American Trucking Associations officials expressed their disappointment in the transportation plan put forward by the Obama administration on April 29. They called the plan shortsighted and “like looking for nickels in the couch cushions.”
“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.
“Any proposal that moves away from a user fee funded transportation system is not going to be acceptable to the American trucking industry, period. Furthermore, we have real questions about the viability of the administration’s plan to use one-time proceeds from an unspecified and unlikely to pass corporate tax reform idea, along with inefficient highway tolling or private capital financing. The focus must be on real, long-term funding answers rather than repeatedly looking for the proverbial ‘nickels in the couch cushions.”
ATA Executive Vice-President Dave Osiecki said: “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.”
ATA also expressed frustration with the administration’s limited recognition the nation’s leading freight transportation mode. “While trucks move nearly 70% of all US 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.”