With the dust settled after the presidential election and a more heavily Republican-controlled Congress emerging, two trucking industry executives say not to expect surprises.
For Gary Petty, president & CEO of the National Private Truck Council (NPTC), the re-election of President George W. Bush will be beneficial to the trucking industry.
“At the top of my list would be the presumptive stability of FMCSA (the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) in writing hours of service,” Petty told Fleet Owner. “It would’ve been potentially disastrous to have an activist administration perhaps more sympathetic to Public Citizen.”
But among the greatest challenges facing the next Bush administration is tackling the domestic security issue without stifling the economy- a hurdle that has been overcome successfully, Petty said.
“I think we’re going to see illegal immigration be addressed more seriously. We should remember there are 20 million crossings between Mexico, Canada and the U.S. When we look at balancing the free flow of goods with the needs to keep the illegal immigrants out- along with potential terrorists- that’s a huge challenge,” Petty said.
“The (Bush) administration made a lot of progress in spite of obstructionist Senate minority leadership that had blocked initiatives that were passed in the House with generally broad support,” he said.
And with a seemingly even greater Republican control in Congress, economic reforms may pass more smoothly, Petty said. “I think there will be more bold initiatives to continue the reforms for economic growth in a way that would make the industries more responsive to the public interests, and at the same time grow the economy.”
The continuation of the administration does expel questions on the stance presidential hopeful John Kerry had toward the transportation industry, said Martin Labbe, president of Martin Labbe Associates. “I don’t think (Kerry) really had a plan for the infrastructure or transportation industry. We heard very little, if any of the issues that impact transportation,” noted Labbe, underscoring that he did not side with either candidate.
“The fact is that we knew where (Bush) was going- it’s comforting. However, we never were certain what Kerry had in mind for the trucking industry,” Labbe said.
Consistency, in terms of an absence of a presidential shift, appears to be what trucking executives expect in the years ahead. “With respect to trucking industry, energy issues and labor, those (policies) are carried forward. We know what they’re planning to do,” said Labbe. “But the election doesn’t have much of an impact on trucking in the short term. The long term depends on what they (the administration) put in place.”