Todd Spencer: New highway bill must address truckers’ unmet needs

June 2, 2021

SJ Munoz

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What exactly are the current infrastructure and highway bills, and where are they in the legislative process?

On the June 2 “Live From Exit 24,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer, OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh and OOIDA Director of Government Affairs Collin Long joined host Mike Matousek to bring listeners up to speed on these two measures.

Long explained the two bills are in fact separate measures, and added there is reasons for being optimistic with where the process currently stands.

“It’s a good sign that negotiations are going past Memorial Day,” Long said. “This leads us to believe they are getting closer and closer to reaching a bipartisan agreement.”

Listen to ‘Live From Exit 24’



Allocation of funds is one of the reasons specific issues have remained.

“The dilemma we have in trucking is money for roads and bridges hasn’t changed at the federal level since 1993,” Spencer said. “Trucks are there because there is a need for the cargo they bring. Reliable economic transportation is one of the key reasons America has developed the way it has. We all benefit from the transportation system. All of us should pay into it in some fashion.”
Give-and-take is typical of measures such as these, but addressing the parking issue is paramount, according to Pugh.

Spencer added the highway bill has always been OOIDA’s greater interest.
“The message is there a need and it has not been met. Truckers are absolutely essential. Our whole supply chain breaks down if people can’t deliver product. There has to be some reasonable accommodation. We don’t think rest areas are unreasonable accommodations. ”
In addition to parking, exactly how these bills will be funded and what specifically makes it in them are both crucial aspects.

“Why would we support a bill that’s going to put our members out of business?” Long said. “They need to make sure everyone who is using the transportation system is contributing to it. We view parking as a no-brainer issue. If it doesn’t get in the infrastructure bill, we’ll continue to push for it in the highway bill.”

As the process moves forward, OOIDA encourages contacting your representatives.

“Reach out to your lawmakers and start a dialogue,” Pugh said. “Use real world examples to explain the problems you have to deal with. You need to be calling Congress and the Senate. Just because they are in a certain party, doesn’t mean they will necessarily be against something. Let them know how it affects you.”

OOIDA talk show

“Live From Exit 24” is scheduled for 11 a.m. Central every other Wednesday. Listeners can tune in to the show on the Live From Exit 24 website, OOIDA Facebook page or on OOIDA’s YouTube channel. The next episode airs Wednesday, June 16.

Survey

“Live From Exit 24” launched as a way to expand OOIDA’s communication with members and to hear directly from drivers across the industry. OOIDA is asking for truck drivers to fill out a survey to let the Association know how you are liking the show so far. Help guide what’s addressed during the program. The survey is here. LL

J.J. Keller

SJ Munoz is the newest edition to the Land Line Media team. He brings a variety of skills to the job as he has experience as a reporter, photographer and in radio. He’s also written for Omaha Magazine, the Lawrence Journal-World, and PrepsKC.com.