THE importance of a strong and united trucking industry is especially important when it comes to influencing federal legislation, said Lana Batts, president of the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA).
"I agree with the American Trucking Associations' motto of first in class with advocacy," she told members of the National Tank Truck Carriers at the annual meeting May 16-18 in Atlanta, Georgia.
She said lobbying efforts must be pooled to obtain influence on Capitol Hill, especially in order to compete with those lobbying in behalf of the public who are critical of the industry. "The public believes a truck is a truck," she said. Public misunderstanding of the industry and its many diversities can be passed on in legislation that may prove harmful not only to the industry, but to the safety-conscious community.
"We know this is going to be a different kind of environment that we will be dealing with in the next millennium," she said.
Contending with these problems requires an industry that is not fragmented. TCA has always been an advocacy association, promoting the philosophy of groups coming together to solve common problems, a definition of an association, she said.
The TCA has abolished its individual political action committee (PAC) and become part of the one overseen by ATA.
In addition to the benefits of a united front for lobbying, the industry can combine resources to impact public relations and improve the image of trucking, she said. Despite the advantages of combining forces, she emphasized that representatives from the various areas of trucking should have input at the table for planning and policy.