Up Front- Tidings of Great News
- Created: 01.19.2017
The bad news first: We saw everyone's ugliest side over the last 18 months as candidates fought for competing solutions to problems in the economy, foreign policy, the environment, protecting human rights, but mostly with each other. It is apparent that Americans are still divided on an awful lot.
But the good news is the election and the time for talking about hypothetical policy is over.
And the better news? The list of divisive issues for Americans is long, but infrastructure is not on that list. Pres.-elect Trump has promised to invest $1 trillion into repairing and improving the highways, bridges, railways and airports and to do it ourselves: "Buy American and hire American." And everyone, no matter who you voted for, wants to see if and how he can do it.
Politico's Infrastructure Survey found that 80 percent of registered voters agreed that passing an infrastructure bill should be a "top" or "important priority for the federal government." There's more consensus for the urgency of fixing roads than there was for either candidate because a collapsing bridge doesn't care whose name is on your bumper sticker.
Change and uncertainty can be both scary and exciting depending on who you ask, but if the question is directed at trucking, there is an eagerness for the new year and the opportunity to work with a new administration.
This is especially true with the announcement of Elaine Chao's nomination for the Secretary of Transportation. While other cabinet nominations have been side-eyed and criticized and launched 400,000 signature petitions, Chao, the Secretary of Labor under the George W. Bush administration, has been lauded by democrats like Vice President Jo Biden and republicans like House Transportation Chair Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) as a strong, experienced choice to make good on Trump's infrastructure promises.
It's promising that not only do both parties find Chao qualified but that she has relationships with trucking. American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear worked closely with her in the Department of Labor and trusts her experience and understanding of the issues we face.
Even more good news for trucking is that we may soon see the hours-of-service fix that we've educated our legislators about and lobbied for 11 months. The December continuing Resolution to fund the government includes language that would keep the hours-of-service requirements for drivers in place, as the FAST Act originally intended.
By the time you're reading this, we'll know if that rider was passed by Congress and 2017 will look bright for our industry on Capitol Hill. A new president, who is committed to renovating trucking's primary workplace, will be inaugurated; a long battle over hours-of-service regulation will be behind us; and pro-business administration will be moving into the White House with plans for making America great again; and we'll have two years before we have to see another campaign commercial. I don't know about you, but that sounds great to me.