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Trucking exec calls on Congress to do more to address freight transportation
Derek Leathers, chief operating officer of Werner Enterprises Inc., told the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that Congress needs to address the needs of the trucking industry by dedicating real funding to addressing freight transportation needs and improving the efficiency and productivity of the industry.‘Trucks move 68% of our nation’s freight tonnage . . . [and] move $8.3 trillion worth of freight each year, nearly 60% of the U.S. economy,’ Leathers said. ‘The trucking industry is expected to move an even greater share of freight in the future.’
To address that demand, Leathers said lawmakers should dedicate specific funds to projects that will benefit freight transportation like reducing or eliminating bottlenecks in the Interstate Highway System and intermodal freight connections. Revenue to fund these projects, he said, should come not from tolls, vehicle miles traveled fees or widespread private investment, but rather from augmenting the current fuel tax system.
‘The challenges facing fuel tax revenue over the next 20 years can be addressed by indexing the rate,’ he said. ‘Substituting an untested, highly inefficient revenue collection mechanisms for an efficient revenue mechanism that is already in place would be illogical and irresponsible.’
Finally, Leathers called on Congress to address truck productivity by lifting ‘the most restrictive truck weight regulations of any developed country.’
With projected increases in freight traffic, more productive trucks will be essential to meet the nation’s transportation needs.
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