Trucking official testifies before Congress about TWIC burdens

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A consolidated transportation worker identification credential program that requires one background check and one credential for truck drivers would advance port security and benefit commerce, a top trucking executive testified before Congress Wednesday, Sept. 27.

Speaking on behalf of the American Trucking Associations before the House Committee on Small Business, Philip Byrd Sr., president and chief executive officer of Bulldog Hiway Express, said that while the trucking industry supports TWIC’s security objective, the program should be modified to remove unnecessary burdens on trucking companies and to ensure intended security benefits.

Byrd, whose Charleston, S.C.-based company hauls container freight in and out of seaports, urged the Committee and the Transportation Security Administration to return to TWIC’s “initial moorings” by implementing a single, coordinated, cost-effective process for screening transportation workers that would enhance the nation’s security while minimizing unnecessary costs and procedures.

“A system can be implemented that truly will enhance the security of our country, while minimizing the cost of discovering the few bad apples in the large barrel of patriotic individuals who make their livings on our nation’s highways,” Byrd said. “The trucking industry understands that securing the nation’s supply chain involves costs. Motor carriers like mine are more likely willing to bear the cost of one, but not multiple, background checks and security credentials.”

In recent years, multiple background checks that require applicants to appear at different enrollment facilities, adapt to different administrative procedures and pay steep user fees have been imposed on truck drivers under a variety of mandates. TSA, for example, has implemented different background check processes for truck drivers obtaining hazmat endorsements and going to secure airport areas, resulting in hefty bills for motor carriers and multiple cards for drivers.