ATA President Urges Congress to Act on Infrastructure Funding
Washington, DC… American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear called on Congress to set aside ideological partisanship and put forward a bold infrastructure investment package to address our nation’s deteriorating roads and bridges.
“While ATA recognizes how difficult it is for Members of Congress to commit to, or even openly discuss, the types of spending needed to address our ailing roads and bridges, as well as the revenue raisers necessary to get there, it is very clear that doing nothing will impose a much higher cost on the American people and on the industry I represent,” Spear told the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “Each year motorists spend more than $1,500 due to lack of infrastructure investment-$500 spent repairing their vehicles and nearly $1,000 more wasted sitting in traffic. The trucking industry loses more than $63 billion every year because of congestion on our highway system. That’s 362,000 truck drivers sitting idle for an entire year. And as much as we liked the tax cut we got last year, we’re going to give it all back because that $63 billion is like a 9% tax on our industry. These are the costs of doing nothing.”
In his testimony, Spear cited ATA’s proposed “Build America Fund,” a 20-cent user fee collected on wholesale purchases of motor fuel, as a solution for paying for needed road and bridge repairs and improvements.
“Unlike tolls or mileage fees, it’s extremely inexpensive to collect. More than 99 cents of every dollar will be spent on transportation projects and programs, not paying for new bureaucracies or lining the pockets of foreign banks,” he said. “It doesn’t grow the budget deficit and it is real money-$340 billion in new, additional revenue over the first 10 years.”
Spear highlighted the cost of inaction: a national transportation network broken up by tolls, or paid for by borrowing from foreign governments.
“Doing nothing costs drivers 15 times more than they’d pay under our proposal. Borrowing money from China just passes the buck to future generations, with interest. Some states, in desperation, are resorting to tolls. Look at I-66, just a stone’s throw from Capitol Hill. You have toll rates up to $47 for just one 10-mile trip. Rhode Island is using a loophole in federal law to discriminate against trucks by charging a truck-only toll on more than a dozen bridges,” he said. “And some are promoting the idea of selling off public infrastructure to the highest bidder, leaving the people who rely on those facilities to hold the bag for the multinational corporations who will reap the profits for decades after the short-term infusion of cash that states and cities get in return is spent.”
In concluding his testimony, Spear pointed out that, in the past, transportation was not a partisan issue, highlighting the fact that, as president, Ronald Reagan raised the user fee twice.
“Roads and bridges are not Republican or Democrat; they aren’t free or cheap. It’s time to stop pointing fingers and making excuses and start investing in our future,” he said.
ATA Truck Tonnage Index Rose 2% in January - Tonnage Index 8.8% Higher than January 2017
Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2% in January after falling 0.3% in December. In January, the index equaled 111.6 (2015=100), up from 109.4 in December.
ATA recently revised the seasonally adjusted index back five years as part of its annual revision. In addition, ATA re-indexed the seasonally adjusted and not seasonally adjusted tonnage indexes to 2015 = 100 back to 1973.
Compared with January 2017, the SA index jumped 8.8%, which was above December’s 7.5% year-over-year gain. For all of 2017, the index increased 3.8% over 2016.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 106.9 in January, which was 0.4% above the previous month (106.5).
“Last month’s gain in tonnage fit with the anecdotal reports we have been hearing from fleets - that freight was solid in what is typically a softer month,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “With the economy strong, the drivers of truck freight solid, and the inventory cycle in favor of motor carriers, I expect freight tonnage to remain robust in the months ahead.”
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.
ATA Unveils New Cybercrime Reporting Tool as Member Benefit
Arlington, VA… The American Trucking Associations has announced the launch of Fleet CyWatch, a new service for its motor carrier and council members to use for reporting cybercrimes affecting fleet operations.
“As the industry responsible for delivering America’s food, fuel and other essentials, security is of paramount importance, particularly in an increasingly technologically connected world,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “Fleet CyWatch is the next logical step in our association’s and our industry’s commitment to working with law enforcement and national security agencies to keep our supply chain safe and secure.”
Fleet CyWatch was developed by ATA’s Technology and Maintenance Council and Transportation Security Council, in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to assist fleets in reporting information about trucking related internet crimes and cyber-attacks, and in providing information to fleets about threats that may impact their operations. Fleet CyWatch coordinates with private and federal efforts to provide motor carriers with information and recommendations in the areas of cybersecurity awareness, prevention, and mitigation methods. The program connects industry, federal enforcement, and associations and trade groups specialized in cybersecurity to improve U.S. road transport safety.
By subscribing to Fleet CyWatch, fleets will be easily able to report all types of internet crimes related to disrupting fleet operations, which are then communicated to the proper authorities. After protecting the identity of the reporting fleet, the information is also shared with intelligence analysis agencies and the motor carrier community subscribed to Fleet CyWatch. The program’s responding alerts will address cybersecurity training and education, cyber-threat trends and patterns and best practices development.
MTO to Officially Allow Permits for Smart Lift Axles, Longer Tractors for Semi-Trailers
As reported, OTA had spearheaded the lobby efforts with the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) to allow for the use of smart lift-axles (SML) on semi-trailers and for the use of longer tractors (up to 6.8 metre wheel-base) pulling multi-axle semi-trailers.
In a letter received by OTA late last week, MTO has officially formalized permit programs for both these initiatives. The permit process is the first step toward moving forward on regulatory developments and expedites the opportunity for carriers to address these technologies in a shorter timeframe.
The new permit allowances meet all the requirements of MTO’s safe, productive and infrastructure friendly weights and dimensions regime (SPIF) and sets the stage for more flexibly in spec’ing tractors that can accommodate modern sleeper-berths while meeting new emissions standards as well incorporating allowances for smart lift-axles on semi-trailers that reduces GHG. (See more details in the Fact Sheet below)
“The OTA team approached MTO with a responsible plan and research that clearly demonstrated the benefits of these technologies. We are very happy with the outcome,” said Geoff Wood, senior VP, Policy, Ontario Trucking Association.
Over the next 4-6 weeks, the team in MTO’s Carrier Safety and Enforcement Branch will be working toward introducing Special Vehicle Configuration (SVC) permit regimes for both initiatives. The SML permit regime will allow permits to be granted based on Vehicle Identification Number(s) relating to the semi-trailer or semi-trailer sets, while Long Wheelbase tractor permits will be distributed on a fleet basis, meaning a single permit can be copied and utilized throughout the fleet of tractors and semitrailers.
To move these issues forward OTA was tasked with providing extensive and credible research and analysis including development of a full business/environmental case, technical and safety analysis, review of approaches and experiences in other jurisdictions and a suggested regulatory approach for Ontario. OTA achieved this through a collaborative effort with input from its membership, in house weights and dimensions team and other industry experts.
“It is important to our membership that the Ontario weights and dimensions regime allows innovation and investment in technologies that carriers want to use, and that we can demonstrate the technologies can be responsibly introduced in the province” said Wood.
Smart Lift Axles (SMLs) in axle groupings on semitrailer and double-trailer configurations.
•The on-board scale system incorporated into SML must be programmed to read the weight on the tandem / tridem / quadruple axle grouping, the system must automatically raise or deploy one, two or three of the axles of the tandem, tridem and quadruple axle. There must be no driver intervention to raise the axle, but the driver is allowed controls to deploy the axle. Finally, the default, if the system fails for any reason, is to keep the axle in the deployed position.
•Long wheelbase tractors on Safe, Productive, and Infrastructure-Friendly vehicle Schedule’s 2 through 7.
•Tractors with wheelbase up to 6.8 metres in all the current Regulation 413/05 Vehicle Weights and Dimensions for Safe, Productive, and Infrastructure-Friendly (SPIF) vehicle compliant tandem drive tractor multi-axle semitrailer configurations. To accommodate longer wheelbase tractors, a trade-off must be made with semitrailer wheelbase. The same trade-off table utilized for SPIF 1 will be utilized for SPIF 2 to 7.
Details on a webinar with MTO on the new permits will be forthcoming in the OTA newsletter.
Over the course of the next few weeks, OTA will be completing an analysis of jurisdictions where SLA’s and the longer tractors are able to operate.
OTA members interested in receiving a copy of the analysis or have additional questions on these initiatives can email [email protected].
Truckers Against Trafficking Launches ATA-Supported Campaign
Washington, DC… American Trucking Associations has joined Truckers Against Trafficking for the launch of the Man to Man Campaign, an effort to eliminate the demand for human trafficking throughout the transportation industry by inviting men to speak out about the inhuman practices of sex traffickers to individuals who demand their services.
"Our industry's voice is powerful. From truck drivers to dock workers to dispatchers throughout the supply chain, if we can continue talking to one another about the atrocity that is human trafficking, we can make substantial progress toward our goal of eliminating it," said ATA COO Elisabeth Barna at a press conference on Capitol Hill. "Now that our industry is aware that human trafficking is a problem, we want to challenge trucking to take the next step in its eradication. That starts by having difficult conversations with people in our communities, but we know we're up for the challenge."
Truckers Against Trafficking, as the preeminent trucking organization focused on addressing the issue of trafficking, has long fought to raise awareness about the problem and train industry professionals to identify and report instances of trafficking. Today, alongside Demand Abolition, Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking, ATA's America's Road Team, UPS and Walmart, Truckers Against Trafficking launched the Man to Man Campaign.
The Man to Man Campaign is founded on the belief that if there were no demand for commercial sex, then sex trafficking would not exist. Truckers Against Trafficking seeks to join together a chorus of voices by putting the spotlight on some of the most vigilant professional drivers in the trucking industry. To that end, TAT is featuring drivers who advocate strongly against and keep an eye out for trafficking on their website, social media pages, and on banners at speaking engagements throughout the country. The banners will also flank TAT's Freedom Drivers Project, a touring tractor-trailer exhibition about human trafficking that stops at trucking's major events.
According to national survey results from Demand Abolition, 20% of adult men ages 18-64 have bought or would consider buying commercial sex if the circumstances permitted. Further, approximately 35% of men have searched online sex ads but not engaged in the transaction. Data suggests that of the men who search online sex ads, most of their search activity happens during the work day and many prostitution transactions happen on the way to work, during lunch, or immediately after work.
Employers can create policies to mitigate the potential risk and protect employees from harm. Increasingly, major transportation brands and corporations are positioned to leverage their industry leadership and economic influence to raise awareness about the issue and effect change.
"At the very root of the sex trafficking and sexual exploitation epidemic sweeping our nation and world is the demand," said Truckers Against Trafficking Deputy Director Kylla Lanier. "The prostituted person, and more recently, the traffickers have been the focus of attention and arrests, while the buyer goes home with a warning. This must change. Traffickers meet the demand for commercial sex by luring their victims into this life and keeping them there through force, fraud or coercion. If there were no money to be made, they wouldn't pursue this criminal activity."
"We must turn our attention to the demand if we want to truly put an end to this heinous and life-shattering crime." Lanier continued. "When all is said and done, if there is no buyer, there would be no victim."
Truckers Against Trafficking, as part of the campaign launch, created a webpage dedicated to the Man to Man Campaign. Users can visit the webpage to learn more about how private sector stakeholders are addressing the issue, learn how to react to signs of human trafficking, and discover ways to share the Man to Man Campaign message with individuals in their communities.
Truckers Against Trafficking-trained truck driver, John McKown, of UPS Freight and America's Road Team, recently presented on his experiences as a TAT-trained advocate during [email protected], a TED Talk series featuring UPS leaders. In his powerful TED Talk, McKown advocates for colleagues in the industry not to turn a blind eye away from trafficking and shares some ways drivers can get started as allies on America's highways.
The trucking industry plays a central role in eradicating modern-day slavery from the nation's transportation systems. As part of ATA's efforts to help train the industry's 7.4 million trucking industry employees in human trafficking awareness, ATA recommends trucking companies and drivers visit the official Truckers Against Trafficking website. Truck drivers are also asked to call the National Human Trafficking Hotline to report suspicious behavior related to human trafficking at 1-888-373-7888.
Truckers Request Action By Congress On ELD Mandate
GRAIN VALLEY, MO… The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the nation’s only organization exclusively representing professional and small-business truckers, asked the U.S. House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure to hold an oversight hearing on a recently implemented regulation.
OOIDA said in a letter to the committee that the roll out of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s electronic logging device mandate is critically flawed and the committee should evaluate the serious difficulties their constituents are experiencing because of the regulation.
“An oversight hearing, which has already been requested by federal legislators, would help lawmakers better understand what administrative or legislative remedies might be needed,” said Todd Spencer, acting president and CEO.
OOIDA says the impact of the rule has been much broader than anticipated and major concerns have been validated by FMCSA’s patchwork of temporary waivers, exemptions, and “soft enforcement” deadlines that have only caused more confusion across the country.
Prior to the $2 billion mandate taking effect in December 2017, OOIDA and more than 30 other industries impacted by the rule shared serious concerns that the agency, law enforcement and the regulated community were not prepared for implementation.
Since the mandate took effect, OOIDA says truckers have routinely communicated substantial troubles they’ve experienced related to devices, including several vendor-wide systems failures, faulty GPS tracking, inaccurate recording of duty statuses, engine disablements, speed irregularities, and abysmal customer service from manufacturers.
The letter goes on to state that FMCSA has taken no steps to remedy these mounting issues or even inform truckers their devices may not be compliant. Instead, the agency is relying on vendors to fix their equipment.
“All of this points to our conclusion that Congress should really avoid enacting one-size-fits-all mandates such as this on industries as diverse as trucking,” said Spencer.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the only national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 160,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, Mo. area.