ATA urges Congress, Bush administration to stabilize financial system

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The American Trucking Associations on Thursday, Sept. 25, urged Congress to quickly review the Treasury Department’s proposal and work with the Bush administration to approve a comprehensive plan to stabilize the U.S. financial system.

Bill Graves, ATA president and chief executive officer, said our economy, including trucking companies of all sizes, will benefit if a bipartisan Congress and the administration promptly agree on legislation to bring stability to the financial system.

“Without legislation, the credit crunch will continue to worsen for our members, making it difficult for even those carriers with good credit to receive funding for capital expenditures like trucks and other equipment,” Graves said. The ATA represents more than 37,000 companies in all sectors of the trucking industry.

“Legislation such as the Treasury’s plan will prevent the economy from falling further than it would without legislation,” said Bob Costello, ATA vice president and chief economist. “It will help with the general economic outlook, which will help our members, the trucking companies that keep the tangible goods economy moving.”

Continued turmoil in the nation’s financial markets may threaten to affect insurance companies and their customers, as evidenced by the recent failure of AIG Inc. Also, easing the financial crisis and its impact on pensions and retirement savings accounts is crucial to protecting the trucking industry’s employees and their families, Graves said.

The Treasury Department’s plan is a purchase of assets that the government eventually plans to resell. While the initial purchase is $700 billion, the ultimate cost to the government, after the assets are returned to the financial markets, is likely to be much less than that, according to ATA.

“The cost of failure to act, however, will be nearly incalculable,” Graves said. “The plan proposed by the Treasury Department may be controversial, but it is timely and necessary for the financial health of American businesses and, ultimately, that of American families as well. The American people need this plan or a reasonable alternative to protect our economy.”