Ag groups add their opposition to truck-only VMT

February 26, 2020

Greg Grisolano

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A truck-only vehicle miles tax would increase truck transportation costs, lower market prices and reduce market share for U.S. agriculture, warns a coalition of agricultural commodities groups.

In a Feb. 21 letter sent to both the chairman and ranking member of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, a group of 29 national associations and 49 state and regional groups representing growers, livestock and dairy producers asked for the committee to include “broad-based funding mechanisms to ensure all who benefit from the transportation system contribute fairly to upgrading and maintaining America’s roads and bridges.” The letter specifically asks the committee not to use a truck-only VMT tax.

“As you work to advance a surface transportation reauthorization bill, our organizations urge you to create a legislative package that includes funding supported by all road users,” the letter states. “We caution against the use of funding, such as a truck-only vehicle miles tax, that would place a disproportionate share of the burden on freight transportation.”

The letter was signed by the Agricultural Retailers Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, and the Transportation Intermediaries Association. See the full list of groups and read the letter here.

The group’s concerns about a truck-only VMT tax echo those of The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

OOIDA issued a Call to Action to its more than 160,000 members on Monday, Feb. 24, asking for its members’ help by having them reach out to their lawmakers in opposition of a plan to introduce a truck-only vehicle miles traveled tax.

“In a disgraceful effort to generate additional highway funding, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association has pledged support for a new VMT tax exclusively on America’s truckers,” OOIDA wrote. “ARTBA’s promotion of a truck-only VMT assumes that our industry doesn’t pay our fair share into the Highway Trust Fund, which we all know is complete bull.”

OOIDA is urging all of its members to call their respective Senators to let them know that you oppose the tax. Contact information for your respective Senators can be found by clicking here and typing in your ZIP code. Another way to contact your lawmaker is by calling the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.

In its own letter to Senate leaders, OOIDA called out ARTBA for being “shameless” and “arrogant,” and called the truck-only tax a “discriminatory funding ploy.”

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In January, OOIDA wrote another letter to lawmakers, saying that any highway funding proposal should not disproportionately burden truckers.

“Professional truck drivers cover tens of billions of miles on American highways each year, so our members can speak from experience about the significant need to update and maintain our roads,” OOIDA wrote. “The economic success and competitiveness of both small-business truckers and the nation depend on a safe, reliable and well-funded national transportation system. Simply put, our members understand the value of an efficient highway network and support efforts to increase Highway Trust Fund revenues so long as they are done in a fair and equitable way.”

A truck-only version of the VMT tax would create opponents for motor carriers of all sizes, OOIDA said.

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Greg Grisolano

Greg Grisolano joined Land Line in 2013. He was formerly a reporter for the Joplin Globe. He brings business writing and photography skills to Land Line, and has a passion for finding and telling stories about the people who make up the trucking industry.