Expect biodiesel push, more mandated equipment, says ATA
With the US Congress now controlled by Democrats, American Trucking Associations (ATA) vice-president Tim Lynch is warning that federal mandates and a push for biodiesel are probably going to become a new reality for the trucking industry.
Congress doesn’t have the budget to fund new programs, so it will undoubtedly begin turning to the private sector with a message of “we want you to do this,” he said in a keynote address to the ATA’s Technology and Maintenance Council.
That means a government that mandates solutions. Need to keep a driver awake? Put a device on the truck. Need to keep vehicles from rear-ending each other? Put a device on the truck. “Incentives will be limited, and certainly limited to a set of priorities.”
A set of environmental priorities can also be expected, he added.
For proof of a changing legislative environment, Lynch points to the recent renaming of two subcommittees of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee – each of which included the words “Global Warming”. And since the agriculturally rich state of Iowa represents a key step in the upcoming presidential race, he said the ATA expects candidates to promote the use of biodiesel.
While the US government focuses on these priorities, however, Lynch is questioning other needs that are being left behind. The nation’s infrastructure is in a state of “crisis”, he said. “We don’t have anyone with the vision of Dwight Eisenhower.” And it’s been half a century since the general-turned-president unveiled his vision.
Equally, Lynch raised concerns about the growing move to privatize highways. The road system could simply become a “cash cow” for private interests, and there are questions about the standards that will be imposed with these deals, he said. Limits could also be set on the standards for parallel routes, and private interests could decide to ban hazardous commodities on the highways that they operate.
“What requirements will they have to maintain the condition of the road?” he added.
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