Alexandria, Va. - Members of the nation’s truckstop and travel plaza community met with their elected officials on Capitol Hill this week to push for sustainable highway funding as well as to voice concerns with efforts to repeal debit swipe fee reform.
More than 60 NATSO members came to Washington, D.C., during National Transportation Week to urge lawmakers to find permanent, sustainable solutions to the Highway Trust Fund that don’t harm exit-based businesses, which are frequently the economic backbone of towns and communities located near federal Interstates.
Specifically, NATSO members urged lawmakers to find sustainable solutions to the Highway Trust Fund shortfall, including raising the motor fuels tax, which hasn’t been increased since 1993. NATSO members also urged lawmakers to oppose any efforts that would weaken the federal prohibitions on rest area commercialization or the tolling of existing interstates, both of which are inefficient, counter-productive mechanisms of generating revenue.
A 20 cent increase in the motor fuels tax would raise $34 billion per year for the nation’s infrastructure at a cost of just over $100 per year per passenger vehicle, according to the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Highway Statistics 2015 report. By comparison, The Road Information Program and the Texas Transportation Institute report that the cost of wear and tear from unreliable roads and congestion cost the average driver $1,483 per year.
“Businesses consistently spend money upgrading their facilities because they know it will keep them performing well and lead to a good return on investment. This same acumen needs to be applied to the nation’s infrastructure,” said NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings. “If paying $100 more is guaranteed to dramatically reduce a $1,400 expense, why wouldn’t we choose to spend that $100? There is a real economic benefit that comes back to the American people. It’s a guaranteed return.”
In addition to transportation issues, NATSO members met with elected officials from both sides of the aisle to voice concerns about the CHOICE Act, which contains a provision that would repeal debit swipe fee reforms implemented under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
Those reforms have saved consumers nearly $30 billion dollars since they were implemented.
NATSO closed its three-day event by hosting its annual Capitol Hill pie reception, where nearly 250 truckstop pies were severed to legislators and their staff.