The American Trucking Associations says it cannot support the American Power Act, the climate change bill introduced by U.S. Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman.
Bill Graves, ATA president and chief executive officer, says the bill will raise the cost of gasoline and diesel fuel without significantly reducing the output of carbon dioxide by the trucking industry, which is a nondiscretionary user of diesel fuel.
The Senate bill would require refiners to purchase billions of dollars worth of carbon allowances that correspond to the carbon footprint of the fuels they sell. ATA says it believes the refiners then will pass this cost on to consumers in the form of higher fuel prices.
“While others might object to our characterization, the climate bill clearly imposes a tax on transportation fuels and reallocates revenue from that tax for non-transportation purposes,” Graves says. Only a small portion of the tax would go to the Highway Trust Fund for improvements to the nation’s highway infrastructure, he says.
Meanwhile, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association says the Kerry-Lieberman bill will have a tough time getting passed during an election year.
In addition, OOIDA Director of Legislative Affairs Mike Joyce says the bill ultimately will impose a tax on users of fossil fuels, such as truckers. “They said that the Congressional Budget Office would score this as not being a fuel tax, but about putting a price on carbon,” Joyce said. “Lieberman said this bill puts a price on carbon, and that means a fuel tax is coming.”
The bill will markedly increase the cost of fuel, but the trucking industry is not a discretionary user of fuel, Graves said, because “the bulk of trucking companies’ fuel use is for their economically vital role of distributing freight.”
— Staff reports
ARIZONA. Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill that called for studying the safety of keeping trucks to the right on Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson and other non-urbanized areas with three or more lanes in each direction. State law limits slow traffic to the right.
CONNECTICUT. Beginning in December 2013, truck drivers operating in the state could face $75 fines for not removing snow and ice from their vehicles and fines up to $1,250 if ice or snow flies off and causes damage or injury.
IDAHO. A rest area at the junction of U.S. 20 and Idaho Highway 75 is getting an estimated $2 million makeover to add five parking spaces and create separate areas for trucks and cars. The rest area plans to reopen in September.
KENTUCKY. A law prohibits texting while driving for drivers of all ages, except in an emergency. Warnings will be issued this year to drivers to inform them of the law, which takes effect Jan. 1.