Chief of Legislative Affairs Christopher Spears at a media briefing the association held in Washington, D.C. “The problem is not going to go away without a [long-term] solution.”

That fix must start with funding reform, he said, noting that the “can has a lot of dents from being kicked down the road so many times.  

The truck lobby wants to see an end to short-term HTF patches. But Spears said it doesn’t want to change the mechanism for funding highway infrastructure. “ATA will continue to advocate for increases in user fees [federal gasoline and diesel fuel taxes paid at point of purchase] indexed to inflation” to fund highway repairs and construction.”

Spears said that compared to other HTF funding proposals being floated in Washington, including funding responsibility devolving to the states and more tolling, especially of existing highways, taxing fuel is “a simple, workable system.”

But he acknowledged that hiking fuel taxes is an uphill battle. “There must be a political appetite in the House and Senate to act on it. Still, it is not a partisan issue and we are staying on message with [increasing these] user fees.”

On the regulatory front, Dave Osiecki, ATA executive vice resident and chief of national advocacy, said the association’s “first and foremost priority is to make sure the final rule on electronic logging devices stays on track to be published in September.” He added that he was “pleased to report that seems to be the case” as of now.

Osiecki and Spear also outlined other key regulatory initiatives for ATA during 2015:

  • Establishing a national clearinghouse for drug-and-alcohol testing of truck drivers that motor carriers can quickly access.
  • Allowing hair sampling as a secondary option to urinalysis to detect drug and alcohol use by drivers
  • Improving the CSA program to “ensure that scores are accurate and reliable.”
  • Keeping in suspension the 34-hour restart rule until DOT has analyzed the impact of that change.
  • Ensuring truck speed-limiter rule is adopted “as there should be no debate on implementing this rule.”
  • Pushing for development of a graduated CDL to help draw in younger recruits. Osiecki noted that age-graduated licenses are “not a new concept for passenger car drivers” and that it’s “important to conduct research on this to attract people to this industry.

Comments

  1. 1. Keith [ April 27, 2015 @ 03:33AM ]

    ATA The largest and most dangerous enemy of the smaller trucking interest. Their only stated interest is leveling the playing field for the large carriers (their largest contrbutors)
    ..They need to admit this and state honestly that all they are is a PAC.

  2. 2. winn. [ May 20, 2015 @ 01:43PM ]

    To begin with there should be some service that regulates the 14 seat shuttle bus that take passengers to the airports. In Seattle they have airport shuttle buses such as Ajax's and Ajaxru that take people from their parking lots to and from the airport .This company does not have to comply with any law. They hire anyone that walks off of the street.They do not have to have any background check no drug test. The law must be changed . The law exempts them because the shutters carry 14 people or less and at times that isn't even true because when you go to the airport to pickup passengers there can be as many any 20 passengers waiting and they only send one shuttle causing some passengers to stand with suitcases in their faces. Plus you have know idea how long the driver has been working or what jail they have just gotten out of. At Ajaxrus they have a shuttle that has a door that sticks and the driver has to fight with it to get it to open.Some of the drivers have two jobs so they could have been working already 8 or 9 hours before they drive 10 hours or more with no set rules to stop them. Since Ajax's has two lots one driver could have worked 10 hours or more at both lots

 

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