American Trucking Associations Chairman Barbara Windsor told a congressional panel Tuesday that the trucking industry needs a new surface transportation bill, with a focus on highways, as soon as possible.
Windsor, president of Hahn Transportation, New Market, Md., said that trucks move 70% of the nationâ€™s freight, and that â€œour current highway system no longer meets our needs.â€�
â€œEvery day, freight flows through our ports, across our borders, and on our rail, highway, air and waterway systems as part of a global multimodal transportation logistics system,â€� said Hahn, speaking before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committeeâ€™s highways and transit subcommittee.
â€œHighways are the key to this system [and] a safe, efficient system of highways is essential to our countryâ€™s economic well-being, security, and overall quality of life,â€� she told the panel.
She also criticized the Obama administrationâ€™s transportation reauthorization proposal as being based heavily on ideology while ignoring practical analysis.
â€œWhile the proposal purports to significantly increase funding for highways . . . the ramp-up in funding over time is dwarfed by increases to transit and passenger rail,â€� Windsor said in her prepared remarks to the subcommittee.
â€œIncremental solutions will not allow us to meet the nationâ€™s current and future transportation requirements,â€� Windsor said. â€œWhile we know that Congress is not receptive to a fuel tax increase, we would like the record to reflect that the trucking industry is willing to accept a fuel tax increase to help fund infrastructure.â€�
Windsor said the next highway funding authorization should fund non-highway items like transit from the General Fund, rather than fund that with fuel tax receipts, and should maintain the prohibition on tolls on currently untolled interstates.
â€œTolls are a very inefficient means of revenue collection, and they cause diversion of traffic to alternative routes which are usually less safe and were not built to handle the additional traffic,â€� she told lawmakers.
Whatever funds the next authorization does generate should be used to address â€œcritical bottlenecks on heavily traveled freight corridors,â€� Windsor added.
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