Truck dealers must work with Congress to ‘combat regulatory burdens,’ says ATD chair

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U.S. truck dealers need to work with Congress to communicate the challenges they face and to make lawmakers understand dealers’ needs, said Dick Witcher, outgoing chairman of the American Truck Dealers, at ATD’s Convention and Expo in New Orleans last weekend.

Witcher said the truck dealer industry faces “serious regulatory overreach” that makes dealers’ jobs more difficult and that dealers’ first steps to “combating regulatory burdens” should be to meet with their own members of Congress and even invite them to visit dealerships.

“It’s key in helping them to understand our business and use us as a resource before they make regulations that hurt our industry,” Witcher said. “And in a time of a divisive Congress—and when regulators are eager to pass on new rules and regulations—we are called to protect your interests more than ever.”

Regulations he cited specifically are fuel economy standards and federal emissions standards for trucks, which he says need to be “not only good for the environment, but fair and affordable for the people who make them, sell them and drive them.”

Witcher also said ATD is against raising the excise tax and supports a bill currently in Congress that would keep the tax at its current 12 percent.

“We have said ‘no’ to a rise in the federal excise tax for heavy-duty trucks. The 12 percent levy is already the highest excise tax imposed by Congress on a percentage basis,” Witcher added. “Increasing this tax could further hurt our industry and stall new truck sales.”

Also announced at the ATD Expo were the ATD Truck of the Year winners, both of which went to International, with the truck maker’s ProStar picking up Truck of the Year in the heavy duty category and the TerraStar 4×4 winning in the medium-duty category. Click here to see CCJ‘s coverage of those announcements.