American Trucking Associations (ATA) President and CEO, Bill Graves, has released a statement citing long-term highway funding legislation as crucial to keeping US highways safe and efficient.
“For decades, America's 3.2 million truck drivers have witnessed the effects of underinvestment in our highway system through their windshields,” he said.
“Our drivers see the 63,000 deficient bridges; thousands of miles of highways in poor condition and increasingly heavy congestion that pollutes our air, costs all of us money, takes time away from families and makes travel needlessly dangerous.
“All these issues are a direct result of the inadequate, inconsistent and unpredictable funding cycle that is perpetuated by the current approach of putting off passage of a long-term revenue bill.”
Graves was also critical of the fees lodged on fleet operators and transport businesses annually. “Our industry pays $18 billion each year into the federal Highway Trust Fund through taxes and fees – more than 40 per cent of total highway user fees – because the highway system is the trucking industry's workplace,” he said. “Companies that fail to maintain and modernise their plants and equipment inevitably fail. The highway system is no different.”
He added, “That is why ATA's members have long sought an increase in highway user fees. It is past time to make the investments necessary to maintain the safety and efficiency of our highways.
“We applaud the House and Senate committees for moving a short term solution forward, but extending the funding problem well into 2015, could endanger the nation's economy, the future of the trucking industry and, most importantly, the safety of truck drivers and other highway users.”