American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves issued the following statement after the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved its long overdue surface transportation bill:
â€śATA is very pleased that the committee, under Chairman Micaâ€™s leadership, has been able to, for the first time in more than six years, advance substantive highway policy legislation. While no bill is perfect, this proposal will do a great deal to advance the cause of highway safety and to maintain and expand our decaying infrastructure.
â€śAmong the portions of this bill that ATA is particularly gratified to see are the creation of a clearinghouse for positive drug and alcohol tests by commercial drivers and the strengthening of commercial drivers license testing guidelines to ensure that carriers are hiring only the most qualified drivers as well as directives to study crashworthiness standards for large trucks and set standards for the expanded use of electronic logging devices to make trucks even safer than they are now.
â€śATA is also pleased that this bill will streamline and refocus the federal transportation program on projects in the national interest like freight movement to ensure that federal user fees, like the more than $8 billion in diesel tax the trucking industry pays annually, goes to benefit the companies and individuals paying those taxes and not to non-highway pet projects.â€śFinally, it is disappointing that the Committee voted to prevent the operation of safer, more efficient trucks on our nationâ€™s highways. There have already been hundreds of studies that show increasing truck productivity reduces truck miles traveled, which not only reduces accident risk, congestion and emissions, but also will ultimately save money in reduced highway maintenance costs. We hope that Congress will see that wasting taxpayer money on further study is not necessary and as this legislation moves forward, enacts these long overdue reforms.