“We need a comprehensive multi-year strategy for infrastructure investment, with a very forward-looking approach,” Ms. Luke said.
The Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which President Obama signed into law in December 2015, provides five years of authorization for infrastructure projects, but its funding mechanisms are not sustainable, according to Ms. Luke.
“I'd like to see a fresh approach from the Trump administration,” she said. Mr. Trump seems to understand the importance of investment in the U.S. economy, and he should provide a more business-friendly environment in Washington, she said.
“We would like to see him take a proactive, bipartisan approach to funding the projects,” Ms. Luke said.
Infrastructure is also a major issue for TIA, according to Mr. Littlefield III.
“Trump wants a new transportation bill within 30 days of his taking office,” he said. “But he may find things don't go as smoothly as he'd like.”
Replenishing the Highway Trust Fund is crucial, according to Roy Littlefield IV, TIA director of government affairs.
“Every proposal is out there to fund it, and no one knows yet which ones will be chosen,” he said. TIA opposes many of the tax proposals being floated, including a 10-percent increase in the tax on truck tires or reinstatement of the tax on passenger tires and tread rubber, he said.
The repeal of last-in, first-out (LIFO) accounting methods, in which the most recently acquired or produced items are recorded as being sold first, could also be part of the equation, to the detriment of tire dealers, according to Mr. Littlefield IV.
“Some of our members have told us what LIFO repeal would cost them,” he said. “The estimates run from $12 million to $125 million.”
2016 saw reauthorization of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and in 2017 the tire industry faces major new environmental actions, such as new Clean Air Act emissions standards for tire manufacturing, Ms. Luke said.
“The MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology) standards have not been looked at for a long time,” she said. “We have a real mix of older and brand-new plants in this country, and there are lots of different manufacturing processes.”
For the ASA, the EPA's ozone attainment regulations are of growing importance, according to Mr. Redding. As urban populations spill into formerly rural areas, he said, more counties are included in the EPA's non-attainment zone, he said. The ASA wants to do more to inform its members about what the ozone regulations mean to them, he said.
Tax issues will be of enormous importance to small business in 2017, according to Mr. Littlefield IV.
“Corporate tax reform is something everyone wants,” he said. While estate tax repeal is still at the top of the list for TIA members, the association also is a big supporter of the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would require online businesses to collect state and local sales taxes, he said.
In 2017, NHTSA is expected to issue one of the longest-awaited proposed rules in the history of the agency: the consumer information portion of the tire rolling-resistance-labeling standard, which has been pending since March 2010.
The RMA wants to make sure the testing provisions of the rolling-resistance-labeling standard are similar to those required by the FAST Act, as the FAST Act explicitly states, according to Dan Zielinski, RMA senior vice president, public affairs.
The RMA also wants a clear regulatory framework for the role of tires in autonomous vehicles, Ms. Luke said.
TIA is supporting the RMA positions on rolling-resistance labeling and FAST Act issues, according to Mr. Littlefield III. TIA still advocates electronic registration of tires, and also hopes to be the third-party administrator of the consumer education portion of the rolling resistance rule, he said.
“We feel very strongly on the third-party issue,” he said. The tire industry should speak in one voice on the issue of rolling resistance, he said, adding that he was very excited at the prospect of a closer bond between TIA and the RMA.
“Clearly the leadership on both sides want to work together,” he said.
The RMA promoted model bills on used tire regulations in Ohio, New Jersey and South Carolina in 2016, and plans to see them reintroduced in 2017, according to Ms. Luke.
“We had a really good success with those bills,” she said, adding that the RMA formed a strong coalition in Ohio with tire dealers, manufacturers and insurers.
More than 30 million used tires are sold every year in the U.S, according to Ms. Luke.
“Most sellers of used tires are small businesses, and they're good businesses,” she said. “We're interested in keeping those tires off the road that nobody should be selling.”
Periodic motor vehicle safety inspections (PMVI) are now required in only 16 states, and promoting inspections is still a major part of the ASA's agenda, according to Mr. Redding.
The ASA will continue to sponsor webinars and occasional meetings on PMVI, he said.
It is also supporting a bill by Pennsylvania State Rep. Madeline Dean, D-153rd District, which would enhance vehicle safety inspections in the state by linking them to safety recalls.
Vehicle inspectors would inform motorists if their cars were subject to recalls, but would still give them certificates of inspection if they met all other safety criteria.
“It's the right thing to do,” Mr. Redding said. The bill would also resolve liability issues facing auto repair shops that perform inspections on vehicles that then suffer accidents because of defective parts, he said.
Vehicle telematics, cybersecurity and autonomous vehicle technology are also high on the ASA's list of issues, according to Mr. Redding.
The ASA is very involved in the Aftermarket Task Force on Telematics, meeting frequently with both aftermarket and original equipment manufacturers on issues of telematics and cybersecurity, he said.
“Our message is that we should be working together, and we should do this before the regulators get in the middle of it,” he said.
The European Commission recently released its strategy on cooperative intelligent transport systems, offering step-by-step guidance for coordinated deployment of connected and automated vehicles across the European Union, Mr. Redding noted.
NHTSA and the states are developing their own connected vehicle policies, and the issue is likely to be at the forefront of many state legislatures' agenda in 2017, according to Mr. Redding. Although the EC strategy won't be replicated by NHTSA or the legislatures, it well could serve as a model, he said.