September 25, 2017 4:15 PM, EDT

Capitol Agenda for the Week of Sept. 25: Reforming the Tax Code

John Sommers II for Transport Topics

The real possibility of lawmakers advancing the first overhaul of the country’s tax code in more than three decades would greatly benefit the trucking industry, American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear told Transport Topics recently.

Tax reform will be a key point of discussion during Spear’s upcoming state of the industry address at the Management Conference & Exhibition in Orlando, Fla., on Oct. 23.

President Donald Trump and Congress intend to reveal details of their overhaul plan this week, and the executives represented by ATA will champion for passage of an overhaul this year, Spear said.

“It’s not the government’s money; it’s our members’ money. It belongs to them,” Spear said. “And that’s money they can use to invest in new equipment, safer technologies, driver-pay, driver-training. Whatever it is, but that’s their money.

“And it’s their decision, and it’s best spent by them to help grow companies, secure jobs and make certain that trucking is strong for the future.”

Spear assured that ATA will have front row access to policymakers shaping the debate, and the trucking industry will take part in much of the negotiations leading up to the reform’s passage. The tax proposal will generate consensus among myriad stakeholders, facilitating its passage by the end of the year.

“We’re going to be looking at a broadening of the base and the lowering of the rate. That’s really the two fundamentals that you’ll see in the reform bill,” Spear said.

Republican leaders in the House and Senate, along with the White House, have pledged to lower the 35% corporate tax rate to as low as 15%. After the easy task of enacting the tax reform package into law, Congress and the administration will turn their focus to infrastructure funding.


Sept. 26, 10 a.m.: The National Press Club presents “Transportation Expert ‘Envision City of the Future’ ” with Vincent Valdes, associate administrator of research, demonstration and innovation at the Transportation Department Federal Transit Administration, and Diana Mendes, president of the Mid/Atlantic Division and transit/rail practice leader at the HNTB Corporation.

Sept. 27, 9 a.m.: The National Academy of Sciences hosts “Rebuilding and Retrofitting the Transportation Infrastructure.”

Sept. 27, 9:15 a.m.: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hosts a meeting of the medical review board to discuss recommendations on the revision of the agency’s handbook for medical examiners.

Sept. 28, 7:45 a.m.: The Ripon Society hosts a discussion titled “Where We Agree,” with Republican Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania and Mark Walker of North Carolina.


DAIMLER: Presentations by Daimler Trucks North America looked to the future, including the notion of CascadiaE, an all-electric Class 8 the parent company of Freightliner Trucks might one day produce.

HARVEY: Containerships bound for Houston called on other ports as Hurricane Harvey slogged its way across the upper Texas coast and into the history books.

NACFE: After 50,107 miles driven over 99 driver-days, including battles with hurricanes Harvey and Irma, seven drivers from seven trucking companies gathered for a victory lap to celebrate 10.1 miles per gallon.


Those massive hurricanes that destroyed large areas in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands points to the need to invest in resilient infrastructure, Steven Cohen, executive director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, wrote in HuffPost. 


Trucking policy is yet to be included in a Senate Commerce committee bill on autonomous technology, sources tell Transport Topics. A markup is expected next month.


This year, let us begin by remembering the millions of people in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands who have been impacted by the recent hurricanes. On [Sept. 15], I spoke with Gov. Ricardo Rossello (R) of Puerto Rico and released $2.5 million in emergency funds to help with recovery efforts after Hurricane Irma.

— Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, speaking Sept. 20 during a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration in Washington, D.C.


College kids build a bridge.


Commerce Committee Ranking Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson headed to the Florida Keys to assess Irma’s damage.


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