ATA Asks Congress To Raise Fuel Taxes
With only four months to go before the Highway Trust Fund again faces bankruptcy, American Trucking Associations, AA and the Chamber of Commerce have appealed to Congress to raise taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel as a solution to revitalize the Trust Fund and keep the U.S. infrastructure of roads and bridges from crumbling.
The “user pays” model — based on taxing fuel purchases — is the most fair and practical way to shore up the Trust Fund, ATA and the other groups wrote in their letter to Congress.
“Rather than continuing to resort to short-term funding patches that only delay tough decisions, our organizations support action to address the issue pragmatically, immediately and sustainably,” the letter reads. “While no one wants to pay more, we urge you to support an increase to the federal fuels user fee, provided the funds are used to ease congestion and improve safety, because it is the most cost efficient and straightforward way to provide a steady revenue stream to the Highway Trust Fund.”
The supporters of this approach point out that our "crumbling infrastructure" causes up 141 million hours of lost productivity in the trucking industry. That is equilvalent to 51,000 drivers sitting idle for an entire year according to ATA.
More specifically, the average fleet spends $324 per year per vehicle for repairs due to poor road conditions. ATA and others also point out that in 2011 Americans wasted some 5.5 billion hours and 2.9 billion gallons of fuel "stuck in traffic". By 2020, those numbers are expected to rise to 8.4 billion hours and 4.5 billion gallons of fuel.
Also, said the group, 877,000 jobs are at risk if Congress doesn't act to rescue the Highway Trust Fund.
CONGRESS AT IMPASS
Increasingly lawmakers are arguing for a fuel tax increase as a solution the the Highway Funding crisis. Senator Dick Durbin (D-ILL) said that "now is the time" for increasing fuel taxes. Likewise Senatore Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who heads the finance committee, said he is open to a possible fuel tax increase. Historically Hatch has supported legislation to allow states to opt out of the federal highway program.
Note that fuel taxes were last raised in 1993.
Will it happen? Not according to Senate "leader" Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) who said outright that Congress would not likely clear a fuel tax increase. The House leader Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) also says he does not support increasing fuel taxes.
Not hopeful of any tax increases, the Obama administration continues to push for closing corporate tax loopholes and using the revenue gains to support the Highway Trust Fund.
2014-2015 CMCA Safety Awards Nominations Now Open
This is a great opportunity to recognize your company, drivers, and safety professionals for their dedication to highway safety. Awards will be presented at the CMCA Safety Awards Banquet to be held in April 2015.
All nomination forms are available on the Safety News Page. All forms need to be returned to the Colorado Motor Carriers Association by March 6, 2015 to be eligible.
If you have any questions about the Competition, please call Patti Gillette at (303) 433-3375, extension 104.
Ray Smith Scholarship
Applications Now Being Accepted
The Colorado Motor Carriers Association is proud to continue our tradition for providing scholarships for worthy students.
Two types of scholarships are available:
One for college or University students
One for students wishing to study Diesel Mechanics & technology at a Technical School
These scholarships have eligibility criteria and are very competitive. Applicants must be related to a CMCA member company by employment or family employment.
DEADLINE FOR FILING: March 13, 2015
Applications and Details are available
on the Scholarship page.
Diesel Cost Now Lowest Since 2010
January is the seventh consecutive month of falling crude oil prices. Oil is now below $50 a barrel and continues to drop. It reflects continued growth in U.S. oil production, strong global supply and weakened oil demand due to economic declines in many countries. Diesel and gasoline prices in the U.S. clearly reflect this decline.
The sharp declines have increased market uncertainty of future prices. Sustained low prices may curtain production by high-cost producers such as Britain's North Sea oil fields.
U.S. Shale oil production is also becoming increasingly less profitable as world prices decline.
To some extent, OPEC's ongoing strategy of not reducing output is related to Middle-Eastern politics as it affects the revenues ISIS can generate from captured oil fields in Syria and Iraq.
Bottom line is that future prices for the trucking industry are highly unpredictable.
Courtesy: Energy Information Administration, and TruckingInfo.com.
New ATA Survey Shows Driver Pay is Competitive
A new study by the American Trucking Associations contends that median pay for truck drivers in the U.S. is on par with the national median for U.S. households, while the trucking industry offers driver's competitive benefits. Median U.S. household income is just over $53,000.
These are the findings of the 2014 Driver Compensation Study, which surveyed over 130 fleets covering more than 130,000 drivers.
"Fleets are raising pay and offering generous benefit packages in order to attract and keep their drivers in the face of a growing driver shortage," said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. "As the economy grows, we are seeing an ever more competitive driver market," Costello said. "The data in this report will be critical for fleets looking to recruit and retain the best drivers."
A copy of the report can be ordered through ATA's website.