CABT Update: Coalition Keeps Bigger-Truck Provisions Out of Senate Committee
The Senate Appropriations Committee met earlier today to mark up the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill that was expected to be a vehicle for legislation approving both longer double-trailer trucks and heavier single-trailer trucks. The threat was especially serious because the new committee chair has been the chief sponsor of the Double 33s provision in the past. I am happy to report that neither bigger-truck provision was included in the appropriations bill, which was a setback for bigger-truck proponents.
This is yet another significant victory for our broad coalition of community and business leaders, and many thanks to those of you who contacted Congress. As I wrote to you earlier this week, Double 33s proponents have been aggressively lobbying Congress since early this year, and were publicly pushing their longer-truck provision in these final weeks through radio and digital ads placed inside the Beltway. Despite the backing from these powerful companies, outreach and pressure from the coalition of rail supply associations, short lines, Class Is and trucking companies was incredibly effective. Among our many partners that deserve thanks and appreciation for their efforts, I want to specifically thank AAR, ASLRRA, NRC, REMSA, RSI, RSSI, TCA and each of their respective members.
Our partners made important contributions to this successful campaign but two specific projects stand out to me. The first is our fly-in of state troopers, sheriffs and police chiefs from 19 states, who volunteered their time to travel to D.C. and meet with their Members of Congress. And the second is the letter delivered earlier this year to Congress by over 1,000 local officials from across the country—mayors, county commissioners and public works directors—opposing bigger trucks because of the negative impacts they would have on local communities. When respected community leaders are offered a platform to voice their concerns about bigger trucks and offer their expertise, Members of Congress listen. CABT delivers that platform.
The appropriations bills will next be heard on both chamber floors, where we will need to keep an eye on any amendment action, but we are confident that, for now, momentum is on our side.
Our victories are always hard fought. We must keep in mind that bigger-truck proponents are highly motivated and have vast resources to achieve their goals, as demonstrated by their recent ad campaigns and lobbying efforts. Bigger-truck proposals will remain a perennial threat for the foreseeable future. We remain committed to holding the line on bigger trucks, both in Congress and in state legislatures across the country.
We will celebrate today's victory, thanks in large part to your support, and we will return tomorrow to prepare for the next campaign.
Please let me know if I can answer any questions, and thank you for your continued support of CABT.
Coalition Against Bigger Trucks
A Message From Chair Judy Petry
I wanted to let you all know that Linda Darr has informed me of her resignation from ASLRRA, effective July 27, 2018. Linda has accepted a role as the CEO of another trade association commencing in August of this year. Linda’s new position will offer her a significant opportunity to grow as a leader in a considerably larger organization and industry but that she has mixed emotions about moving on having greatly enjoyed and grown from her time working with all of you.
While I believe this is a loss for the association, I also firmly believe that change also presents opportunity. I assure you that, working with the ASLRRA Executive Committee, we will make the most of this opportunity to put a strong, competent leader in place to help ASLRRA and the short line railroad industry to prepare well for the future. Our recently approved Strategic Plan will help to provide a road map for that effort.
As you all know, Linda joined ASLRRA in late 2014. During her time here at ASLRRA much has been accomplished including:
successfully advocating for the 45G tax credit (ASLRRA hasn’t skipped a year of eligibility since 2004)
standing up the Short Line Safety Institute securing more than $8.5 million in federal appropriations since FY15 (and on track for $2.5 million more in FY19) to support safety culture assessments and training and, more recently hazmat training efforts
growing our ASLRRA-PAC from $110,000 in the 2013/14 2-year cycle to $190,000 in the 2015/16 2-year cycle through programs like the Pinewood Derby and the Kicking Back for the PAC events at the regional meetings
working to secure a $2.5 million grant to help our short lines required to comply with the PTC mandate through things like the PTC-BOS program; development of a Safety Action Plan Template for short lines; a high hazmat insurance program currently under development,and standing up a PTC Executive Working Group to guide us in all these efforts
adding strength and professionalism to our publications like the new Connector Magazine and the updated Short Line Facts and Figures book, and to our events including the annual CONNECTIONS convention, Fall regional meetings and Railroad Day on the Hill.
Working with ASLRRA Vice Chair, Doc Claussen, I will convene the ASLRRA Executive Committee this week to develop a fair and thorough process for selecting our new ASLRRA President and will keep you informed of our progress. In the meantime, I’m sure you will join me in congratulating Linda on her new opportunity and wishing her the best of luck moving forward.