American Trucking Associations (ATA) Chairman Ray Kuntz on Wednesday, April 16, asked a Senate panel to make fundamental changes to federal surface transportation programs to allow the trucking industry to move freight more efficiently.
Testifying before the Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Kuntz — chairman and chief executive officer of Watkins and Shepard Trucking in Helena, Mont. — said key program changes will improve the nation’s global competitiveness, reduce fuel consumption and lower vehicle emissions.
“Currently, our country appears to be facing an economic slowdown, we are in the midst of an energy crisis, and an environmental crisis is looming,” Kuntz said. “A long-term plan to rebuild our highway infrastructure and reduce congestion will stimulate our economy, reduce fuel consumption, reduce our carbon footprint and ensure our nation’s ability to compete in a global economy. The correct path, though not easy, seems clear.”
Kuntz asked the subcommittee to dedicate additional resources for repairing critical highway freight bottlenecks, address rural highway needs and ensure that the public interest is protected by limiting tolling and private financing as a means of funding infrastructure projects.
He also highlighted the need to fund congestion relief efforts and recommended the creation of a new program that would keep congestion relief funds separate from the overall highway trust fund. He recommended reforms to federal truck size-and-weight limits that give states more flexibility to make common-sense changes to their own regulatory regimes.