Trucking’s Grave concerns

BOSTON — There are five things keeping American Trucking Associations (ATA) president and CEO Bill Graves awake at night, he says:

– Highway funding;
– Democrats running Congress and Senate;
– Unions;
– The greenhouse gas stock exchange known as cap-and-trade;
– And finally, the governator.

Graves made the comments last week during an environmental seminar sponsored by Volvo Trucks. The event coincided with the Boston appearance of all the sailboats in the Volvo Ocean Race (, which are racing way around the globe. (Other presenters at the seminar included AB Volvo CEO Leif Johansson, Volvo Trucks North America senior vice-president sales and marketing Scott Kress and MIT Professor of Engineering John Heywood.)

According to Graves, the U.S. highway system is in dire need of upgrading but, he said, there’s no more money in the Reauthorization for Surface Transportation and the States are falling badly behind the rest of the world.

Even though the demand for trucking continues to grow, he says, by 2017, “China is going to supercede us in interstate mileage.” That shouldn’t come as a surprise, Graves noted because at the moment “there are more people in China who speak English than there are in America.”

Further, he said, despite President Obama’s protestations to the contrary, the U.S. Congress is not bipartisan. Referring to a popular Public Broadcasting System image showing a donkey head-to-head with an elephant, symbolizing the two American political parties, Graves said its creators should redraw the image “and the donkey should be pushing the elephant out of the picture.”

Graves also said he is very worried about the impact of legislation known as Card Check, which if passed will make it much easier to form unions and that cap-and-trade tools for containing emissions “would be an enormous new tax on consumers.”

Finally, Graves said: “There’s not a day goes by CARB (California Air Resources Board) doesn’t issue something that is difficult to work around.

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