Congress must renew commitment to highway infrastructure, DOT told

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Congress must renew its commitment to keep the United States the world leader in transportation and its supporting infrastructure, American Trucking Associations Senior Vice President Tim Lynch told federal transportation officials at a forum in Minneapolis on Wednesday, Jan. 25.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.) hosted the U.S. Department of Transportation forum at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs in Minneapolis. LaHood was joined by much of his leadership team, including Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Administrator Anne Ferro, Federal Highway Administration Administrator Victor Mendez, Under-Secretary for Policy Roy Kienitz and Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy Polly Trottenberg. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klubuchar, Rep. Betty McCollum and Rep. Keith Ellison also attended.

“We need to have a focus on freight and goods movement,” Lynch said. “The next highway reauthorization must address congestion and the chokepoints or bottlenecks throughout the system that slow commerce, increase safety risks and reduce our competitiveness in the global economy.”

Minnesota Trucking Association President and Chief Executive Officer John Hausladen participated in a panel on trucking safety. Hausladen discussed a safety program called “Keep Both Hands on the Wheel,” an MTA campaign to reduce distracted driving by teaching truckers, employers, contractors and the public to follow safe driving habits. Don Olson, president of Fortune Transportation, an ATA member company, also presented comments on the need to fund rural highways. While these highways may be in sparsely populated areas, they are vital arteries for moving people and interstate commerce, Olson said.