By Keith Goble
state legislative editor
The dust has yet to completely settle after a rabid election season in which more than three-quarters of all federal and state elected officials were on ballots. With so many new and re-elected lawmakers preparing to get to work after the first of the year, it is worthwhile to start making plans to communicate to them what you would like to see happen during their time in office.
Since Election Day, I’ve been thinking about some of the plans that were touted by candidates on the gubernatorial campaign trail. Here are a couple of the more noteworthy plans that truckers should be proactive in discussing with their lawmakers and not just sit by to see how they play out in the months and years ahead.
In Pennsylvania, Gov.-elect Tom Corbett appears to be singing a similar tune to outgoing Gov. Ed Rendell about how to address transportation funding.
Corbett said he would consider selling public assets, such as the Pennsylvania Turnpike. In fact, the governor-elect said he would call on PennDOT and the Turnpike Commission to study the potential for new projects that expand roadway capacity. Those projects could include establishing partnerships with local governments and private companies and creating high-occupancy vehicle lanes.
It is disappointing to hear that Corbett appears to be cut from a similar cloth as Rendell – as far as leasing, or essentially selling, the turnpike. Pennsylvanians, and everyone else, deserve to have elected officials in place who are going to take more cautious steps to address infrastructure needs and not simply chase solutions by pawning off resources.
Colorado’s soon-to-be governor, John Hickenlooper, has spoken about shutting large trucks down to make travel easier for skier traffic between Denver and mountain resorts along I-70. Much ado has been made about the entanglement of weekend vacationers and large trucks on high-country roads.
Obviously something needs to be done about the traffic dilemmas in the area, but this foolish idea could have various economic impacts. On-time deliveries would be affected not only locally, but regionally and nationally. Truckers and businesses they serve would also be burdened with additional costs.
With so many new elected officials anxious to get to work and open up lines of communication with their constituents, it is a perfect time to discuss with them issues that are important to you and your trucking business. The earlier you get started by educating them on the issues the better off you, and the industry, will be. LL