NASSTRAC sent a letter yesterday to all Highway Bill Conference Committee members encouraging them to promptly enact a bill that will fund badly needed infrastructure construction and maintenance. Without efficient trucking service that can accommodate projected future demand for high quality freight transportation, shippers will be forced to devote increasing capital expenditures to inventories and warehousing for safety stock, said the letter. The result will be less money to spend on investments, growth and jobs, and higher prices for consumers, as supply chain efficiency declines.
"Maintaining a strong and growing trucking industry is impossible if we continue to underfund our highway infrastructure," says John Cutler, NASSTRAC's Legal Counsel. "While Map-21 will not provide all the highway funding needed, it's far better than inaction and will avoid further disruption of existing highway projects." NASSTRAC joins several other industry associations in calling for highway funding based on no less than MAP-21 levels.
NASSTRAC also urged the conference committee to incorporate beneficial provisions from H.R. 7, the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act of 2012, with particular support of provisions that will improve motor carrier productivity. NASSTRAC supports provisions that would permit states to allow longer and heavier trailers, consistent with safety and highway wear and tear in order to accommodate increased demand without needlessly increasing the number of trucks on roadways. "The resulting productivity gains are needed to offset governmental measures reducing productivity, such as changes in driver hours of service rules," says Cutler. In addition, NASSTRAC supports streamlined procedures for permitting highway work, including building new highways and expanding old ones, and has gone on record to suggest that funding through higher tolls should be avoided.