In testimony before Congress this week, Martin Rojas, vp of security & operations for the American Trucking Assns. (ATA) decried that the extensive mandating of post-9/11 security rules on the transportation sector has put trucking’s focus “more on regulatory compliance than evaluating the impact of existing security requirements.”
Rojas testified before the House Subcommittee on Transportation Security that ATA wants Congress to direct the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to work with industry rather than issue “excessive, burdensome and duplicative” security rules.
“The private sector is an essential partner and part of the solution for combating terrorism,” said Rojas at the hearing. “We don’t need more regulation, we need more cooperation.”
Indeed, he pointed to the apprehension by federal authorities of terrorist Khalid Ali-M Aldawarsi following tips gained from ATA-member company Con-way Inc., as a “model for future private sector-public sector partnerships.”
Along with limiting future security mandates, Rojas recommended in his testimony that as Congress looks to the reauthorization of TSA for the next fiscal year it should:
- Encourage information sharing between the public and private sectors
- Improve coordination between federal agencies, many of whom already play a role in transportation security
- Ensure the roll-out of “readers” for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential moves forward promptly.
Rojas emphasized that in the decade since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks there have been numerous security programs launched that aimed to minimize the risk of another attack on U.S. soil. But, he stressed, while those measures were “well intended” they have resulted in a “multiplicity of overlapping and burdensome security requirements on trucking companies.
“Unfortunately,” he testified, “rather than augmenting the security of the transportation sector, the focus has been more on regulatory compliance than evaluating the impact of existing security requirements.”
Rojas went on to state that the Committee should “recognize that the trucking industry must also comply with a number of other regulations. In addition to security regulations, the trucking industry faces a far-reaching and complex federal safety regulatory system.
“Increasing the regulatory burden on trucking companies as they are struggling to recover from the ‘Great Recession,’” he contended, “does not help this critical industry improve its security nor its ability to grow its bottom line to spur economic growth and create more jobs.”
Rojas also told the Committee that passage of the MODERN Security Credentials Act of 2011 remains ATA’s “top security policy priority for its potential to bring relief to millions of truck drivers and thousands of trucking companies from unnecessary and overlapping background checks and the resulting excessive costs.” He praised committee members for their efforts and bipartisan leadership in addressing the continued multiplicity of Security Threat Assessments (STAs) that commercial drivers undergo as they go about doing their jobs.
”In addition to multiple STAs” Rojas stated, “there are several government regulations and programs that require trucking companies to develop security plans, provide security training, develop en-route security procedures and incorporate security designs at company facilities, many with overlapping requirements.”
He said these include:
- The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), within DOT
- Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)
- Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP)
“ATA recognizes that higher-risk operating environments, such as air cargo or cross-border operations, have security requirements that must address specific risks associated with such operations,” Rojas conceded. But he said the resulting “one-size-fits-all security approach is not a viable methodology for designing and implementing security requirements for an industry with such diverse operations.”
He advised instead that federal agencies improve inter-agency communication and coordination “to establish mechanisms that recognize basic ‘common’ requirements in other security programs.”