TopNews

Trucking Group Pushing Alternative to Obama Highway Funding Plan

May 1, 2014

SHARING TOOLS        | Print Subscribe

A national coalition of transportation companies said it supports major components within President Obama’s four-year $302 billion transportation plan released this week, however, there is one area in which it disagrees.

The Trucking Alliance, also know as The Alliance for Driver Safety & Security, is urging Congress to create new revenue for the nation’s infrastructure by increasing the federal diesel fuel tax rate, rather than giving states more authority to toll highways, as President Obama’s plan would do.

The administration’s plan currently does not call for any fuel tax hike, with neither many Democrats or Republicans at least supporting one in an election year, however, such an increase is still being discussed, including by one high-ranking Senate member.

“I applaud the President for proposing a long-term transportation plan and most of it is needed and workable,” said Steve Williams, chairman of the Trucking Alliance and CEO of the trucking company Maverick USA “But our congressional leaders must recognize that the only way to quickly repair our crumbling roads and bridges and improve safety for motorists is to increase user fees on a major industry that is already willing to pay them.”

The Obama administration’s proposal to give states more authority to toll highways is problematic, Williams said, but if Congress doesn’t allow the trucking industry to pay more to help repair highways and bridges, “tolling could be the nation’s only option by default.”

Williams cited a study released yesterday by the American Transportation Research Institute, of which he is also chairman, in which it’s estimated that congestion on the nation’s Interstate highways added more than $9.2 billion in operational costs to the trucking industry in 2013.

“If congestion is costing the trucking industry more than $9.2 billion per year, imagine the total cost in lost productivity on every citizen and the time we waste sitting in traffic going to or from work each day,” he said.

Lane Kidd, managing director of the Trucking Alliance, said that billions of dollars are needed to just bring highways back to the quality they were decades ago.

“The risk we run by Congress doing nothing will be more traffic accidents, more highway congestion, unsafe roads, possible bridge disasters, and a distribution network that could slip behind many industrialized countries,” he said.

Kidd pointed out Congress hasn’t raised the diesel fuel tax rate since 1993, almost 21 years ago.

“Highways don’t get better with age like fine wine,” added Kidd. “Highways require more maintenance over time, and that means more money, for the safety of our motorists, our truck drivers, and our nation’s economy,” he said.

Despite this major difference the Trucking Alliance says there are proposals in the Obama administration’s highway funding plan that it supports including:

  • Reducing project approval timelines;
  • Greater emphasis on intermodal shipping;
  • More rapid environmental reviews;
  • Funding to bolster efficient and reliable freight networks;
  • Giving the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration authority to recall electronic logging devices if the devices fail to meet certification requirements; and
  • Making sure that drug offenders do not receive a commercial drivers license until they have completed a rehabilitation program.

The American Trucking Associations long ago went on record when it comes to supporting a fuel-tax hike earmarked toward highway and bridge projects.

The Trucking Alliance includes trucking companies Maverick Transportation, Knight Transportation, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Dupre Logistics and others. It has spoken out in favor of other issues involving the trucking industry including mandatory speed limiters on trucks, electronic logging devices for drivers and other safety issues.

Comments

  1. 1. Dick Gaib [ May 02, 2014 @ 05:02AM ]

    9.2 billion in lost in operational cost to the industry, and delays because of congestion, all cost us all money. Lets talk about lost time because of these delays. 1. kill the 1am-5am restarts. 2. Why, both increase delayed production
    by making more trucks travel at the cities most busy times. 3 As has just been proposed by the administration, pay drivers for delays in loading & unloading. 4. Pay drivers the real miles, and fastest route, that trucks can legally travel, including outer belt miles. 5. Only award projects to companies, that have a record of finishing on time. Ohio, fixed that by putting a bonus by finishing on time, and it worked. Compared to Pa.
    6. Proof of increase in safety in construction site accidents, proof is the less traffic, the less accidents. Sorry, I forgot, these ideas will most likely not be considered, as I am a old truck driver, 48 yrs, experience and over 3 mil. safe miles. In addition, today's car drivers, have no respect for our size, and inability to stop on a dime. Maybe we need to make cameras, a required item on cars, and require the law enforcement to review them, before saying it must be the big rigs fault.

  2. 2. Amish Trucker [ May 02, 2014 @ 08:09AM ]

    Another example of how this "Trucking Alliance" is hiding behind the safety curtain and the government's skirts to push their own agenda. That being the elimination of the smaller carrier in favor of bulging their own pockets. Conservative economists will argue "the market" will cull the herd naturally. What they fail to realize is large corporations and coalitions of large corporations along with their lobbyists are like tourists in the old west shooting at the herd from their train windows. It's not in print but I am sure the alliance is thinking the fuel tax increase would "level the playing field" in that all carriers would pay proportionately vs. increased toll roads which a smaller carrier may have more of an opportunity to avoid. I think they also know the fuel tax is an archaic system that procures less value due to the current market driven increase in fuel mpg and the pending legislatively mandated increases. They know with their buying power they can improve their efficiencies more easily than the smaller guy, yet they have no interest in "leveling the playing field" by sharing those economies of scale. Lastly, if they feel the idea of tolling should be taken from the state's hands, why aren't they working on other relevant state issues such as Michigan counties and townships being able to arbitrarily enact road weight limits, not being required to identify those roads with signage, and law enforcement ignoring the probable cause requirement to pull over large trucks? All of which is supported by local courts trying to pull revenue from interstate trucking.

  3. 3. Paul Juhan [ May 03, 2014 @ 11:38AM ]

    What about starting the federal excise tax again that way the whole nation would be contributing

 

Comment On This Story

Name:  
Email:  
Comment: (Maximum 2000 characters)  
Leave this field empty:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.

Newsletter

We offer e-newsletters that deliver targeted news and information for the entire fleet industry.



GotQuestions?

LUBRICANTS

The expert, Mark Betner from Citgo will answer your questions
Ask a question

Sponsored by


WHEEL ENDS SOLUTIONS

Wheel end expert Jeff Geist from STEMCO will answer your questions
Ask a question

Sponsored by

Magazine