October 7, 2014 8:00 PM, EDT

Video: ATA to Pursue Federal Transportation Plan, Image Improvement, as MC&E Ends

Graves, Byrd, Long by John Sommers II for Transport Topics
SAN DIEGO — Leadership of a revised, restructured American Trucking Associations wants to plow forward on the federal Highway Trust Fund and a surface transportation plan, but also sees an opportunity to burnish the industry's image with the public.

ATA President Bill Graves and the federation's top elected leaders said infrastructure improvement is imperative and they will have to push and cajole politicians into making the critical decisions they were elected to make.

After absorbing an opinion study by pollster Neil Newhouse, Graves said he "understands why Congress has been so confused" on highway infrastructure, "but they have to make the best decision they can on how to solve a problem, even if it might not be popular."

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Duane Long, the new ATA chairman from North Carolina, said he will travel the country as did his predecessor, Philip Byrd Sr., to get the word out on trucking's attributes and contributions to the nation's economy, as well as its preferences on key political issues.

In addition to Long replacing Byrd in the chairman's slot, Pat Thomas of UPS Inc. was elevated to first vice chairman of ATA. Kevin Burch of Jet Express in Dayton, Ohio, rises to second vice chairman.

Barry Pottle of Maine and Dave Manning of Tennessee will be vice chairmen.

Graves, president of ATA since January 2003, will remain with the federation at least through the end of 2016.