ATA pitches truck-only highways during congressional hearing

| 3/19/2007

The National Transportation Commission heard testimony in Washington, DC, Monday on how to reduce congestion and fund our highways in the future.

One of those testifying was American Trucking Association President Bill Graves, who called for a new initiative to establish freight corridors to reduce congestion.

Graves also offered a second proposal - truck-only highways.

But OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said in theory it might sound OK, but there's nothing in ATA's proposal that would benefit independent truckers.

"Proponents of that are actually singing the message of Yellow Freight and UPS and those bigger carriers that would like to be able to have more and longer combination trailers, and much, much heavier weight," Spencer said.

"We know good and well those lanes would never be built unless they're toll lanes, and they would be built for those size vehicles, so that's not something we see a benefit in at all for the vast majority of truckers."

The National Transportation Commission was created by Congress specifically to tackle the issues of highway funding and congestion, and is chaired by Transportation Secretary Mary Peters.

Others who testified during Monday's hearing voiced their support for privatization as an alternative to increasing the nation's fuel tax.

- By Reed Black, staff writer