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It’s not a standing ovation, nor is the current wave of good will towards Congress likely to sustain any high approval ratings, but a number of industry groups have congratulated legislators on passing the MAP21 transportation legislation.
After a series of short extensions, the legislators managed to push through a transportation bill with a little more meat and some longevity – though it still falls short of establishing the desired long-term national transportation policy.
Bill Graves, CEO of the American Trucking Associations commented, “It has been 30 months since we have had a true, long-term highway funding bill.” He called the bill’s passage and signing by President Barack Obama “a good thing for trucking and the national economy.
"ATA would like to thank and congratulate President Obama; Chairmen Boxer and Mica; House and Senate leadership; all the conferees and staff that made this bill possible. It is not perfect, but this law advances the cause of highway safety and, I believe, will ultimately be seen as a springboard to even more robust transportation funding in the future," Graves said.
Among the safety advances Graves referred to which were advocated for by ATA were: a requirement for electronic logging devices, a study of truck crashworthiness, the creation of a drug-and-alcohol testing clearinghouse and notification system for employers of driver safety violations, improved driver licensing standards and tougher requirements for new truck drivers and companies.
Having acknowledged what ATA perceives as positive aspects of the bill, Graves expressed his disappointment that the bill “fails to deliver adequate funding to improve infrastructure.” Graves said, "If America is to maintain its place as the world's preeminent economy, we must do more to maintain and improve our nation's system of roads and bridges to ensure that goods can move freely and efficiently from factories to ports and from farms to markets. While this bill takes steps in that direction, much more must be done in the future.”
Teamster President James P. Hoffa added his group’s congratulations. "The Teamsters Union applauds Congress and the President for enacting into law this vitally important legislation that will put hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the task of repairing our deteriorating roads and bridges and improving our infrastructure so that commerce and the traveling public can move more efficiently,” said Hoffa.
He echoed the ATA sentiments on safety saying, "While this bill is not perfect, it contains many important highway and motor carrier safety provisions that will make our roads a safer workplace for our members. It tightens registration and inspection requirements for motor carriers and motor coaches to get the bad actors off the road.”
The United Steelworkers added that the bill “allows for more than $100 billion to be spent on highway, mass transit and other transportation programs through 2014, and will create or sustain three million jobs.”