SPECIAL REPORT: Truckers Voice Support For Kennedy’s Amendment on Interstate Tolls

| 3/31/2004

Grain Valley, MO -- The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is asking members to contact their representatives in Congress to oppose measures in the House transportation bill (HR 3550) that would add tolls to existing interstate highways.  The 108,000-member organization of small-business truckers and other trucking professionals is also asking its members to support an amendment to that bill that will be offered by Rep. Mark Kennedy, R-MN.  The amendment is a version of Kennedy's FAST Act (originally introduced as HR 1767).

The FAST Act requires that any tolls on existing interstate highways should be collected on new lanes only from users who voluntarily choose to drive in these lanes; toll revenue could be spent only on the lanes where it was collected; and the bill also requires the tolls to be eliminated once the lane is paid for. In addition, there would be electronic collection - no cash tolls or tollbooths.

"It is absolutely outrageous for lawmakers to be altering historically sound and successful highway policy by adding tolls to existing interstate highways, but it appears this is exactly what they are doing," Todd Spencer, OOIDA's executive vice president, said. "If that's the case, there is only one tolling provision in all of Congress that has any merit or integrity for highway users - that's the FAST Act."

"Obviously, we would like to see no tolls of any kind on any interstate highway, but some highly influential people in Congress are bound and determined to get tolling programs into this bill. Congressman Kennedy's FAST program is not the perfect answer, but it at least gives us a fighting chance to put reasonable and responsible limits on tolling," Spencer stated.

Founded in 1973, OOIDA is the national trade association representing the interests of small-business truckers and other trucking professionals in the United States of America. Small-business truckers (companies operating six or fewer trucks) make up over 70 percent of the motor carrier industry. OOIDA represents more truck drivers and more trucking companies than any other association in that industry. The association currently has more than 108,000 active members from all 50 states.

For more information, contact the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, 1 NW OOIDA Drive, Grain Valley, MO 64029; e-mail the association at ooida@ooida.com; go the Web site at www.ooida.com; call at (816) 229-5791; or fax to (816) 427-4468.