By Ryan Bowley, OOIDA Director of Legislative Affairs
The recently passed highway bill may have taken the finger off the transportation funding panic button. However, the reality is that the legislation did little to settle many of the important policy issues facing our highways, especially the need to find a long-term funding solution for the Highway Trust Fund. That is a big reason why this new bill covers only two years, one-third of the time highway bills traditionally cover.
The elections this November will play a major role in setting the stage for what happens with the future of our highway program, as well as other significant issues such as tolling, public-private partnerships, regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and the potential of new environmental mandates on trucking from the Environmental Protection Agency. They will also play a role in OOIDA’s efforts to make progress on other issues critically important to truckers, from detention time to driver training and compensation.
With so many issues affecting your livelihood as a small-business trucker, it is important that you take this time before the election and reach out to the candidates running to represent you. Tell them that trucking issues matter to you as a voter. Every single member of the U.S. House of Representatives is up for re-election, and a third of U.S. senators are facing voters like you in November.
Call their campaign and/or official offices. Find out where they will be doing a campaign or town hall event and go meet with the candidates directly or their staff. You can also post on their Facebook pages. Just as important, encourage your fellow truckers to do the same.
You may think, or your friends may say, that reaching out does not matter. Yet truckers continue to show that when they do reach out about issues that are important to them, they can and do have an impact. Now is the time when candidates, both first-timers and seasoned politicians, are searching for the votes that are important for their jobs. You should make sure they know how their votes affect yours. LL