OOIDA Board meets to set 2014 budget and strategies
Members of OOIDA's Board of Directors, executive officers, D.C. office staff and others assembled last month at the Great Wolf Lodge near the Kansas Speedway to conduct the OOIDA Board fall meeting. The meeting was held in conjunction with the Heart of America Trucking Show Oct. 18-19 in Kansas City, Kan.

By Sandi Soendker, editor-in-chief

The board’s agenda included business items like approving the 2014 budget and other items that essentially wrap up the end of the year, but board members focused principally on the Association’s strategies for 2014.

Board members approved minutes from the previous meeting, and heard the finance and business report from OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston and Chief Operating Office Rod Nofziger.

Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said from the beginning OOIDA recognized that if gains were going to be made for truckers, it would be made in government affairs.

The government affairs overview presented by Spencer focused on the need to stay engaged with lawmakers’ offices on trucking-specific issues for small-business truckers and professional drivers.

Ryan Bowley and Ben Siegrist, the Association’s government affairs staff, updated the board on regulatory affairs and legislative matters. Bowley reported to the board that the Truckers for Safety agenda has received “great feedback” on the hill and from OOIDA members.

The Truckers for Safety agenda was developed by the Association in an effort to promote a true safety-minded agenda in D.C. while countering overbearing regulations that do little to improve highway safety and that simply drive up the cost of business.

A portion of the D.C. staff’s update addressed MAP 21 – the existing highway law – that expires in about a year. Siegrist said the “biggest pendulum swinging over the next highway bill” is where the money will come from.

“And it’s our job to make sure it does not come out of the pockets of truckers,” he said, “like tolling or raising the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax.”

OOIDA continues to support a long term fix – i.e., a fuel tax increase. In addition, it is open to moving to a percentage-based fuel tax structure.

Jim Johnston reported on the Association’s litigation activities, including details on a new lawsuit recently filed against the state of New York, challenging certain highway taxes as being unconstitutional. Along with OOIDA, the named plaintiffs in the class action complaint are four board members – Bryan Spoon, Steve Bixler, Jack McComb and Lewie Pugh. More information about this lawsuit can be found in the adjacent report on this page.

FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro was scheduled to join the board for a roundtable discussion, but her arrival in Kansas City was delayed by the government shutdown. With the resolution of that crisis the day before the meeting began, Ferro met Friday, Oct. 18, with board members at a special discussion during the Heart of America show.

Ferro was appointed by President Obama in 2009 and, to date, she is the agency’s longest-serving administrator. 

The Association’s leadership meets twice a year to conduct business. The full OOIDA Board of Directors will meet again in the spring at OOIDA’s headquarters in Grain Valley, Mo. LL