ATA and 37 Organizations Urge Congress to Pass Highway Funding Bill
By Dan Boaz
We're gradually heading toward a funding crisis for our national road transportation network which will impact all nationwide trucking companies to varying degrees. A very clear and pointed message has been sent by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and a coalition of 37 other organizations to Congress expressing that the lack of an extended highway bill has dire potential consequences for the industry and the economy.
Based on news from Washington the government are no nearer to agreeing on a long-term highway funding program and instead alternative proposals for devolution are receiving deeper consideration, proposals that will cause regional differences to accelerate and see funding less equitably applied. Such measures could lead to a precarious future for our national highway system.
The organizations submitted a letter to Congress warning about the numerous problems that devolving the federal highway plan would be likely to bring and stated that Congress needs to instead pass an appropriate long-term plan as soon as feasible. One such measure being opposed is the Transportation Empowerment Act (TEA) that was studied during the previous session of Congress. ATA President and CEO Bill Graves expanded on the issues;
“As the nation’s primary movers of interstate commerce, a uniform transportation system is of paramount importance. Congress should reject dangerous calls to abdicate its Constitutional responsibility to manage and fund the federal highway program and instead, pass a strong, long-term highway bill this spring.”
It's a major concern that this battle looks like it will be a prolonged one with supporters of devolution seeking new measures that would essentially move responsibility for roads from the federal budget to the individual states, forever changing the roles within a national highway program. I wonder what the transportation situation could look like if individual states are to run out of funds or slash highway funding to balance spending. If a bill similar to TEA is passed it would see something in the region of 90% of maintenance funding being moved to the state level as opposed to a national federal program.
Other coalition signatures came the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (ASHTO), the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, UPS, FedEx, several of the nation’s largest trucking fleets and Volvo Trucks.
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