This week, members of the American Trucking Assns.’ Infrastructure Task Force traveled to Washington to meet with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and key members of Congress to urge swift action to move forward with a long-term infrastructure spending package to address the need for highway and bridge improvements.
“The members of this task force represent an industry that moves 70% of the nation’s freight, moving 54% of our GDP and pays half of all highway taxes,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “This group of industry leaders came to Washington to discuss the importance of building a modern transportation system to ensure America’s continuing competitiveness. Our nation and economy depend on good, safe, efficient roads and bridges, and that now is the time to address those needs.”
The American Transportation Research Institute’s recently released top freight bottlenecks report illustrates the need to strengthen our nation’s roads and bridges. With the Trump administration’s focus on moving a significant infrastructure package, the ATA’s Infrastructure Task Force was created immediately following the election, and includes 11 CEO-level trucking industry executives. This week’s meetings with Chao and congressional leaders were the first in a series of visits.
“The trucking industry already contributes a great deal to the Highway Trust Fund and elsewhere to finance road and bridge construction, but we recognize that we need to do more if our country is going to maintain the type of transportation network a 21st century economy demands,” said Task Force Co-Chairman David Congdon, CEO of Old Dominion Freight Line.
“Having the opportunity to talk about these issues with Secretary Chao and congressional leaders is an important part of the process of building America and getting the kind of infrastructure bill our industry needs,” said Task Force Co-Chairman Jim Burg, president and CEO of James Burg Trucking Co.
In addition, the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) today released its “The Road Ahead: The Next Generation of Mobility” public policy roadmap that provides policy recommendations on how to advance the research and deployment of transformational and intelligent transportation technologies.
Specifically, the roadmap provides recommendations on policy issues that are shaping the next generation of transportation driven by robotics, automation, artificial intelligence, wireless communications, and cloud computing. Issues include cybersecurity/privacy, looking for new and long-term funding and financing options around much needed transportation investment, issues around easing the transition to automated and connected vehicles, increasing integration of technologies that improve the operational life and efficiency of our road networks, and energizing new business models of passenger and freight mobility.
“Advancements in robotics, artificial intelligence, wireless communications and more make this a pivotal moment for U.S. leadership in the intelligent transportation arena,” said ITS America President and CEO Regina Hopper. “This roadmap provides Federal, State, and Local policymakers with the tools to capitalize on this innovation—from automated vehicles to highways and traffic lights that communicate in real time with drivers on the road. Now is the time to jumpstart the economy and save thousands of lives per year.”
In the year ahead, ITS America said it will work with policymakers at all levels of government to “rebuild and modernize transportation infrastructure with smart transportation investments that create jobs, save lives, and cut costs by leveraging underutilized transportation assets.” Additionally, the organization said it will urge Trump and Congress to build out transportation infrastructure by including roadmap recommendations in upcoming infrastructure proposals.