ATA assesses transportation spending bill

Aug. 1, 2005
The United States Congress' approval of a six-year, $286.4 billion transportation spending bill has received both support and criticism from the American Trucking Associations (ATA).

The United States Congress' approval of a six-year, $286.4 billion transportation spending bill has received both support and criticism from the American Trucking Associations (ATA).

The House passed the measure 412-8, the Senate gave its consent 91-4, and the bill is headed to President Bush to be signed into law.

Bill Graves, president of the ATA, said the legislation addresses many of trucking’s key needs.

“While Congress included several initiatives that we believe will improve highway safety, we are disappointed that they failed to codify hours-of-service (HOS) regulations as the administration requested," said Graves. "We remain concerned that Congress’ inaction on hours of service will negatively impact overall highway safety and force the revision of a rule that took eight years to write and is successfully serving its intended purpose.”

A new law enforcement financing source in each of the 50 states is designed to enforce traffic violations by other drivers around large trucks. ATA also expects intermodal shipping container chassis safety to improve as equipment owners will now have to be sure their equipment adheres to highway safety operating standards.

Safety records of prospective truck drivers can now be checked electronically, which the ATA has advocated.

The group was instrumental in blocking a mandatory fuel surcharge that would have raised consumer costs for goods shipped via truck.

ATA is concerned that the bill still permits a limited number of tolls on interstate highways. The association regards tolls as an inefficient way to make money, double-taxing carriers and diverting traffic to other more dangerous routes.

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from staff and wire reports

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