ATA Infrastructure Task Force Meets with Secretary Chao

By Eric G Braun, Senior Writer, USRW

Just like any industry during the election year, the American Trucking Association (ATA) had its goals and agenda ready for whomever the next President would be. With that in mind, the ATA Infrastructure Task Force wasted no time in meeting with the new Secretary of Transpiration, The Honorable Elaine Chao. Who, just to make it interesting, is the wife of the controversial Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

This week, members of the American Trucking Associations’ Infrastructure Task Force traveled to Washington to meet with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, and key members of Congress, to urge swift action to move forward with a long-term infrastructure spending package to address the country’s critical need for highway and bridge improvements.

This is an issue that is on President Trump’s radar and he has made our infrastructure a part of the campaign. An ongoing problem that is normally overlooked in politics, which in turn has led to conditions being ignored or kicked down the road for the next administration. If it was dealt with in real time and kept up with, we would not find ourselves in crisis mode as opposed to an organized rollout.

Perhaps now, somebody will address it, instead of pretending it didn’t exist.

“The members of this task force represent an industry that moves 70% of the nation’s freight, moving 54% of our GDP and pays half of all highway taxes,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. "This group of industry leaders came to Washington to discuss the importance of building a modern transportation system to ensure America’s continuing competitiveness. Our nation and economy depend on good, safe, efficient roads and bridges, and that now is the time to address those needs.”

The American Transportation Research Institute’s recently released top freight bottlenecks report vividly illustrates the need to strengthen our nation’s roads and bridges. With the Trump Administration’s focus on moving a significant infrastructure package, the ATA’s Infrastructure Task Force was created immediately following the election, and includes eleven CEO-level trucking industry executives.  This week’s meetings with Secretary Chao and key congressional leaders will be the first in a series of visits. 

“The trucking industry already contributes a great deal to the Highway Trust Fund and elsewhere to finance road and bridge construction, but we recognize that we need to do more if our country is going to maintain the type of transportation network a 21st Century economy demands,” said Task Force Co-Chairman David Congdon, CEO of Old Dominion Freight Line.

“Having the opportunity to talk about these issues with Secretary Chao and congressional leaders is an important part of the process of building America and getting the kind of infrastructure bill our industry needs,” said Task Force Co-Chairman Jim Burg, president, and CEO of James Burg Trucking Co.  

US Road Warriors wishes the ATA and the Department of Transportation well in doing what’s right. The future of our industry depends on it.

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