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WVTA Buyers Guide


Press Archive

While the statement, “Congestion and crumbling roads are killing our economy,” sounds strong, it’s the truth.

A report from the American Transportation Research Institute found that congestion cost the trucking industry $9.2 billion -- that’s with a B – just last year. 

Our roads and bridges, built and designed in the 20th century, can no longer keeps pace with the economy of the 21st.


It is against this backdrop that we at the West Virginia Trucking Association, our national affiliate the American Trucking Associations and dozens of other groups are celebrating Infrastructure Week to draw attention to the crisis we’re facing.

There is nothing, nothing, more important to trucking than a strong federal highway program that insures that commerce can move safely and efficiently on well-maintained roads and bridges.

Right now, nearly a third of our major highways are in poor or mediocre condition and as a country, we’re only spending a third of what’s necessary to change that. At the federal level, only a penny of every dollar spent goes into highways. That’s not nearly enough.

The money to do all this comes from user fees – as it should – and the primary user fee is the fuel tax. This tax hasn’t been raised since 1993 – more than 20 years – in that time, the cost of everything including asphalt, concrete and steel has risen. The taxes we’re paying are buying us less and less . . . that’s not a good deal for us.

Right now, leaders in Washington are debating what to do about our infrastructure. The Highway Trust Fund that pays for it all will start bouncing checks later this summer, so we need solutions and we need them now.

The best, most efficient and frankly, easiest solution is to raise that federal fuel tax. Raising the tax to bring it back in line with construction costs will provide the funding we need for our roads and bridges – and save us from all manner of schemes like tolling or the promise of public-private partnerships.

In announcing their plan for the future of our roads and bridges, the Obama administration proposes to open up our Interstate system to tolling; creating a patchwork of inefficient, enormously expensive, and often ignored electronic tollbooths by encouraging states like West Virginia to take matter into their own hands.

This plan is flawed and it is up to the people to tell our leaders at the state and federal level that this is unacceptable. Voters and legislators in Virginia, North Carolina and Missouri already did this – rejecting plans to convert Interstates to toll roads.

Tolling is one of the options Washington is referring to when they say “All options are on the table.” What they leave out is that, all options are on the table – except the obvious one that works.

Which brings us back to the fuel tax, and the principle of user pays. The trucking industry pays 43 percent of all the user fees that go into the Highway Trust Fund, yet our trucks only account for a little more than 14 percent of the total miles traveled.

As our population continues to grow, our demand for freight will likewise continue to grow. We will need to repair and expand our transportation network to make sure that our food and fuel and medicine and other essential goods make it to their destination on time and safely.

It is imperative that we call on leaders to address this critical need now. Our country, our economy, can’t wait another day.

Jan Vineyard is president of the West Virginia Trucking Association. She is also a member of the West Virginia Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways and a board member of West Virginians for Better Transportation.

WVTA Members Receive a 2.7% discount
West Virginia Trucking Association members receive a 2.7% discount

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