Digital Edition

Jan.9, 2017

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 103 of 139

102 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE JANUARY 9.2017 2017 ANNUAL REVIEW & OUTLOOK SURFACE TRANSPORTATION EXECUTIVE COMMENTARY AMERICAN TRUCKING ASSOCIATIONS CHRIS SPEAR President and CEO FOLLOWING THE 2016 elections, Amer- ica woke to a clean Republican sweep that virtually no one could have pre- dicted. President-elect Trump has the opportunity to drive an unprecedented agenda. This fast-moving agenda could impact the country for decades to come. Trump's "go big or go home" approach to infrastructure is long overdue. Trucking embraces this vision so strongly we're willing to pay even more for the roads and bridges we depend on to move 70 percent of the nation's freight. That's right: We want to raise our fuel tax and index it, too. The president-elect understands busi - ness and knows proven investments in one's business pay long-term dividends to the economy. We stand ready to pay more than our fair share and make the promise this president-elect made to the nation an immediate reality. Trucking moves 76 percent of the surface freight for the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trade and trucking are synonymous, and trucking is often the first to feel the impact of changes in trade policy. To that end, we will work with President-elect Trump and Congress to ensure trade makes economic sense to America. Recent presidents have increas - ingly relied on unilateral action, such as regulations and executive orders. This is undemocratic, and we hope to work with the Trump administration and Congress to roll back these orders and regulations, and focus on jobs, domes - tic energy, and fair labor laws. While this election has many questioning the future, it's the future that could be the answer. Innovation and what it could do for safety, the environment, and the economy by way of connected, autono - mous vehicle technologies is a question worth exploring. For 83 years, the American Truck- ing Associations has helped shape and determine current and future policies that impact transportation and our great nation, and we look forward to continuing working with the incoming administration and Congress to build infrastructure, tax, trade, and regula - tory policies that are good for jobs, the economy, and the future of America. ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS EDWARD R. HAMBERGER President and CEO WITH THE ELECTION season behind us, the freight rail industry is eager to work with the Trump administration and Congress, helping advance policies that will spur economic growth. Despite prolonged polarization, leaders in Washington understand many of the economic challenges fac - ing this country. We hope they will move quickly on issues such as com- prehensive tax reform that reduces the corporate rate, as well as the continued promotion of fair and open trade. These policies, as well as the steady presence of America's privately owned freight rail network, are critical to solving big problems, including public infrastruc- ture investment. As part of these discussions, we will make it clear that a critical compo- nent of our national infrastructure is the freight rail industry, which gener- ated $274 billion in economic activity in 2014 while supporting almost 1.5 mil- lion jobs throughout the country. This success is largely fueled by freight rail- roads' private investment of more than $600 billion into the nation's network since the industry was partially deregu- lated in 1980. But we will also make it clear that to ensure this continues, we must stop unfounded regulatory efforts at the US Surface Transportation Board while overhauling the system that produced haphazard policies. New rules should be empirically driven, supported by cost-benefit analysis and geared toward today's innovation economy. Too often, gov - ernment makes rules in a vacuum and without an eye toward the future. Assessment of the cumulative impact of proposed regulation on industry must be part of every rulemaking. Washington has a chance to be a positive force of change this year. Freight rail is excited to be a part of the action. BNSF RAILWAY CARL ICE President and CEO WE EXPECT TO continue to see a challenging economic environment going into 2017. Economic cycles are occurring with greater volatility and unpredictable duration, which makes it harder to forecast accurately. Despite these challenges, the rail industry will keep playing a key role in North America's freight transportation needs by being nimble and doing everything we can to adapt to change. By keeping supply chains efficient with sufficient capacity, we keep cost low relative to the rest of the world, which makes US products more com - petitive in global markets. The interdependency of the freight rail industry with the ultimate success of our overall economy has us paying close attention to freight rail economic regulation that is moving forward at the Surface Transportation Board. The board has opened multiple and overlapping rulemakings, proposing to change almost every element of the current economic regulations of the industry. Current regulations are based on sound economic principles and have allowed railroads to respond to mar - kets, improve revenue, and reinvest. The regulator must take the current economic climate and the cumulative impact of the rulemakings into con - sideration or the consequences to our industry could be sizable. If we are going to remain com - petitive as a supply chain, we also need public and government support for permitting new infrastructure development in the US. Yet, more and more we are facing opposition with the permitting process being used as a weapon to stall or stop new projects. Permitting is not bad; it serves a good purpose. But it is a problem when it is used by people who are opposed to a project or a particular commodity to slow down or even stop a project. The inability to build new infrastructure becomes everyone's problem because it drives up the cost of doing business and ultimately hurts competitiveness for all the supply chain. CN LUC JOBIN President and CEO WE REMAIN ENGAGED in discussions about railway regulatory environ- ments in Canada and the United States. Market-driven forces have enabled the US and Canada to create a world-class rail network in which shippers benefit from rates that are among the lowest in the world. We believe regulation needs to take a long-term view that encourages investment to build capacity to sup - port economic growth. Lawmakers and regulators in both countries need to consider regulation that supports investment to maintain the sustainabil- ity of the supply chain in the long run. Washington has a chance to be a positive force of change this year.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Digital Edition - Jan.9, 2017