As deadline nears, ATA asks Congress for highway bill extension

With the latest extension of federal highway funding legislation about to expire, leaders from American Trucking Associations (ATA) called on Congress to quickly pass another short extension while continuing to focus on a long-term bill.

“The trucking industry moves nearly 70 percent of our nation’s freight tonnage and pays for nearly half of the Highway Trust Fund, so we have a lot of skin in this game,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said. “We’re willing to pay more at the pump to help Congress get a long-term solution for our infrastructure across the finish line in 2015. Our elected leaders should stop considering a lengthy delay that will certainly prevent passage of a long-term bill this year and vote to keep the highway program going through the summer while they craft a serious piece of long-term legislation.”

A statement from ATA said the trucking industry pays $16.5 billion in federal highway user fees, and has repeatedly urged Congress to raise the fuel tax in order to fund important projects to reduce congestion, improve capacity and efficiency and create jobs.

“We’re very concerned about our ability to pass a highway bill that leads us into the 21st Century,” said ATA First Vice Chairman Pat Thomas, vice president at UPS, “We need Congress to pass a short-term patch and then immediately take into consideration a long-term highway bill. A five- or six-year bill that will provide the additional capacity that we need in this economy. We can’t afford any further delay.”

The current extension expires May 31.