2014 US Trucking News – ATA Comments on President Obama’s 2014 Budget
The American Trucking Association (ATA) released a statement on March 18 2014, in response to the Obama Administration’s planned budget. The ATA is the biggest national trade association of the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 associated state trucking companies, as well as industry-related committees and conferences, the ATA is the voice of the trucking industry that the United States relies on the most, to move the nation’s goods.
According to the ATA president Bill Graves, this planned budget has fallen short and has failed to identify the actuality of freight and passenger transportation, but gives nothing in the way of long-term steadiness for funding transportation. He also says that the current planned budget has missed the mark regarding the transportation requirements of the US economy. This offers no real funding answers for the long-term health of their infrastructure, and offers great new subsidies for a mode that moves a tiny amount of US passengers and freight.
The ATA has also mentioned that railroads move 14.7% of freight, while trucks carry 68.5% of all domestic goods.
Graves says that while freight railroads and intermodal rails play small, yet significant roles in the movement of freight, the lifeblood of the American economy is and will remain to be the American trucking industry. He says that by mid-January, the industry moved as much freight as the railroads will move through the year, and this budget plans to transmit funds from road and bridge projects that would benefit capability and relieve bottlenecks to underwrite projects for an industry that constantly crows about how self-sufficient it is.
Graves adds that it is also hard to understand the Administration’s persistence on resuming pouring billions of dollars into an intercity passenger rail system that brings just one-tenth of one percent of passenger miles, while not giving the required resources to benefit the safety and effectiveness of the highway system, which handles 87% of passenger travel.
Bulldog Highway Express president and ATA Chairman Phil Byrd says that searching for a long term and sustainable way to improve the nation’s roads and bridges is one of the biggest priorities of the ATA. By using the profits from the corporate tax reform, does only little to issue the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund or to support the principle of users that pay for the services that they get, in this case, the federal fuel tax, which has not been adjusted in nearly two decades to account for inflation and enhancements in vehicle fuel competence.
Byrd says that the fuel tax is, and will always be the most proficient and right way of gathering revenue for highways and bridges, and should be fixed to replicate the present economic situation and needs.
President Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget once again offers tens of billions of dollars in extra transportation spending, drawing an idea for a boost in multimodal transportation network with huge funds in freight and passenger rail, and also in the maintenance of highways and bridges.
But once again, the budget whiffs on how to pay for it all, bringing up the drooping so-called peace dividend that the Congress has passed over in different ways.
The budget has also called for $77 billion in total spending, for the Transportation Department in fiscal 2014 alone, with the highway support set at $41 billion, a small drop from the previous year’s ratified total of $41.9 billion but steady with MAP-21. Transit would get $10.9 billion, which is close to what it got the previous year.
On July 2012, President Obama signed into law PL 112-141, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, also known as MAP-21. Supporting service transportation programs at over $105 billion for fiscal years 2013 and 2014, MAP-21 is the first long-term highway agreement endorsed since 2005. MAP-21 signifies a high point for the American economy, since it offers needed funds, and, more importantly, it changes the plan and programming framework for reserves to lead the growth and development of the United States’ essential transportation infrastructure.
MAP-21 makes a rationalized, performance-based and multi-modal program to tackle the different obstacles that are facing the United States’ transportation system. These include improving safety, keeping the infrastructure condition, lessening the amount of traffic jams, improving the competence of the system and freight transportation, protecting the environment, and lessening the hindrance in project delivery.
MAP -21 builds on and improves a lot of the highway, transit, bike, pedestrian programs and policies established in 1991.
The budget has also offered the most comprehensive breakdown for what the administration has planned to do with the $50 billion instantaneous investment that President Obama has planned in different venues through the years.
The amount of money, $27 billion, would be used for fixing highways and construction, which includes $2 billion for border-crossing infrastructure. The remaining amount would be doled out in single-digit bites for airport capital grants, NextGen, rail capital, Amtrak, transit grants, as well as other things.
The budget has also included hints of the administration’s transportation reauthorization inclinations again, but this year, instead of particularly combining programs, it usually tracks the road map that was laid out by MAP-21.
Once again, the administration repeats its call the make a beachhead for rail funding within the transportation’s loyal trust fund rule. The Highway Trust Fund, which also pays for programs in federal transit, would now be known as the Transportation Trust Fund, with rail included under its patronage, though the budget includes no suggestion about how the extended trust fund would be paid for in the long term.
Instead, the budget assumes a shift of $214 billion over six years, to keep trust fund solvency and pay for the enlarged outlays that are connected with the transportation bill that will follow MAP-21, as well as the inclusion of rail into the trust fund, together with its increased spending. Those would be paid for by the savings from winding down overseas wars.
Beyond the funding crisis, the matter of the reconfigured trust fund faces a difficult road in Congress, which had an idea of the administration’s plans, but refused to reorganize the trust fund as a part of MAP-21.