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Trucking plays essential role in crises: Bradley

TORONTO, Ont. -- OTA President David Bradley yesterday reminded the Ontario government of the role trucking plays d...


TORONTO, Ont. — OTA President David Bradley yesterday reminded the Ontario government of the role trucking plays during crisis situations.<br>
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Bradley did so during an appearance before a Queen’s Park legislative justice committee studying Ontario’s emergency preparedness.<br>
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He reminded the committee of the essential role the trucking industry plays in keeping the economy moving during crisis situations and delivering much-needed food, medical, equipment and other supplies during emergency situations (for example, the Ice Storm, post 9/11 border chaos, 2003 blackout, SARS, Saguenay & Winnipeg floods, B.C. forest fires).<br>
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In making the presentation, Bradley was joined by OTA Vice President Barrie Montague and Doug Switzer, OTA’s manager of government relations.<br>
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“The trucking industry needs to know what role it is expected to play in an emergency in order to respond quickly and effectively,” said OTA president David Bradley. “The transportation component of getting food, supplies and equipment to where they are needed, or to market, is often an afterthought. Governments and relief agencies often leave transportation considerations to the last and/or don’t know who to call.”<br>
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Bradley addressed issues like access to fuel during a crisis (urging the province to establish an emergency stockpile) and temporary suspensions or exemptions from operating regulations such as driver hours of service and truck weights and dimensions. Other concerns raised included the issue of liability insurance while operating under emergency situations, as well as route planning and crash clean up. <br>
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“Clean-up of major highway events is often a long, drawn-out affair.” Many government agencies can be involved in the post-collision investigation and clean up, and it’s not always clear who is in charge, which impedes efficient response. The Red Tape Review Commission studied this matter and OTA participated, but it is not clear to the association whether any of the recommendations of the Commission have been formally adopted,” said Bradley.<br>
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Bradley also said there needs to be a clear focus on border problems, and that the Ontario government must have a specific strategic plan and funding in place for investment in border infrastructure such as bridges and approaches, as well as for highway investment. He added that there must also be adequate funding for enforcement on highways and the approaches to the border, and that emergency response plans should be developed for the approaches to the border. He asked the MPPs how the province’s economy could withstand a terrorist attack on key border infrastructure like a major bridge crossing.<br>
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“OTA does not profess to have all the answers or full knowledge of all contingencies that have been. Nor is OTA discounting the hard work that so many people have done to try and ensure that Ontario is prepared for the next emergency. Those individuals have been severely tested in the last couple of years and have done a great service to the Province. The above observations and suggestions are offered in a spirit of co-operation and a desire to be of assistance,” said Bradley.<br>
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For a copy of OTA’s submission, visit http://www.ontruck.org/news/industry/pdf/040825_Standing_Committee_Justice_Emergency_Preparedness.pdf<br>
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