WASHINGTON (March 17, 2010) — The American Trucking Associations (ATA) is urging the federal government to make sure it budgets sufficient resources to keeping the nation's highway infrastructure in good repair so as to avoid transportation bottlenecks and the accompanying higher costs they would cause.
“The United States has been living off the transportation infrastructure built by past generations,” ATA Senior Vice President Tim Lynch testified before Congress March 16. “Our failure to keep up with the demands imposed on these systems by population and economic growth has weakened the nation's competitive position relative to other countries.”
Mr. Lynch, in his testimony before the House of Representatives' Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies, said the U.S. can no longer afford to spend limited federal resources on projects that do not meet important national goals.
America's aging infrastructure is in desperate need of repair and expansion, Mr. Lynch testified. The ATA estimates congestion costs caused by inefficiencies in the system are approaching $100 billion annually.
America relies on trucks to move 70 percent of the nation's freight tonnage and the trucking industry is forecast to move an even greater share of freight in the future, Mr. Lynch said.
“Failing to address growing congestion problems will cause costs to rise, translating into higher consumer prices and slower job growth, weakening the United States' ability to compete in the global economy,” Mr. Lynch said.
The ATA believes that increasing the fuel tax is the only viable solution to the highway funding crisis, Mr. Lynch said, noting that trucking companies are willing to support an increase in their highway user fee payments, provided the revenue is dedicated to funding projects that address the most critical highway needs.
Mr. Lynch also pointed out the U.S. has the most restrictive truck weight regulations of any developed country, and he urged Congress to consider reforming laws to give states greater flexibility to change their size and weight regulations with oversight by the Federal Highway Administration.
The ATA represents more than 37,000 members covering every type of motor carrier in the U.S.