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Entries in American Trucking Associations (6)


Highway Trust Fund is on fumes and time is running out

"That’s why the American Trucking Associations is calling on Congress to endorse the Build America Fund — our solution to fund the modernization of our deteriorating network of roads and bridges. The BAF would be supported with a federal fuel usage fee built into the price of wholesale transportation fuels collected at the terminal rack, phased in at a nickel per year over four years. The fee would be indexed to both inflation and improvements in fuel efficiency, with a five percent annual cap."

It’s Infrastructure Week, and if potholes, watermain breaks and failing bridges from coast to coast aren’t enough to motivate Congress into action, then maybe another piece of dire news will: America is once again hurtling toward a highway funding cliff that should sound alarms for lawmakers, particularly budget hawks. 

For decades, we have relied on the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) — which is financed primarily by the federal fuel tax that we all pay at the pump — to help repair and maintain our nation’s roads and bridges.  And for decades, this funding mechanism has received broad bipartisan support as the most efficient and effective way to fund and maintain our nation’s roads and bridges. 

But the federal fuel tax has remained flat since 1993, and the HTF, unable to keep pace with demands, is now running on fumes. Estimates show the U.S. will need about $20 billion annually — in addition to current projected user fee revenue — to avoid reductions in highway, transit and safety investments.  If no action is taken by 2020, the Highway Trust Fund will be flat broke.

At that point, lawmakers face some very difficult choices.  They can raid the general treasury — Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars — to keep the Highway Trust Fund afloat, as has been done several times since 2008. That option relies on us borrowing more money from overseas, driving up our national debt at the expense of future generations.  Alternatively, they could allow the HTF to fail, causing the cancellation or delay of critical transportation projects and throwing hundreds of thousands of people out of work.  This would force states to do Congress’ job, starting with the cancelation of projects even earlier than 2020 given all the uncertainty.

Read on…

Chris Spear is president and CEO of American Trucking Associations.


Automation and the Truck Driver

Transport Topics

June 20, 2017

Automated vehicle technology is coming to trucking, but what will that mean for the truck driver?

This was a prominent topic during Transport Topics’ LiveOnWeb program last week featuring American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear, autonomous vehicle consultant Richard Bishop and Josh Switkes, CEO of truck-platooning firm Peloton Technology.

While conversations about automation often drift toward fully autonomous trucks, that’s still decades away, Spear said.

“I think driver-assist is where we need to put our energy,” he said. “I think that’s the most reachable goal within the next few years, and it could yield tremendous benefits if it’s done right.”

Drivers who are working today will not be put out of work by automation, especially with freight volumes expected to grow and the driver shortage expected to worsen, Peloton’s Switkes said.

“Yes, over time, automation will reduce the number of drivers needed, but for the foreseeable future, that’s just going to slow down the growth of the shortage,” he said. “Eventually, it’ll reduce the driver shortage. The time in the future when there are fewer drivers needed than the amount of drivers we have today is far off.


Trucking groups question Trump’s push for highway privatization

Commercial Carrier Journal

May 31, 2017

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year has drawn tepid reactions from some trucking groups, particularly over his call for allowing greater tolling efforts on U.S. Interstates.

Trump’s budget, as noted Monday, proposes removing the ban on tolling existing Interstate lanes, according to most interpretations, along with slashing billions from the Department of Transportation’s annual budget, greater privatization of public rest stops and attempts to drum up investment from private companies for highway projects.

Several trucking groups, however, have balked at Trump’s proposal to fund highways via tolls, as have anti-toll groups, obviously. Others, such as the International Bridge, Turnpike and Tunnel Association, have expressed tepid support, arguing any step toward boosting highway funding is better than no steps.

Read on...


New Poll Shows Public Supports Federal Infrastructure Investment

Majority of Americans Believe a Tax Increase is Necessary to Repair Roads

American Trucking Associations

October 20, 2015

A new national poll released today found strong support for federal investment in highway infrastructure.

The poll, the second commissioned by American Trucking Associations, was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies between August 30 and September 1, surveyed 800 registered voters on their attitudes about politics, the trucking industry and the state of infrastructure.

“The results of this poll should be taken very seriously by members of Congress as they work to complete a long-term highway bill,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “This poll tells us the American people now believe what we’ve been saying for some time: our roads and bridges are in need of repair and we need to raise revenue to do it.”

Among the poll’s findings were:

  • Infrastructure spending is second only to education (by a 64-60 margin) the area the public thinks more money needs to be spent.
  • The number of people who believe more needs to be spent on infrastructure has risen 12 points – from 48% in 2014 to 60% this year.
  • Forty percent of the public thinks infrastructure should be a top priority for federal spending.
  • Sixty-three percent of Americans believe our roads and bridges are not being properly maintained.
  • And a majority of Americans – 53% - believe it will be necessary to raise taxes to properly maintain roads and bridges.

Read on...

Presentation of National Trucking Survey by ATA


TA’s Graves Criticizes DOT Truck Productivity Report: Release of Self-Acknowledged Incomplete Study Timed to Color Current Debate

American Trucking Associations

June 5, 2015

Today, American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves lambasted the U.S. Department of Transportation for releasing a long overdue study on the potential impacts of changing truck size and weight limits that they say should not be used as a basis for policy:

“Given the timing of the release of this study, it is an obvious attempt to promote administration policy, rather than give Congress the unbiased information it requested. It is appalling that after years of saying the study would not make recommendations, DOT officials would release this report – and recommend no change in current law – just days after the White House came out opposing truck productivity increases.

Our experience as an industry, as seen by the safe and efficient use of twin 33-foot trailers in the states of Florida and North Dakota, shows the obvious benefits of this configuration,” he said. “As flimsy as this report is, it at least acknowledges these more productive combinations will improve efficiency, saving American consumers billions of dollars.   Read on…

USDOT Release

Technical Reports on Truck Size and Weight


Obama’s 2015 Budget Proposes $73 Billion for Surface Transportation

“Today’s proposed budget misses the mark when it comes to the transportation needs of the U.S. economy,” ATA President Bill Graves said in a statement. “It provides no real funding solutions for the long-term health of our infrastructure and proposes massive new subsidies for a mode that moves a small proportion of America’s freight and passengers,” a reference to rail.

2015 Administration Budget for Federal Highway Administration

Click here for complete article > Transport Topics

March 4, 2014

President Obama’s budget proposal includes $73.61 billion for surface transportation spending in fiscal year 2015, a 1.8% increase over this year’s level as part of a four-year, $302.3 billion surface transportation plan.

The Federal Highway Administration takes up nearly two-thirds of the plan, or $199.2 billion.

In a March 4 press briefing, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said better freight movement is one of his priorities, and the budget includes $10 billion over four years that covers highway, rail and port projects.