KMCA Calls on Washington

KMCA members took to the sky for the 2019 Call on Washington May 14 – 16. The Kansas Delegation was led by Mark Munds, Groendyke Transport, Inc. in Hutchinson and President of KMCA. Others making the trip were: Kimberly Bonhart, UPS; Terry Budimlija, YRC Freight; Sean Saunders, YRC Freight; Tom Whitaker, KMCA Executive Director; and, Kay Hendrix, KMCA Director of Safety.

Our journey started with a Legislative briefing at the Capitol Hill Office of the American Trucking Associations. Bill Sullivan, ATA Executive Vice President for Advocacy, Edwin Gilroy, ATA Senior Vice President Legislative Affairs and Darrin Roth, ATA Vice President of Highway Policy briefed our group on the hot issues before Congress. Included in the issues; a push for a new infrastructure bill, ratification of the USMCA (NAFTA 2), Hours-of-Service, the Drive Safe Act which would allow younger drivers to operate in interstate commerce and redundant background checks.

Larry Minor, FMCSA Associate Administrator for Policy and Program Management briefed our delegation on the upcoming Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Hours-of-Service regulations due out in early June, the timetable for the Drug and Alcohol Clearing House and the current request for comments on allowing young drivers 18 – 20 years old to operate in interstate commerce. KMCA thanks Cathy Evans, ATA Vice President for Legislative Affairs for making sure we found our way around Capitol Hill. We also thank Kathleen Gamble, ATA Director of Political Affairs and Laura Spratley, ATA Coordinator for Legislative Affairs for making all the appointments and suppling one-page fact sheets on the issues for Members of Congress.

KMCA was able to meet with all six Members of Congress representing Kansas in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Our Wednesday started with meeting Representative Ron Estes, Kansas 4th District Congressman from Wichita who serves on the powerful Ways and Means Committee in the US House of Representatives. That meeting was followed by meetings with Representative Steve Watkins, Kansas 2nd District Congressman from Topeka and Representative Sharice Davids, Kansas 3rd District Congresswoman from Olathe. Davids serves on the important Transportation and Infrastructure Committee of the US House of Representatives. ATA treated KMCA members to lunch at the Republican Capitol Hill Club.

Wednesday afternoon began by meeting with Representative Roger Marshall, Kansas 1st District Congressman from Great Bend. Following long walk from the House Office Buildings to the Senate Office Building, KMCA members met with Kansas US Senator Jerry Moran’s staff. Sen. Moran serves on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. We were able to meet with Senator Moran face-to-face on Thursday morning. The day ended with an hour-long meeting with the Senior Senator from Kansas, Senator Pat Roberts who is not seeking re-election to the Senate in 2020.

Top of the list for discussion was a new Infrastructure package to address our crumbling highway system in both urban and rural areas. The trucking industry has offered to increase the fuel tax on all fuels by $.05 per gallon per year over four-years for a total of $340 billion over the life of a ten-year program to help fund the highway infrastructure. At this time, a fuel tax is the most equitable and efficient taxing method available. For the trucking industry, should the fuel tax be raised, everyone would pay the same amount thereby eliminating the competitive factor as well as not increasing the State-to-State tax differential. KMCA pushed for an amendment to the federal weight laws should a new Infrastructure bill appear. For years, Kansas has allowed a maximum gross weight “off” the interstate of 85,500 lbs. Now Kansas allows a maximum 90,000 lbs. gross weight with a permit for agricultural commodities “off’ the interstate highway system. We provided legislative language to the Kansas Congressional Delegation to allow for the 85,500 lbs. and 90,000 lbs. gross weight on the interstate highway system. This is something Kansas truckers have been pushing for years.

Additionally, KMCA acknowledged our support for the Drive Safe Act which would allow 18 – 20-year-olds to proceed to a graduated CDL and allow them to drive in interstate commerce. While we recognize the bill is not perfect, it is a start to get young drivers into trucking after high school graduation rather then wait until they turn 21 years of age and trucking becomes their second or third career.

Finally, we lobbied for ratification of the USMCA trade agreement or NAFTA 2. This is the updated NAFTA agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada. USMCA is a must for trucking which does 33,000 border crossings a day between our two largest trading partners.

KMCA thanks those that participated in the 2019 Call on Washington. These members paid for their hotel rooms and airfares to make the trip. If you're interested in Call on Washington, KMCA will travel again to the nation’s Capitol in the Spring of 2021. Please contact Tom Whitaker, KMCA Executive Director if you have any questions on these issues or would like to travel in 2021. Tom can be reached at 785-267-1641 or tomw@kmca.org.




The next Call on Washington event will be in May 2021.

Members who wish to make the trip will be responsible for their airfare and hotel room. KMCA will take care of all food and beverage for the trip. The estimated cost per member is $1,000.00. If you're interested in taking KMCA’s issue to our elected leaders in Washington D.C., please contact Tom Whitaker at 785-267-1641 or tomw@kmca.org. Space is limited.



 
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