Railroads top trucking’s lobbying efforts

In the last two years, the trucking industry has spent over $3.4 million on lobbying, according to data from a MapLight analysis of federal lobbying disclosures. At quick glance, that looks small compared to the $7.4 million that the railroad industry has spent on lobbyists to promote its special interests during the same time period –October 2012 through September 2014.

Disagreement between the trucking and railroad industries surfaced after a New York Times investigative report highlighted findings that a nonprofit group, the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks, had been paying law enforcement officers to lobby Washington legislators against a proposal for longer and heavier trucks. The trucking industry has been pushing for longer and heavier trucks to make moving freight more productive, which could mean less freight on the rails.

According to MapLight, this past Monday, April 20, was the last day for companies and organizations to file their 2015 first quarter federal lobbying disclosure reports. MapLight reported the top three spenders for this quarter – Jan. 1 through March 31 – are the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, spending $13.8 million on lobbying Congress and federal agencies; the National Association of Realtor, spending $7.7 million; and the American Medical Association at $6.72 million.

During a press conference in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, the American Trucking Assns. (ATA) announced its top priorities for 2015 are passing the electronic logging device mandate and fixing the Highway Trust Fund. Other major issues ATA is concerned with include establishing a national clearinghouse for drug and alcohol testing, supporting hair testing over urine-based drug tests, and maintaining its opposition to tolling.

The ATA did not mention the industry’s support for heavier trucks or repealing the excise tax on trucks during Wednesday’s conference.

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