The National Association of Truck Stop Owners (NATSO) hosted lawmakers at a special function on Capitol Hill this week to get traction on what the group believes will be several key issues for its industry this year: truck parking, environmental regulations, and tax-free fuel sales by Native American businesses.
The $42-billion truck stop and travel plaza industry is primarily worried about a Federal Highway Administration study on the availability truck parking at highway rest stops, which is due in June. NATSO is concerned that any initiatives to build more truck parking spaces at rest stops might cut into its market.
W. Dewey Clower, NATSO’s president and CEO, said the private sector, not the government, should address parking shortages. That’s largely because truck stops provide 10 times the number of spaces that the government provides, and the industry increases its parking spaces by more than 6% each year, he said.
NATSO said it also urged Congressional members to enact legislation eliminating a phase-in of low-sulfur diesel fuel. The Environmental Protection Agency approved the gradual phase-in of an ultra-low sulfur diesel, which would result in the temporary manufacture, sale and use of two separate grades of highway diesel. Instead, NATSO would like to see a single-fuel approach.
Finally, NATSO told lawmakers that tax-free fuel sales at duty-free shops – primarily on Native American tribal land – are draining money from the federal highway trust fund and create an unfair competitive advantage. Some Native American businesses sell fuel to non-Native Americans without collecting and remitting state taxes, claimed NATSO. The group urged legislators to enact law to help states collect taxes that are due.