Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

Michael GreenPlan by U.S. Senators Murphy and Corker Would Lead to Better Roads, Bridges and Transit Systems

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 18, 2014) – AAA endorses a bipartisan proposal to increase fuel taxes to pay for transportation improvements by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). The plan would increase gasoline and diesel taxes by six cents per gallon in 2015 and six cents per gallon in 2016. Fifty-two percent of Americans would be willing to pay higher fuel taxes if it leads to better roads, bridges and mass transit systems, according to a recent AAA survey.

“The country desperately needs funding to fix potholes, ease traffic congestion and improve highway safety,” said Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA. “Many Americans are willing to pay a little more if it will lead to improved transportation and a better commute.”

The federal Highway Trust Fund is supported by the 18.4 cents per gallon gas tax and 24.4 cents per gallon tax on diesel. Congress has not raised this tax since 1993. Due to inflation and increased fuel economy, the purchasing power of the current tax has been cut nearly in half. The Department of Transportation expects the federal Highway Trust Fund will run out of money this summer without Congressional action, which would delay transportation maintenance and improvement projects nationwide.

“Senators Murphy and Corker have proposed a commonsense and fiscally responsible plan to improve roads, bridges and transit systems nationwide,” continued Darbelnet. “It has been 20 years since Congress increased the federal fuel tax, and it is time for our leaders to show the courage necessary to do what is right.”

AAA supports a federal gas tax increase, provided the funds go towards projects that ease congestion and improve safety. The gas tax is the most efficient and fair method available to pay for transportation maintenance and improvements in the near term. An increase in fuel taxes, spent wisely, should help reduce the estimated $324 per year in additional vehicle repairs and operating costs that the average driver currently spends due to poor road conditions.

AAA recently conducted an omnibus survey of 2,013 adults and found overwhelming support for increased transportation funding:

  • Two-thirds of Americans (68 percent) believe the federal government should invest more than it does now on roads, bridges and mass transit systems.
  • Fifty-two percent of Americans are willing to pay higher fuel taxes per month on average for better roads, bridges and mass transit systems.
  • Nearly three times as many people (51 percent) are more likely to vote for a member of Congress who supports increased federal spending on transportation than would be less likely (19 percent).
  • Approximately two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) agree that taxes on gasoline and diesel consumption are appropriate for transportation funding.
  • More people believe that roads, bridges and transit systems have declined in quality over the previous three years (43 percent) than those who believe the quality has improved (32 percent).

Survey Questions and Results

  1. Do you believe the quality of roads, bridges and mass transit systems you regularly use have significantly improved; improved; neither improved nor declined; declined; or significantly declined in the past three years?
    • Total
      Significantly improved 4%
      Improved 28%
      Neither improved nor declined 23%
      Declined 27%
      Significantly declined 16%
  2. Do you think the federal government should invest more, less or the same as it does now for roads, bridges and mass transit systems?
    • Total
      More 68%
      Less 5%
      The Same 24%
  3. On average, U.S. drivers contribute about eight dollars per month in federal fuel taxes towards the nation’s roads, bridges and mass transit systems. How much more, if any, would you be willing to pay on a monthly basis for roads, bridges and mass transit systems?
    • Total
      Not willing to pay more 41%
      Willing to pay more (net) 52%
      $0.01-$4.99 20%
      $5.00-$9.99 11%
      $10 or more 21%

     

  4. If your Congressional representative were to support increased federal spending for U.S. roads, bridges and mass transit systems, would you be significantly more likely; somewhat more likely; neither more nor less likely; somewhat less likely; or significantly less likely to vote for them in the next election?
    • Total
      Significantly more likely 17%
      Somewhat more likely 34%
      Neither more nor less likely 27%
      Somewhat less likely 9%
      Significantly less likely 10%
  5. Federal funding for roads, bridges and mass transit systems comes primarily from taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel consumption. Do you think this is an appropriate way to raise funds for this transportation investment?
    • Total
      Yes 67%
      No 29%

Methodology

AAA conducted a telephone survey among two national probability samples (landline only and cell phone), consisting of a combined total of 2,013 adults (1,009 men and 1,004 women), 18 years of age and older and living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted with two waves taking place on May 1-4 and May 8-11, 2014. This study has an average statistical error of 2.7 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all US adult motorists.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 10, 2014) – Two-thirds of Americans (68 percent) believe the federal government should invest more than it does now on roads, bridges and mass transit systems, according to a new AAA omnibus survey of 2,013 adults. Only five percent of respondents believe the federal government should spend less on transportation. These results come as AAA urges members of Congress to increase the fuel tax, which will address significant transportation safety and congestion issues nationwide.

Survey Highlights

  • About half of Americans (52 percent) are willing to pay higher fuel taxes per month on average for better roads, bridges and mass transit systems.
  • Nearly three times as many people (51 percent) are more likely to vote for a member of Congress who supports increased federal spending on transportation than would be less likely (19 percent).
  • Approximately two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) agree that taxes on gasoline and diesel consumption are appropriate for transportation funding.
  • More people believe that roads, bridges and transit systems have declined in quality over the previous three years (43 percent) than those who believe the quality has improved (32 percent).

AAA Commentary

“Americans are fed up with record-long commutes, unsafe highways and never-ending potholes caused by political inaction,” said Bob Darbelnet, AAA President and CEO. “Congress must prevent severe maintenance delays during the height of the summer driving season by preventing a Highway Trust Fund bankruptcy in August.”

AAA supports a federal gas tax increase, provided the funds go towards projects that ease congestion and improve safety. The gas tax is the most efficient and fair method available to pay for transportation maintenance and improvements in the near term. An increase in fuel taxes, spent wisely, should help reduce the estimated $324 per year in additional vehicle repairs and operating costs that the average driver currently spends due to poor road conditions.

The Department of Transportation expects the federal Highway Trust Fund will run out of money this summer without Congressional action, which would delay transportation maintenance and improvement projects nationwide.

“Many of us are willing to pay a little more if it means we will have access to better roads, bridges and transit systems,” continued Darbelnet. “It is time for our nation’s leaders to stand with those in Congress who support improving our country’s transportation system.”

The federal Highway Trust Fund is supported by the 18.4 cents per gallon gas tax and 24.4 cents per gallon tax on diesel. Congress has not raised this tax since 1993. Due to inflation and increased fuel economy, the purchasing power of the current tax has been cut nearly in half.

Survey Questions and Results

  1. Do you believe the quality of roads, bridges and mass transit systems you regularly use have significantly improved; improved; neither improved nor declined; declined; or significantly declined in the past three years?
    • Total
      Significantly improved 4%
      Improved 28%
      Neither improved nor declined 23%
      Declined 27%
      Significantly declined 16%
  2. Do you think the federal government should invest more, less or the same as it does now for roads, bridges and mass transit systems?
    • Total
      More 68%
      Less 5%
      The Same 24%
  3. On average, U.S. drivers contribute about eight dollars per month in federal fuel taxes towards the nation’s roads, bridges and mass transit systems. How much more, if any, would you be willing to pay on a monthly basis for roads, bridges and mass transit systems?
    • Total
      Not willing to pay more 41%
      Willing to pay more (net) 52%
      $0.01-$4.99 20%
      $5.00-$9.99 11%
      $10 or more 21%

     

  4. If your Congressional representative were to support increased federal spending for U.S. roads, bridges and mass transit systems, would you be significantly more likely; somewhat more likely; neither more nor less likely; somewhat less likely; or significantly less likely to vote for them in the next election?
    • Total
      Significantly more likely 17%
      Somewhat more likely 34%
      Neither more nor less likely 27%
      Somewhat less likely 9%
      Significantly less likely 10%
  5. Federal funding for roads, bridges and mass transit systems comes primarily from taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel consumption. Do you think this is an appropriate way to raise funds for this transportation investment?
    • Total
      Yes 67%
      No 29%

Methodology

AAA conducted a telephone survey among two national probability samples (landline only and cell phone), consisting of a combined total of 2,013 adults (1,009 men and 1,004 women), 18 years of age and older and living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted with two waves taking place on May 1-4 and May 8-11, 2014. This study has an average statistical error of 2.7 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all US adult motorists.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

AAA Statement from CEO Bob Darbelnet

June 5th, 2014 by admin

Heather HunterAAA Reaction to General Motors Internal Investigation Report

ORLANDO, Fla., (June 5, 2014) – “The complete Valukas report examining General Motors’ failures related to its ignition switch recall describes at least 11 instances in which GM was negligent in addressing the issue, and documents consistent patterns of misconduct and poor judgment by GM employees that put consumers unknowingly at risk for more than a decade.

The company had repeated opportunities to take appropriate measures to remedy the problem, but did not act. On at least two occasions, GM refused to accept the findings of outside investigations, including those of a trooper with the Wisconsin state police and the Indiana University Transportation Research Center. In addition, undocumented changes to the defective switch made ultimate identification of the issue all the more difficult.

AAA is encouraged by the announcement that General Motors accepts responsibility for the deadly delayed recall, and GM’s promise to aggressively address future safety issues. However, the report also reveals a corporate culture that placed business interests above the safety of consumers. A systemic reluctance to raise and react to critical safety concerns at GM reflects an ingrained culture that could require years to fully eradicate.

While the Valukas report provides valuable insight into the root causes of GM’s delayed ignition switch recalls, the report itself will not bring about change. AAA believes that GM’s promise of reform should be supplemented with greater federal oversight of the recall system.”

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Yolanda Cade(HEATHROW, May 21, 2014) Today’s proposed fee-disclosure requirements from the U.S. Department of Transportation will lead to a better-informed traveling public and should enable travelers to better plan and budget for vacation travel.  AAA supports the proposed steps to increase fare transparency, which is essential regardless of where a customer chooses to purchase a ticket. Currently, fees for additional services are often difficult to determine when searching for airfares and as a result, many consumers are unable to understand the true cost of travel before purchasing a ticket.  As one of the largest leisure travel agencies in the United States, AAA supports the requirements. With the Memorial Day weekend approaching AAA is projecting that 2.6 million leisure travelers will take to the skies to kick off summer with a getaway. Those travelers provide a good reminder about the popularity of air travel and the importance of good information for consumers.

AAA Statement from CEO Bob Darbelnet

May 20th, 2014 by admin

Yolanda CadeGM Recall Reinforces Disturbing Level of Risk for Motorists Behind the Wheel

“AAA acknowledges the step taken by General Motors (GM) today to recall 2.42 million more U.S. vehicles with safety failures that could put motorists in harm’s way.  However, today’s action also highlights the disturbing number of potential hazards to drivers behind the wheel that have come to light this year.  It is distressing to note that GM has so far recalled close to 15 million vehicles in 2014, which is nearly equal to the total vehicles (15.6 M) all manufacturers sold in the U.S.in 2013 alone.  AAA believes last week’s $35 million fine assessed to GM for delays in taking action with ignition interlocks that have been attributed to the deaths of 13 motorists does not send a strong enough message. GM and other automakers need to clearly understand that risking consumer lives is unacceptable and the costs for doing so must be appropriately severe. AAA supports the proposal to increase the maximum fine NHTSA can impose from $35 million to $300 million.”

Nancy WhiteStatement by Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA 

(WASHINGTON, May 15, 2014) “AAA applauds the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for quickly moving a bipartisan transportation reauthorization bill.  It is now up to the Senate Commerce, Banking and Finance Committees to prevent a transportation crisis by acting swiftly on their portions of the bill so this legislation can move to the Senate floor for debate.

Chairman Boxer appropriately cited the option of raising the federal gas tax to address the looming Highway Trust Fund bankruptcy.  AAA supports this viable and effective solution, provided the additional funds are invested in transportation improvements that benefit motorists.  We urge Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Hatch to commit to a vote on this solution in addition to the other funding mechanisms that will be considered by their committee.”

 

AAA Welcomes Senate Transportation Bill

May 13th, 2014 by admin

Michael GreenWASHINGTON, D.C, (May 13, 2014) – AAA today issued the following statement by its President and CEO Bob Darbelnet regarding the bipartisan transportation bill introduced in the Senate.

“AAA welcomes Senators Boxer, Vitter, Carper and Barrasso’s bipartisan transportation bill that increases transparency of how federal dollars are spent.  We are encouraged to see leaders in Washington addressing the transportation crisis with detailed proposals rather than general fund bailouts.  AAA looks forward to reviewing the details of this bill, and we are pleased it maintains the ban on interstate tolling.

“It is now up to the Senate Finance Committee to consider how Congress will fund this bill.  AAA urges Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Hatch to keep all options on the table by committing to a vote on an increase in the federal gas tax in addition to the other funding mechanisms that will be considered by the committee.  AAA, like many, recognizes that a federal gas tax increase is the most viable and effective option available, provided the additional funds are thoughtfully invested in transportation improvements that ease congestion and increase safety.”

Michael Green Contact TileStatement by Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA

“AAA applauds Senators Boxer, Vitter, Carper and Barrasso for their collaboration on bipartisan transportation legislation that will be introduced next week.  We look forward to reviewing the bill upon its release.  The onus is now on the Senate Finance Committee to consider how to fund this bill.  AAA urges Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Hatch to commit to holding a committee vote on an increase in the federal gas tax in addition to the other transportation funding options that will be considered.  AAA, along with a broad set of stakeholders, recommends a federal gas tax increase as the most viable and effective option, provided the additional funds are thoughtfully invested in transportation improvements that ease congestion and increase safety.”

Nancy WhiteStatement by Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA

“This morning the nation lost a true champion of transportation.  Former Chairman Oberstar worked tirelessly to restore the “trust” to the Highway Trust Fund and his leadership, expertise and character should serve as an example in Congress for years to come.  AAA had the pleasure of awarding Congressman Oberstar with our “Transportation Leaders Award” in 1998 for his efforts to promote a better, safer transportation system, and he epitomized this leadership throughout his 18 terms, whether it was boosting the share of federal dollars used for traffic safety improvements or putting the interests of system users first when it came to innovative transportation finance approaches.  Thank you to the people of Northeast Minnesota for sending such a principled and thoughtful leader to Washington, and thank you to Congressman Oberstar for your years of service to this nation.  You will be sorely missed.”

Nancy White“The legislation sent to Capitol Hill by President Obama and Secretary Foxx yesterday was not only an important step in starting a robust discussion on how we fund the nation’s roads and bridges, but it also works to address the disturbing trend of recall shortcomings that are front of mind for motorists.  This includes recent reports that General Motors was again reluctant to act to recall vehicles with potentially life-threatening defects.  These continued reports of some manufacturers weighing the cost of recall against that of inaction, and choosing the latter, must be addressed.

As Secretary Foxx put well yesterday, fines on automakers need to be ‘more than a rounding error’ to ensure compliance.  AAA believes that increasing potential penalties from their current maximum of $35 million to $300 million would be a step in the right direction.  Similarly, it is appropriate to strengthen the recall process and provide DOT with both the authority and obligation to require manufacturers to quickly remove automobiles from the market when a dangerous defect is discovered. Likewise, rental car companies should participate in the recall of unsafe vehicles AAA  will continue to support swift action to protect the safety of American motorists.”

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