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Nearly a week after a U.S. House transportation policy panel heard from trucking industry leaders and stakeholders, we thought it would be worthwhile to share the perspective from one of the safest commercial drivers in the country.
Robert “Bo” Gordon, a Walmart driver for the past 16 years, lives and breathes safety. So much so in fact, that family and friends refer to him as “Mr. Safety.”
We met Gordon at the Indiana Truck Driving Championships on June 8. A few months earlier, he was recognized as Indiana’s Driver of the Year. That’s understandable, since he has accrued nearly 5 million accident-free miles over a career spanning more than four decades.
There were myriad reasons why he pursued truck driving, not the least of which was the opportunity to contribute to a culture of safety nationwide, as well as delivering resources to local communities. When he mentors younger drivers, he reminds them to stay focused on the task at hand and never tailgate.
We’re out here to be safe and get home the same as everybody else.
Robert "Bo Gordon, Indiana Driver of the Year
“The culture of safety is that I want to make it home safely, and I want other traveling motorists to make it home safely,” Gordon told Transport Topics on June 17. “So that’s my whole culture is that I want to go home safely. I want to see them go home safely. And it’s just a daily. You never let your guard down.”
Over the years, he’s taken time to reflect on the impact his deliveries have had on cities and towns. He’s hauled everything from materials for bridges and produce for supermarkets.
“You start thinking about all the stuff that you’re hauling; what the end product is going to be,” he explained. “You’re going to go past somebody having a picnic, you think to yourself, ‘You know what, I probably hauled them watermelons and all that to them.’ ”
Gordon’s contributions is a microcosm of the trucking industry. As he put it, “We’re out here providing a service to keep America moving, alright. We don’t go in the front door in many of the very places. It’s always the back door. We deliver in the back.”
“Every trucking company supplies something to the United States to keep it moving,” he said. “We’re out here to be safe and get home the same as everybody else.”
The Week Ahead (all times Eastern)
June 19, 10 a.m.: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration head Ray Martinez is scheduled to appear before the Senate Commerce Committee. Other witnesses will include Ronald Batory, administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration; Joel Szabat, assistant Transportation Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs; and Heidi King, deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. FMCSA delayed the release of a proposed rule on hours of service originally scheduled for June 7.
June 17, 2 p.m.: The U.S. Department of Transportation hosts a teleconference of the advisory committee on human trafficking.
June 18, 9:30 a.m.: The Brookings Institution hosts a discussion on infrastructure policy with former Deputy Transportation Secretary John Porcari, and DJ Gribbin, former special assistant to the president for infrastructure.
June 19, 10:30 a.m.: The House Energy Subcommittee hosts a hearing on the country’s network of pipelines.
June 20: The Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee and Energy Subcommittee are scheduled to hold a joint hearing on the corporate average fuel-economy standards.
June 20, 10 a.m.: The House Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee hosts a hearing on the rail industry’s workforce.
As it stands, the state-of-play is as follows: The White House lacks a press secretary. The House has a strong case of impeachment fever. The Senate still ghosts on legislative efforts. And, a vision for the nation’s infrastructure system is not maturing.
In Case You Missed It
The chairman of the House Maritime subcommittee, Rep. Sean Maloney (D-N.Y.), appears to be expanding his to-do list.
Who’s New (Amazonification edition)
Everybody can agree that the upcoming arrival of Amazon will change the long-term look of the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington, Va. A decade ago, the neighborhood was a low-tempo corporate plaza home to defense contractors and a few chic steakhouses. Lately, it’s becoming a developer’s dream, with new high-rises taking shape and old ones undergoing renovations. The influx of employees, residents and auxiliary businesses resulting from Amazon will benefit the economy locally and regionally, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Transportation and Infrastructure Ed Mortimer told Transport Topics earlier this year.
“I think it’s going to be a real boom to the community,” Mortimer said. “It’s going to really help the airport. You know, that airport is going to continue to grow … I think it’s really transformed the community.”
Of course, Mortimer acknowledged one caveat. “It’s pretty expensive to live there now.”
Amendments in the House to the fiscal 2020 transportation funding bill include efforts by Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) to increase the BUILD infrastructure grants by $100 million.
On June 12, American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear shared with federal transportation policymakers an industry perspective on safety and commerce.
In an interview with ABC News, POTUS was adamant everybody welcomes oppo research, despite the source.
Jim Risch, the Senate Foreign Relations chairman, was not all too interested my Qs about Trump’s ABC interview pic.twitter.com/2lPbyEdLUV— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) June 13, 2019
The Last Word
I think what we do is we just focus on delivering the facts every day.
White House Council of Economic Advisers Chair Kevin Hassett on June 14.