As midterm elections approach, policymakers are rightly eager to connect with voters about the challenges affecting the country. Against this political backdrop, it’s important that the trucking industry seize this opportunity to tell our story.
As chairman of the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), I have been able to help voice this effort, as the industry makes tremendous strides towards a safer, more productive, and financially secure working environment. TCA, while working with other industry stakeholders, have scored several key victories to this effect.
Fortunately, these are often achieved alongside our partners in government. Recently, TCA met with agency leads at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Federal Highway Administration to push for funding to alleviate the national shortage of truck parking. While the mission to win dedicated federal dollars remains, the industry has been successful in securing billions in state grants to help address truck parking and other infrastructure woes. If left unchecked, the truck parking shortage will continue to wreak havoc on safety and efficiency across the industry. TCA members have stressed that this is a top priority, and the association remains committed to spearheading this effort.
TCA was also pleased that Robin Hutcheson was confirmed to head FMCSA, making her the agency’s first official leader since 2019. At the time of her nomination, the association voiced our strong support for her. In the time since, we’ve established a collaborative relationship with the Administrator and look forward to building upon it further.
While sometimes our work with the government goes hand in hand, other times the issues require industry to push the needle against our legislators and regulators. For example, TCA recently submitted regulatory comments to the FMCSA in support of the Trucking Alliance’s hair testing petition, while the agency defers action. Promoting the inclusion of hair testing into the FMCSA drug testing program was also a key issue championed by our members during their congressional visits at our Call on Washington event in September.
One of the biggest wins in recent memory was the striking down of Rhode Island’s tolling scheme, deemed discriminatory toward truckers by a federal court. TCA has been outspoken against the tolling practice and contributed $50,000 to the American Trucking Association’s litigation efforts. With this legal victory, the trucking industry has prevented these types of tolls from spreading to other states and across the country.
Unfortunately, not all issues resulted in victories for trucking – but in these cases, TCA continues to fight on. We are deeply disappointed by the United States Supreme Court’s decision to allow AB5 to stand, as it restricts the independent contractor business model, a bedrock of our industry. TCA’s government affairs team is working to educate policymakers on the benefits of this model and the negative impact its dissolution would have not only on the industry, but the national economy. Moreover, a new proposal by the Department of Labor on classification, could elevate this matter to the federal level. Due to these developments, TCA is keeping this issue as a top advocacy priority.
While all these issues and more were discussed during our Call on Washington event, it’s important to stress that TCA works year-round to amplify the truckload story and advocate for our members. As midterms approach and the year-end is just around the corner, it seems as good a time as any to reflect on all the accomplishments thus far, while striking out a path for the work ahead.