Rising to industry challenges now, instead of later

On Oct. 4, the working subgroups of the Government Affairs Committee presented key strategies on OOIDA’s “green” initiative, highway funding and port issues. You’ll hear more about these vital initiatives in 2009, but for now here’s the general picture.

Always green. Howard Hart, board member from Spokane, WA, chaired the green work group and presented its proposal for an “Always Green” initiative for a cleaner, safer, more efficient trucking environment.

“The railroad association has its plan for the future, and that’s to move freight from truck to rail. The cost, of course, to ramp up the rails is huge,” said Hart. “ATA wants bigger, heavier trucks, which will put additional wear and tear on our roads and bridges and require substantial investment.”

The OOIDA plan will target operational efficiency, pushing for greener docks by streamlining logistics/shipping practices and extending shippers’ hours to “get trucks in and get trucks out.”

“Our current system capacity is way underutilized,” said Hart. “Truckers work 24/7. But the places where we pick up and deliver have never worked on that schedule, so the industry is totally out of step. To make trucking a cleaner, more efficient, more profitable place, that boondoggle has to get better. It is our position to push for those changes.”

“These are significant strategies because they are achievable right now, not 10 years down the road. America needs fixes that can be realized as soon as possible,” said Board Member John Taylor. “Unlike solutions from other industry stakeholders, ours are realistic and affordable.”

The board voted to package the plan and share it with appropriate parties and lawmakers. The plan included fuel-efficiency initiatives such as encouraging states to implement the EPA Model Idle Law, make the best use of the EPA grant for purchasing APUs, continue OOIDA’s APU loan program, support the purchase of aerodynamic equipment and more.

Highway bill work group. Charles Parfrey, Board Member from Spokane, WA, chaired the highway bill work group. The group discussed its wish list of “realistic, achievable initiatives” that fall under the safety umbrella and under DOT’s jurisdiction to be prioritized by the Board. Government Affairs Director Rod Nofziger will follow up.

Port work group. Bill Boyd, Board Member from Mt. Pleasant, SC, chaired this subcommittee. After a point-by-point report on the subcommittee’s plan, the board agreed that OOIDA will work to ensure that access to port facilities for interstate operators – whether owner-operators or employees – will not be unduly impeded and that port initiatives are lawful and reasonable. The work group stressed that the Association should be active in identifying port abuses, and work to appropriately eliminate redundancy in credentials and fees. The board voted to accept the stated plan. LL