ATA Applauds New Strategies for Surface Transportation
Posted on : 19-06-2009 | By : Truckdriversnews | In : Thoughts from a trucker, truck driver Industry
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) applauds the leaders of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and its Highways and Transit Subcommittee for its draft of a comprehensive transportation and infrastructure plan for the future.
“This proposal sends a strong signal that reform and expansion of the federal transportation program is essential. Timely authorization of the bill is critical to ensure continuity of funding for important highway infrastructure projects,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves.
The Surface Transportation Authorization Act (STAA) embraces many of ATA’s priorities. It requires recipients of federal funds to meet performance standards related to safety, infrastructure condition, congestion reduction and emissions, and recognizes the economic role of freight transportation by establishing a Freight Improvement Program that dedicates money to the National Highway System (NHS). The bill includes new programs which could address highway freight bottlenecks identified by ATA as significant barriers to freight mobility and emphasizes maintenance of NHS highways and bridges.
ATA commends the Committee for recognizing that tolling and public-private partnerships should be utilized responsibly. ATA is concerned about the proposal to expand congestion pricing and cautions against redirecting money from highways to fund non-highway projects. The nation depends on highways for mobility, and 80 percent of communities rely exclusively on highways for their freight needs. Further diversion of Highway Trust Fund revenue to non-highway projects cannot be justified.
ATA looks forward
to working with the Committee to identify tools necessary for states to meet emissions and carbon reduction targets. “We believe that significant environmental progress can be made by enacting a national 65 mph speed limit for all vehicles and governing the speed of all heavy-duty trucks at 65 mph,” said Graves. “Also, allowing the safe operation of more produ ctive, environmentally friendly trucks will go a long way to reduce carbon emissions.”
ATA strongly supports many improvements to federal motor carrier safety program, including a national clearinghouse for drug and alcohol test results; funding for state employer notification systems that meet federal standards; creation of a safety proficiency exam for new carriers entering the industry; the creation of a national registry of certified me
dical examiners; new penalties for States without primary safety belt and ignition interlock laws; and streamlining of several safety grant programs. ATA looks forward to working w ith the Committee to ensure that electronic logging proposals will promote real safety gains and be operationally sound and economically viable.
ATA appreciates the Committee’s efforts to establish a Uniform Permitting Program for hazardous materials tra
nsporters. Unfortunately, other hazmat transportation proposals are unlikely to improve safety. In particular, ATA opposes banning the transportation of flammable liquids in piping under a tank truck. ATA looks forward to discussing with the Committee a number of hazmat transportation program reforms that will improve safety and productivity.
SOURCE American Trucking Associations
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