Industry News Briefs Courtesy of PMTA

March 2018

Analysis Confirms Commercial Rest Areas Limit Truck Parking Capacity

Alexandria, VA… A new report issued today by NATSO, the national association representing the truckstop and travel plaza industry, finds 69 percent more commercial truck parking spaces per mile along interstate highways where the private sector caters to the needs of the traveling public free from government competition at commercial rest areas.

The report titled, HYPERLINK ""Rest Area Commercialization and Truck Parking Capacity 2018, updates a 2010 analysis of the relationship between commercial rest areas, which are operated by the government and located directly on the Interstate right-of-way, and total truck parking capacity.

"This study highlights that commercial rest areas result in significantly fewer truck parking spaces and do not represent a viable means of expanding commercial truck parking capacity," said NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings. "This reaffirms the industry's position that truck parking is best handled by the private sector, which provides nearly 90 percent of the nation's truck parking."

Conducted by Dr. Ronald Knipling of Safety for the Long Haul Inc., the research examined the correlation between interstate corridors' total truck parking capacity and the presence of commercial rest areas on the right-of-way.

Since 1960, Federal law has prohibited the sale of food, fuel and other commercial service from rest areas located directly on the Interstate Highway System to prevent the granting of monopolies along the Interstate right-of-way. Congress permitted the continued operation of commercial rest areas in states where commercial rest areas existed prior to the enactment of the law. This study evaluated those states where grandfathered commercial rest areas continue to operate.

Using independent third-party data from 13 states to compare the number of truck parking spaces on commercialized and non-commercialized segments of the Interstate Highway System, Dr. Knipling confirmed a negative relation between the presence of commercial rest areas and total truck parking, and also found a greater negative relation than in 2010.

The research, which evaluated more than 12,000 interstate miles, found that non-commercialized interstate corridors have 6.57 truck parking spaces per mile, or 69 percent more than the 3.88 spaces per miles on the commercialized interstate segments. Non-commercialized interstate segments have, on average, one truck parking facility every 8.4 miles, compared with commercialized interstate segments with one facility every 12.8 miles. All public and private designated truck parking located within one mile of the interstates was included in the totals.

"Rest area commercialization is sometimes proposed as a means of increasing truck parking capacity along the Interstate Highway System," said Dr. Knipling. "This study underscores that the private sector is far better at meeting the parking needs for the nation's truck drivers."

ATA Congratulates Ray Martinez on Confirmation as FMCSA Administrator

Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations - and its federation partners - congratulated Ray Martinez on his confirmation as the sixth head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

"As a state safety official in both New York and New Jersey, Ray Martinez was a model of professionalism and fairness," said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. "He is an exceptional choice to lead FMCSA and now that he has been confirmed, we look forward to working with him to advance the cause of highway safety."

"I want to congratulate Ray on his confirmation to be FMCSA Administrator. He was a true safety partner when he oversaw New York's Department of Motor Vehicles, working with our industry to improve safety without resorting to unnecessary or burdensome regulations," said Kendra Hems, president of the Trucking Association of New York. "Safety has always been his top priority, and I'm certain he will make a tremendous positive impact in his new role."

"While overseeing the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, Ray was a consummate professional and we were able to work together to solve problems facing the motoring public and the trucking industry," said New Jersey Motor Truck Association Executive Director Gail Toth. "I congratulate him on his confirmation and look forward to him bringing his insight and experience as a regulator to FMCSA."

"There are many issues facing our industry - from implementation of the electronic logging device rule to needed reforms to CSA, the hours-of-service rules and much more," said ATA Chairman Dave Manning, president of TCW Inc. "From his work in New York and New Jersey, we trust Ray to be fair and safety-conscious in this new role as head of FMCSA. On behalf of ATA, I want to congratulate him on his confirmation and say we look forward being a partner with him and his agency to improve highway safety."

ATA Statement on State of the Union Address

Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear issued this statement following President Trump's State of the Union address:

"America's truckers commend President Trump for making infrastructure investment a priority of his presidency. While the state of our union is strong, the same cannot be said about the state of our roads and bridges. So therefore, we join the president in calling on Congress to work with the Administration on an infrastructure package that raises real revenue to meet the enormity of this challenge. Just as we did on tax reform, truckers are ready to help carry a solution forward.

"Roads are not a partisan issue - they're driven on by Republicans and Democrats alike. As both sides of Capitol Hill know, modernizing our infrastructure will require a substantial investment - actual, real revenue. America cannot be rebuilt with funding gimmicks and finance schemes.

"Trucking's proposal, the Build America Fund, is efficient, conservative and viable, and will generate $340 billion of real money in the first ten years. We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration and educating the public on why a fuel user fee is the most cost-effective and conservative answer to fixing our deteriorating roads and bridges."

ATA Truck Tonnage Index Rose 3.7% in 2017

Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations' advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index fell for the first time since September, losing 5.7% in December. In December, the index equaled 142.9 (2000=100), down from 151.6 in November.

For all of 2017, compared with 2016, the index was up 3.7%. This was the largest annual gain since 2013 (6.1%).

Compared with December 2016, the SA index increased 5.9%, which was down from November's 7.5% year-over-year gain, but still very strong. In October, the index surged 10.5% on a year-over-year basis.

ATA also revised its November monthly increase in the index down to a 2.1% gain from the previously reported 2.3% increase.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 141.9 in December, which was 3.4% below the previous month (146.9).

"Despite the decline in December, last year was a solid year for truck tonnage, especially during the second half of 2017," said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. "I remain optimistic for 2018 for a host of reasons, including a pick-up in factory activity, better housing construction, solid retail sales, and an expected shot in the arm from the new tax law."

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 70.6% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled nearly 10.5 billion tons of freight in 2016. Motor carriers collected $676.2 billion, or 79.8% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.

ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the 10th day of the month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons and key financial indicators.

America's Truckers Challenge Policymakers to Support Bold Infrastructure Plan

Arlington, VA… The American Trucking Associations called on policymakers to endorse its Build America Fund plan - a bold solution to fund the modernization of our deteriorating network of roads and bridges. ATA is the leading voice of the trucking industry, which employs 7.4 million men and women across the country and is the top employer in 29 states. In addition to moving more than 70% of the economy's freight tonnage, trucking plays an essential role in maintaining America's National Highway System through its support to the Highway Trust Fund.

The Build America Fund would be supported with a federal fuel user fee built into the wholesale price of transportation fuels collected at the terminal rack, phased in at a nickel per year over four years. The fee would be indexed to both inflation and improvements in fuel efficiency, with a five percent annual cap.

"Tax reform has reignited the American economy, and it is paramount that this new economic growth is supported by a strong national infrastructure. A 21st century transportation network cannot be sustained with financial tricks and finance schemes - it requires real and substantial investment," said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. "The Build America Fund is the most efficient - and conservative - way to generate infrastructure investment and adheres to the bedrock principal that users only pay for what they use."

For more on the Build America Fund, click here.

ATA estimates the Build America Fund would generate $340 billion in new revenue over the first ten years. Although trucks account for 14% of vehicle miles traveled on our roads, the trucking industry currently covers approximately 45% of the Highway Trust Fund through the commercial truck diesel and gas tax and other trucking-specific excise taxes.

"The trucking industry is putting our money where our foot is. Trucking already pays half the nation's highway funding tab, and we are ready to pay more," said Spear. "Through the Build America Fund, the trucking industry would invest upwards of an additional $112 billion into our nation's roads and bridges over the next decade. Solving a challenge of this size requires big and bold solutions, and we call on Washington to step up with us."

The average passenger vehicle would pay approximately $100 over the course of a year into the Build America Fund - an investment for which motorists will see a substantially larger return in saved time, fuel and repair expenses.

"The cost of doing nothing is far greater," said Spear. "The typical motorist is losing $1,500 each year in wasted gas and vehicle repairs because of our crumbling infrastructure, which is far greater than what they would pay into the Build America Fund.

"So-called 'creative financing' tools are a road to nowhere, as study after study shows the shortfalls of tolling and the unintended consequences that tolls impose on motorists and surrounding communities," he said. "There is nothing 'conservative' about tolling."

Studies by the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences reveal that, even when using modern technology, 12% of tolling revenue is wasted to administrative, collection and enforcement costs. By way of comparison, 99% of revenue collected through a fuel user fee is allocated to its intended purpose of maintaining infrastructure.

A June 2017 national survey found that 57% of Americans agreed that a 20-cent per-gallon federal fuel user fee is the preferable way to fund the nation's needed four trillion dollars of road, bridge and highway improvements. Comparatively, only 23% prefer placing new tolls on interstate highways, and eight percent favor a per mile fee charged to motorists. Furthermore, 67% of Americans support the Build America Fund when they learn that it would result in the government borrowing less money and reducing the debt burden on future generations.

"We support President Trump's vision to 'go big or go home' on infrastructure. To build America, we must invest in America," said Spear. "It is why President Trump has repeatedly said he wants to launch a serious infrastructure investment plan, and we call on Washington to join us in doing just that."

AFP & Freedom Partners Urge Trump Administration to Resist Calls for Federal Gas Tax Increase

Arlington, VA… Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce today joined in opposition of recent calls to increase the federal gas tax to pay for infrastructure spending. In a letter to President Trump, the organizations warned that including a proposal by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to raise the gas tax from 18.4 cents per gallon to 43.4 cents-the largest increase in the history of the tax-would undermine the benefits of recently enacted tax relief.

Freedom Partners Executive Vice President Nathan Nascimento and Americans for Prosperity Chief Government Affairs Officer Brent Gardner wrote:

"The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was a historic achievement, the benefits of which are already being realized. But increasing the gas tax would effectively undermine recent tax cuts by clawing back hundreds of billions of dollars-roughly 25 percent of the total benefit from tax reform-from low-and middle-income Americans at a time when they thought they were finally getting some relief. In 2016, the U.S. consumed 1,140 gallons of gas per household. Based on that average, American households would spend an extra $285 on gas each year under this proposal.

"Maintaining core infrastructure is an important function of government that should be carried out in the most efficient and effective manner possible. Efforts to improve our nation's infrastructure should focus on maximizing taxpayer dollars by targeting priorities such as roads and bridges, eliminating wasteful spending, removing regulatory barriers that delay projects and drive up costs, and ensuring there is proper oversight and accountability."

Americans for Prosperity's grassroots activists have repeatedly fought back against gas tax increases at the state and federal levels. Since 2015 alone, AFP has successfully stopped gas tax increases in Arkansas, Mississippi, Colorado, Oklahoma, Alaska, Kansas and Wisconsin.

Most recently, in Louisiana, AFP activists defeated a 17-cent increase in the state fuel tax. As a consistent advocate for providing American families much-needed and long-overdue tax relief, AFP remains committed to empowering grassroots activists with the tools and knowledge they need to fight harmful policies like these in their states and in Washington D.C.

Report Ranks the Nation’s Best, Worst, Safest, and Most Expensive State Highway Systems

Los Angeles, CA… The nation’s top-performing, most cost-effective highways can be found in North Dakota, Kansas, South Dakota, Nebraska and South Carolina, according to the latest edition of the Reason Foundation Annual Highway Report released today.

Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report ranks the performance of state highway systems in 11 categories, including pavement condition, deficient bridges, traffic congestion, fatality rates, spending per mile of state-controlled highway, and system administrative costs.

The significant differences between state highway systems was illustrated by the huge disparity in the spending per mile figures. West Virginia spent the least — $35,047 per mile of state-controlled highway, while New Jersey spent the most — $2,069,020 per mile of state-controlled highway.

Overall, New Jersey ranked last, 50th, in the nation in performance and cost-effectiveness due, in part, to having the nation’s worst urban traffic congestion while also spending the most money per mile. Rhode Island, Alaska, Hawaii and Connecticut joined New Jersey in the bottom five of the overall rankings.

In some of the individual categories, Massachusetts’ highways had the country’s lowest fatality rate, while South Carolina’s had the highest. Wyoming’s highways had the least traffic congestion, whereas drivers in New Jersey and California experienced the worst traffic jams. Alaska had the bumpiest urban Interstate pavement condition, and Delaware had the smoothest.

This edition of the Annual Highway Report is based on spending and performance data that state highway agencies submitted to the federal government for the year 2015, the most recent year with complete data available. The overall cost-effectiveness rankings are below. You can find detailed information about each state’s results, as well as each of categories here: Rankings Categories

State Ranking:

1) North Dakota

2) Kansas

3) South Dakota

4) Nebraska

5) South Carolina

6) Montana

7) Idaho

8) Wyoming

9) Missouri

10) Utah

11) Mississippi

12) Tennessee

13) Kentucky

14) North Carolina

15) Iowa

16) Arizona

17) Alabama

18) Georgia

19) Delaware

20) Nevada

21) Oregon

22) Texas

23) Maine

24) New Mexico

25) Minnesota

26) Ohio

27) Virginia

28) Illinois

29) Arkansas

30) New Hampshire

31) Colorado

32) Michigan

33) Oklahoma

34) Indiana

35) Florida

36) West Virginia

37) Louisiana

38) Wisconsin

39) Vermont

40) Maryland

41) Pennsylvania

42) California

43) Washington

44) Massachusetts

45) New York

46) Connecticut

47) Hawaii

48) Alaska

49) Rhode Island

50) New Jersey

Truckers See Good And Bad In $1.5 Trillion Infrastructure Package

Grain Valley, MO… The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the nation’s only organization representing professional and small-business truckers, welcomed President Trump’s call for $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investment during last night’s State of the Union address. However, professional truckers are concerned by the Administration’s reliance on private investment to achieve this level of funding.

“Our nation’s highway system has long been the envy of the world, but its condition is deteriorating” said Todd Spencer, Acting President of OOIDA. “The heart of it is a fuel tax with revenues collected going to roads and bridges. It’s simple, efficient and it serves the very real needs of our country and its people. Policy makers have known this all the way back to President Eisenhower. It’s time for lawmakers at every level of government to acknowledge this reality be honest with the American people.”

The issue of federal funding of highways has been a challenge for policymakers because of negative attitudes toward raising taxes. OOIDA, however, believes that the most efficient way to raise funds is with fuel taxes, both diesel and gasoline. This is opposed to looking to private-public partnerships, the sale or lease of existing roads, or efforts to convert roads into tolled roads.

“If elected officials think a fuel tax increase would be unpopular, wait until Americans encounter more and higher tolling,” said Spencer. “An investment of $1.5 trillion in infrastructure will help dramatically improve our roads, while spurring economic growth. But increased tolling is not the way to pay for it. Instead, the White House and Congress should find the courage to increase federal fuel taxes, which are a significantly more reliable and efficient source of revenue than tolling.”

Truckers Thank Congress For Supporting Exemption To Electronic Logging Mandate For Small-Business Truckers

Grain Valley, MO… The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the nation’s only organization representing professional and small-business truckers, thanks U.S. Reps. Brian Babin (R-TX-36) and Steve King (R-IA-04), along with 23 other members of Congress, for a letter to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration asking them to support the pending application for an exemption from the electronic logging device, ELD, mandate for small trucking businesses with exemplary safety records.

“We thank the representatives, especially Congressmen Babin and King, for recognizing that small-business truckers that have already proven their ability to operate safely should not be subject to purchasing costly, unproven and uncertified devices,” said Todd Spencer, acting president and CEO of OOIDA.

OOIDA has requested at least a 5-year exemption for motor carriers classified as small businesses according to the Small Business Administration and with a proven safety history with no attributable at-fault crashes, and who do not have a Carrier Safety Rating of “Unsatisfactory.”