The American Trucking Associations (ATA) applauds the leaders of the US House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and its Highways and Transit Subcommittee for its draft of a 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 Bill Graves, ATA president and chief executive officer.
The Surface Transportation Authorization Act 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 that could address highway freight bottlenecks identified by ATA as 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 used 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% of communities rely exclusively on highways for their freight needs. Further diversion of Highway Trust Fund revenue to non-highway projects cannot be justified.
The trucking group appreciates the committee's efforts to establish a Uniform Permitting Program for hazardous materials transporters. 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.