The federal government must provide the leadership and resources necessary to facilitate the safe and efficient movement of goods on the nation’s highway system, American Trucking Associations (ATA) Senior Vice President Tim Lynch told Congress today.

In his testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies, Lynch said the United States can no longer afford to spend limited federal resources on projects that do not meet important national goals.

‘The United States has been living off the transportation infrastructure built by past generations,’ said Lynch. ‘Our failure to keep up with the demands imposed on these systems by population and economic growth has weakened the nation’s competitive position relative to other countries.’

The National Highway System connects all parts of our multimodal transportation logistics system, facilitating the movement of virtually all goods throughout the U.S. America relies on trucks to move 70 percent of our nation’s freight tonnage and the trucking industry is forecast to move an even greater share of freight in the future. Highways will continue to play a vital role in our nation’s supply chain. However, the highway system no longer meets our nation’s demands.

America’s aging infrastructure is in desperate need of repair and expansion. Congestion costs, caused by inefficiencies in the system, are rapidly approaching $100’billion annually. Eliminating bottlenecks on our highways and at our ports and border crossings will greatly enhance America’s competitive positioning.

‘Failing to address growing congestion problems will cause costs to rise, translating into higher consumer prices and slower job growth, weakening the United States’ ability to compete in the global economy,’ said Lynch.

Necessary highway improvements come at an enormous cost and ATA believes that increasing the fuel tax is the only viable solution to the current highway funding crisis that is now available. Trucking companies are willing to support an increase in their highway user fee payments, provided the revenue is dedicated to funding projects that address the most critical highway needs.

In his testimony, Lynch also said the United States has the most restrictive truck weight regulations of any developed country. Easing these overly restrictive limitations would deliver strong economic, environmental and safety benefits. To take advantage of the benefits that productivity increases can deliver, Congress must reform its laws to give states greater flexibility to change their size and weight regulations with oversight by the Federal Highway Administration.