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ATA prez calls for passage of highway funding bill

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ARLINGTON, Va. (July 16, 2014) — Congressional passage of long-term highway funding legislation is crucial to keeping the nation’s highways safe and efficient, according to Bill Graves, president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations (ATA).

“For decades, America’s 3.2 million truck drivers have witnessed the effects of underinvestment in our highway systems through their windshields,” Mr. Graves said in a July 10 statement. Thousands of miles of highways are in poor condition, some 63,000 bridges are deficient, and increasing traffic congestion erodes not only highway safety but also business productivity, family time and the environment, he said.

(ATA photo)
Bill Graves

“All these issues are a direct result of the inadequate, inconsistent and unpredictable funding cycle that is perpetuated by the current approach of putting off passage of a long-term revenue bill,” Mr. Graves said.

“Companies that fail to maintain and modernize their plants and equipment inevitably fail,” he said. “The highway system is no different.”

Mr. Graves said he appreciated House and Senate efforts to find a short-term solution to the imminent depletion of the Highway Trust Fund, but added that extending highway funding problems into 2015 could endanger the nation’s economy, as well as the safety of truck drivers and other highway users.

“It is past time to make the investments necessary to maintain the safety and efficiency of our highways,” he said.

On July 10, the House Ways and Means Committee approved by voice vote a bill that would provide nearly $10 billion for highway and mass transit funding through mid-2015. The full House is expected to take up the bill this week.

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