TORONTO, Ont. – Doug Duncan, president and CEO of FedEx Freight, says increasing fuel taxes is the best way to fund much-needed infrastructure improvements.
He made the surprising comments during a speech at the Ontario Trucking Association’s annual convention.
Duncan said inadequate infrastructure is one of his chief concerns as a transportation professional and suggested tolls are not the best way to fund such projects.
“We should probably raise fuel taxes,” he admitted, adding 100% of money collected through fuel taxes should go directly into funding infrastructure.
Duncan pointed out that for every toll road that’s built, more expense is incurred. More toll commissions and more bureaucracy is inevitable when building toll roads, he said. Despite his concerns about infrastructure, Duncan said he feels the trucking industry has “turned the corner” for the better.
“The trucking industry had a terrible history of being against everything – if it cost a dollar, we were against it,” he said. He said the industry is coming to realize it cannot shirk its responsibilities for the sake of saving a dollar.
FedEx itself has invested heavily in new technology, including: Doppler radar systems that alert a driver to nearby objects; anti-rollover systems; lane departure warning systems; EOBRs; and truck and trailer tracking and geofencing. The company strongly encourages its drivers to take part in regional and national driving championships.
“It’s a great way to put the driver through what is, in essence training every year,” he pointed out. Duncan said he’s encouraged the industry seems to be taking its environmental responsibilities seriously – something it did not do well when the 2002 engines were introduced.
“The industry spent all its time fighting it,” he said, adding the industry’s resistance forced it to run engines in 2002 that were inadequately tested. With the 2007 engines on the way, Duncan suggested fleets have accepted the changes and been more proactive in implementing the technology.
FedEx itself has been running ultra low-sulfur diesel since October and Duncan said “We have every confidence that we will implement the 2007 engines on schedule and within our normal replacement cycle.”
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