The ATA approached the United States Senate with a plan for national economic recovery, with a focus on the trucking industry. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn, the trucking industry has been on the front lines. Now, as states begin to lift quarantine restrictions and businesses start their operations, the trucking industry has once again become the leading sector that everyone is looking to in order to kickstart the economy.
Taking Advantage of Infrastructure Opportunities
Since the start of the pandemic, people have been traveling less for work and pleasure. As a result, prices at the gas pump have plummeted, which means tax revenue isn’t being generated from fuel sales. The ATA outlined that these two factors provide an opportunity for state and federal agencies to take advantage of the relatively empty roads to work on infrastructure. Bridges and highways can be repaired during these times without disrupting the flow of traffic. Additionally, new parking spaces can be built and existing ones can be expanded to address the problem of parking for truckers when hours of service are up.
New Equipment, Fuel, and Economic Recovery
If economic recovery starts with the trucking industry, then they are going to need to retain as much revenue as possible. Instead of pouring revenue into fuel and equipment maintenance, the ATA called for cleaner fuel, more fuel-efficient engines, and even alternative energies, such as electric trucks. Better running Class 8 vehicles would allow the industry to optimize supply chains and keep things rolling as businesses get on their feet.
Investing in New Drivers
The trucking industry has had an ongoing shortage of drivers. As we enter the beginning phases of economic recovery, we will need even more drivers to ensure commerce can take place quickly and efficiently. The ATA implored the Senate to offer incentives to bring new drivers into the trucking industry. Not just young and inexperienced drivers, but to also draw from those who have been furloughed or laid off in other industries during the pandemic. This would not only improve the economy and help bolster the workforce in the trucking industry, but it would also lower the current unemployment rate.
The Senate still has yet to make a decision on the ATA’s roadmap, but Express Freight Finance will report any details as they are unveiled.