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January 28, 2018 8:00 PM, EST

Editorial: A Moment to Come Together

As the old saying goes, there is strength in numbers. And some of what leaders on Capitol Hill are saying suggests now is a good time for various factions across the trucking industry to come together toward common goals.

Infrastructure spending, for one. A six-page document purported to be a draft of President Donald Trump’s outline for his long-awaited 10-year, $1 trillion infrastructure plan (recent reports indicate the price tag could increase) reveals a heavy reliance on tolling to pay for upgrades, something that most carriers don’t want to see. Groups including American Trucking Associations, Natso and the Alliance for Toll-Free Highways have publicly expressed concern about the proposal’s reliance on tolling.

Given this industry reaction, Trump may want to make some tweaks to that plan between now and his Jan. 30 State of the Union address, when it is widely expected that he will finally unveil the details of this long-awaited plan. By the time you pick up your next Transport Topics, we’ll know if he did.

Farther down the horizon is legislation for the advancement of autonomous vehicle technology, and lawmakers’ failure — thus far, at least — to include trucks in their plans. Here again, the industry has voiced concern, but congressional leaders aren’t budging. Their sentiment is that something must first get done as it relates to autonomous cars — and the underlying technology infrastructure — before bringing trucks into the equation.

This, to us, sounds like flawed logic. Trucks’ importance on American roads — and the advancements already being made with them in the autonomous realm — demands that they be included in this planning. Here’s hoping that lawmakers soon realize this.

A concerted, positive effort from the industry would help. If these issues matter to you, contact your members of Congress. Remind them how important trucking is to the country, the economy and their constituents. The impact of a call here, an e-mail there, and perhaps even a handwritten letter could combine to demonstrate how powerful trucking can be when it exercises the strength of its numbers.