Every January, we see lots of action in Washington DC. First, of course, Congress comes back from the Christmas recess. And, every other year, such as this year, the leadership changes as a new Congress is seated. This is the 114th Congress. It’s impressive that this is the 228th year of Congress. Even though I am a young 60 years old, I can recall a few good years when Congress did some great things for our country. Most would say that this Congress is not going to be much different than the last. I, personally, expect lots of continued wrangling and saber waving, but little substance. While the leadership has changed from one party to the next, there is no indication that the White House and Congress will play well together. Another 2 years of roadblocks are my expectation.
But, two other important things, especially for our industry, happen in the month of January in DC. The first happened a week ago, when the Transportation Research Board met for the 94th time to discuss their theme of Corridors to the Future: Transportation and Technology. Over 1,000 presentations on just about anything related to transportation. I’m still culling through things to determine what is most important to us for the future in trucking.
The second important DC activity this week is the annual SAE, Government and Industry meeting. More than a hundred more, very technical, presentations on safety, the environment and energy conservation. I’m expecting to get an update on the many regulations in process for trucking and bring some fresh insights to the Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) meeting in Nashville in a month.
And just to keep technology in the forefront of everyone, the Consumer Electronics Show, which now features heads of auto companies talking and meeting with suppliers, is held in Las Vegas. There is the Detroit Auto Show where new concepts are introduced. At the end of the SAE meeting, we get a brief glimpse as some of the concept vehicles from Detroit are moved to Washington DC for their auto show and a chance to show things off to that new Congress.
It’s a heady month for a guy like me that focuses on future technology, the opportunities presented and the challenges entailed.