Train And Rail More Important Then Trucking?
As concerns and fear mounts due to the failure to agree on a long-term solution to the Highway Trust Fund, it appears that we’re no closer to a solution none the less. Despite President Obama’s appeared approval to fund the Highway Trust Fund, when the ATA looked into Obama’s proposal, they found some interesting facts.
“President Obama has talked more about the need to address our critical infrastructure deficit than any president in the past 20 years,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said. “While the President’s plan supports a growing program, we cannot help but be very disappointed in much of the plan his administration has put forward.
“It is clear that this administration is aiming to hijack the Highway Trust Fund and convert it into a fund to finance a myriad of projects to benefit interests that do not pay user fees into the Fund,” said ATA Executive Vice President Dave Osiecki.
ATA also expressed frustration with the administration’s limited recognition the nation’s leading freight transportation mode.
“While trucks move nearly 70% of all U.S. freight, this proposal uses the words ‘truck,’ ‘trailer’ or ‘motor carrier’ just 91 times, while referencing ‘train’ or ‘rail’ a remarkable 518 times,” Osiecki said, “and even more disheartening, the only reference to trucking in the administration’s announcement is a proposal by the Department of Transportation to impose a one-size-fits-all compensation model on an incredibly diverse industry – an extraordinarily misguided proposal for a Department that claims to be data-driven.”
We reported a few weeks ago that we thought an agreement was near. Obama proposed to fund the Highway Trust Fund with $302 million dollars. Republicans announced an alternate plan for $126.5 billion dollars. Although this appears to be worlds apart, we felt that both parties may come to an agreement. We hoped for a long-term solution but after reading the proposal, as the ATA has noted, we’re not sure where Obama stands.
On 27 different occasions, the Highway Trust Fund was funded for a short term. Obama has already cost coal truck drivers a lot of jobs. Why his main focus is on train and rail is beyond me when trucking is our nation’s leading transportation providers. I’m not happy about it and you shouldn’t be either. If we don’t have Obama’s full support on funding, we may just see number 28.