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2/3/2012
Scrapped heavier-truck provision a victory for OOIDA membership
By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor

OOIDA is crediting its members who called and wrote to federal lawmakers this week for helping to defeat the longer-heavier truck provision in the House highway bill.

As the ATA, large shippers and the manufacturing communities applied pressure on Capitol Hill under a guise of “stand up for trucking,” OOIDA members counteracted it by telling lawmakers how such a provision would affect their businesses and livelihoods.

Lawmakers on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee got the message, voting in favor of an amendment to kill off part of the bill that would have increased truck weights to 97,000 pounds on the highways and permitted states to allow longer combination vehicles.

“OOIDA members definitely got through to congressional offices and staff on Capitol Hill,” said Ryan Bowley, the director of legislative affairs for the Association.

“Our members said that this provision would be at the expense of safety and at the expense of small business.”

Bowley spent most of this week on the Hill himself, educating lawmakers about the Association’s positions. Bowley said he heard from a number of congressional staffers who said their phones were ringing off the hook.

“Hearing that so many offices heard from OOIDA members is testament that members calling in and having their voices heard made a difference,” he said.

“It’s pretty historic when language gets included in base text of legislation, and the day before the committee markup on that legislation, the side that’s in favor of keeping that language in the bill (ATA and shippers) has their largest grassroots effort in Washington for the entire year.”

While OOIDA members can celebrate this particular vote as a victory, the multiyear surface transportation bill is chock full of provisions and amendments of interest to trucking and small businesses.

The House could consider HR7, the five-year, $260 billion surface transportation bill during the week of Feb. 13.

OOIDA is tracking provisions in the bill such as broker bonds, EOBRs, reincarnated carriers, truck parking, driver training, the affects of regulation on small-business truckers and many more.

Bowley says OOIDA could issue more Calls to Action to keep the pressure on and the rights of small-business truckers in the minds of lawmakers.

“We could certainly be calling on our members to ramp up again,” Bowley said.

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