Posts Tagged ‘CEO Robert Darbelnet’

Michael Green(WASHINGTON, March 4, 2014) “The President’s budget provides essential funds over the next four years for the nation’s transportation system and AAA is encouraged by Secretary Foxx’s pledge that his department will submit a full reauthorization proposal to Congress in the coming months.  However, AAA remains concerned with Washington’s tendency to make short-term fixes that only patch, not solve, the U.S. transportation funding crisis.

“Once again, policymakers are settling on politically palatable revenue generators instead of setting the stage for the transportation program to return a meaningful reauthorization and funding process.  These sorts of “solutions” can only provide funding for limited term bills and assure only that we avert, not solve this crisis.

“AAA continues to believe that the gas tax represents the most viable, responsible and effective mechanism to achieve the goal of sustaining a transportation system that supports a vital U.S. economy, provided the additional funds generated are thoughtfully spent on transportation improvements that ease congestion and increase safety.  AAA urges the President and  Congressional leaders to make choices that serve U.S. interests in the long-term, instead of short-term fixes.”

Michael Green Contact TileAAA Helping to Make Driving Safer, Improve Mobility and Protect Motorists’ Rights

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 25, 2014) – AAA will prioritize important state advocacy issues this year including transportation funding, distracted driving, teen driver safety, impaired driving and connected cars. These priorities will help make driving safer, improve mobility and protect motorists’ rights.

“This is an important year because many states lack the money needed to build and maintain the roads that millions of us use every day,” said Jennifer Ryan, AAA director of state relations. “The federal government has failed to adequately address this issue, and many state legislatures must find new ways to pay for improvements. Every driver wants improved safety and reduced traffic congestion, and AAA will do everything it can to help states achieve these goals.”

AAA’s state advocacy priorities in 2014 include:

  • Transportation funding – Many states are looking to address transportation funding needs due to federal inaction. Congress has not updated the 18.4 cents per gallon gas tax that funds the Highway Trust Fund in more than 20 years, which means federal transportation funding per mile has been significantly eroded due to inflation and increased fuel efficiency of vehicles. Last year, six states including Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming, passed legislation to adjust their statewide gas taxes to help pay for roads and bridges. No state passed a law increasing the gas tax in the three years prior to 2013.  As many as 28 additional states may debate funding options this year. AAA will provide expertise as policymakers examine ways to pay for critical transportation projects and safety improvements.
  • Distracted driving – AAA will continue to work with state legislatures to reduce distracted driving. AAA launched a national legislative campaign in 2009 to ban texting while driving in all 50 states, and only eight states remain without a law, including Arizona, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas. A texting ban bill in New Mexico is awaiting action by the governor.  Distracted driving remains a serious safety concern and is responsible for about 3,000 fatalities and 420,000 injuries per year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Taking your eyes off the road for more than two seconds, such as when texting, can double your risk of being in a crash.
  • Teen driver safety –Car crashes end more teen lives than cancer, homicide and suicide combined. To help improve teen safety, AAA is urging all states to adopt and enforce a comprehensive three-stage graduated driver licensing (GDL) system for teen drivers. While all states have some form of a GDL law, there is room for improvement. Only seven states (Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma and West Virginia) currently have GDL systems that meet AAA’s guidelines for nighttime limits, passenger limits and practice requirements. Safety experts credit GDL laws for much of the 57 percent decline in traffic fatalities for 16- and 17-year-old drivers between 1995 and 2010.
  • Impaired driving – More than 10,000 people die in alcohol-impaired driving crashes per year, which accounts for approximately one-third of the total motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States.More needs to be done to reduce crashes involving alcohol. Research has identified the life-saving benefit of ignition interlocks, which are more effective than other methods at reducing repeat offenses among convicted drunk drivers. Only 18 states and four California counties mandate or highly incentivize ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, and AAA is urging the 32 remaining states to improve safety by requiring ignition interlocks for all offenders.
  • Connected cars – New cars are increasingly equipped with wireless connectivity, enabling them to transmit data outside the vehicle to improve safety and convenience for drivers. These technologies will transform the driving experience, yet also will allow companies to collect large amounts of potentially sensitive personal data. AAA is working to educate state policymakers on the potential ramifications for drivers by promoting consumer rights for car data that ensure transparency, choice and security.

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.

Michael Green“The President’s proposal for maintaining roads and bridges is well intentioned, but falls short of what is required because it does not provide a sustainable funding solution for the nation’s transportation problems. AAA urges Congress and the Administration to instead focus on options like increasing the gas tax because it is the most effective and fair way to fund transportation in the near term.

Additional Resources

“AAA supports solutions like Representative Blumenauer’s proposal to increase the federal gas tax by fifteen cents per gallon. A gas tax increase would provide the necessary funds to improve our system, while also upholding the long-standing principle that those who use the roads should pay for their upkeep. Increasing the gas tax is deficit-neutral and would provide funding certainty for the program into the future.

“Americans endure frustrating commutes and unsafe road conditions because our political leaders have not demonstrated the political will necessary to fund current, let alone future, transportation needs. It costs real money to maintain thousands of miles of roads and bridges, yet Washington has too often overlooked the needs of drivers.

“Congress and the Administration must work together and put divisions aside. I hope that in the coming weeks our leaders will move quickly and act responsibly on this important issue.”

 

Nancy WhiteWASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 4, 2013)

Statement by Kathleen Bower, AAA Vice President of Public Affairs

“AAA supports Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s efforts to provide necessary investment to fund our nation’s roads and bridges.  Though it would be easier to simply kick the can down the road, today’s proposed legislation takes a necessary step forward in fostering debate on an important issue that many policymakers have been reluctant to address.

“AAA members rely each and every day on the roads, bridges and transit systems that are funded, in part, by the gas taxes that they pay to the federal government.   And when these systems deteriorate – as they have for years now – it not only frustrates our members, but it imposes real costs in terms of safety, time and maintenance.

“The country desperately needs additional funding for infrastructure and for the moment there is no better means than the fuel tax.  The proposed increase is well over due and in line with what most experts suggest would be appropriate.

“Our transportation system is critical to our economy, and Americans value their mobility.  There are no easy answers, and no way to avoid the need for investment.  Asking Americans to pay more is not easy, but it’s the right thing to do for the country.”

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.

Michael Green

 

 

 

 

 

 

AAA issued the following letter to the Congressional panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation urging that its members reject any proposal to increase truck size and weight standards due to significant safety concerns:

 

The Honorable John J. Duncan
Chair
Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Jerrold Nadler
Ranking Member
Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Duncan and Ranking Member Nadler:

AAA appreciates the commitment of the Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation to look for solutions to help facilitate efficient freight movement on the nation’s multi-modal transportation infrastructure network.   As you prepare to finalize the panel’s recommendations, I would like to share AAA’s concern with one of the recommendations discussed at the October 1 hearing on the subject.

During the hearing, one of the industry groups recommended endorsement of the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act (SETA), H.R. 612, which would allow states to permit 97,000 pound trucks on its roadways including the Interstates.  AAA strongly urges the panel to forego any action  to raise the federal truck size and weight limits until federal research authorized in “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (MAP-21) is completed.

As you know, MAP-21 included a focus on establishing a stronger national freight program.  It included a two-year research project to assess the implications  of allowing longer, heavier trucks on the nation’s roads and bridges and a safety analysis of different configurations, including the 97,000 lb. GVWR, six-axle truck configuration.  This USDOT research must be completed before any recommendations are considered relative to changing current federal regulations.

A look at the most recent NHTSA data shows fatalities in crashes involving large trucks increased nine percent, from 3,380 in 2009 to 3,675 in 2010.  Of the fatalities in crashes involving large trucks during 2010, 76 percent were occupants of other vehicles.  Based on these data alone, we believe that any proposals to increase truck size and weight are premature and misguided until the research is concluded and reviewed.

Until key questions about the impact of bigger and heavier trucks on infrastructure and on highway safety are addressed, AAA will continue to oppose any change in current truck size or weight limits.

CC:  Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation members

The Honorable Gary Miller The Honorable Corrine Brown
The Honorable Rick Crawford The Honorable Daniel Lipinski
The Honorable Richard Hanna The Honorable Albio Sires
The Honorable Daniel Webster The Honorable Janice Hahn
The Honorable Markwayne Mullin

Michael GreenCongress and Administration Responsible for Letting the Highway System Deteriorate

Orlando, FL, (Oct. 22, 2013) AAA President and CEO Bob Darbelnet today addressed the nation’s transportation funding crisis during a board meeting of the American Trucking Associations (ATA). The following are selected remarks from his speech:

“By this time next year, the Highway Trust Fund will have insufficient funds to meet its obligations, which will cause further deterioration of nation’s roads and bridges. Regrettably, this looming crisis has not translated into Congressional action, nor a public outcry.

“There are a few leaders in Washington who stress the importance of infrastructure to our economy.  While we might give them high marks for effort, they are not getting a passing grade for results.

“Both Congress and the Administration are culpable of gross negligence by letting one of our nation’s greatest assets deteriorate. It is a shameful demonstration of bad government.

“Politicians have a choice – they can govern through leadership or they can govern through crisis. Our lawmakers seem content to wait for a crisis to take the action that we all know will eventually be unavoidable. Leadership involves taking risk, and the courage to do so seems in short supply.

“No one questions the need to invest far more in transportation, but there is no political will to provide the required funding.  The reality is that a dime increase in the gas tax, properly spent where actually needed, is unlikely to derail the re-election of an otherwise meritorious politician.

“But the fault isn’t just with lawmakers – there is plenty of blame to go around. The truth is we have done a poor job of mobilizing support for what we know needs to happen. I believe we need to do five things to address this issue:

  1. Establish a concerted coalition effort to construct a plan of action that focuses on not just what is needed, but what is possible.
  2. Agree on acceptable transportation funding mechanisms and articulate clear guidelines to ensure proper use of the funds.
  3. Educate voters on why the increase in funding is required. Public support is likely the most important ingredient for building stronger backbones in Congress.
  4. Broaden our focus to include both federal and state opportunities to fund transportation.
  5. Make sure we properly resource the effort. We need to ensure that we don’t set forth on this endeavor without fully understanding – and committing – the resources that are required.

“Without a safe and efficient transportation network, goods can’t be delivered cost effectively, family trips will take longer, and gridlock will continue to stifle the nation’s long-term economic recovery. Thank you for having me here today and I look forward to continuing to work together on these important issues.”

Michael Green Contact TileAAA Says Policymakers Failing to Connect with Motorists’ Practical Concerns

WASHINGTON, D.C., (April 25, 2013) – Sixty-two percent of U.S. motorists believe the federal government should invest more money to improve roadways, according to a recent public opinion poll conducted by AAA. The vast majority of drivers (81 percent) also believe the federal government should do more to improve the condition of roads and bridges.

“Most Americans recognize the need for increased transportation funding because they drive over potholes and bumpy roads every day,” said Robert L. Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA. “Unfortunately, the main concerns voiced by motorists about transportation and driving differ markedly from the points generally expressed by policymakers to promote funding legislation.”

When asked for their concerns regarding transportation and driving their cars, issues identified by drivers included the reliability and safety of their car (34 percent) and the direct financial cost of driving (19 percent). Other major concerns included the behavior of other drivers (15 percent), safety/road accidents (15 percent) and the gas mileage/fuel efficiency of their vehicle (15 percent). According to AAA’s recently released ‘Your Driving Costs’ report, the average cost to own and operate a car this year rose 1.96 percent to 60.8 cents per mile, or $9,122 per year, based upon 15,000 miles of annual driving.

“Policymakers and transportation advocates are failing to connect with the public on the practical concerns that matter most to motorists,” continued Darbelnet. “Motorists want to hear about how their elected officials can improve their daily commute by repairing the pothole down the street or the bumpy road around the corner.”

Nearly seven out of ten (68 percent) motorists believe the federal government should make “reducing congestion on the roads” a top transportation priority. Traffic jams and crowded roads waste billions of dollars a year in time and fuel, and causes significant frustration for many drivers. Federal transportation funding can support increased capacity and expanded roadways.

Motorists who feel that the federal government should increase taxes or fees to improve roadways support a number of options for increasing transportation funding, including:

  • Replacing the per-gallon gas tax with a national gasoline sales tax (55 percent)
  • Creating a new national sales tax dedicated to transportation (47 percent)
  • Expanding the use of tolls to Interstate highways where tolls are not currently collected (47 percent)
  • Creating a carbon tax on fossil fuels (45 percent)
  • Replacing the federal gas tax with a per-miles-driven fee (37 percent)
  • Creating an energy tax on all sources of energy (35 percent)
  • Increasing the federal per-gallon gas tax (27 percent)

“The public seems very willing to examine innovative transportation methods to improve road quality,” continued Darbelnet. “AAA is dedicated to examining all funding options and educating policymakers on the need to fully fund improvements for America’s roads and bridges.”

Motorists overwhelmingly (83 percent) remain concerned about wasteful government spending on transportation. AAA has worked with Congress to implement reforms, such as eliminating earmarks, streamlining bureaucratic oversight and accelerating project development as part of Map 21, the recently passed federal transportation authorization law. AAA will continue to push for improved reforms to reduce wasteful spending as Congress debates transportation funding.

This report presents the findings of an omnibus telephone survey (654 landline and 354 cell phone) consisting of 1,008 adults (503 men and 508 women) living in the continental United States. A screener question identified 817 current motorists who were asked the remainder of the question list. The study has a 95 percent margin of error of ±4.0 percent.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 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.

With 93.3 million Americans expected to take a trip this holiday season, holiday travel to increase by 1.6 percent

ORLANDO, Fla., (Dec. 13, 2012)AAA projects 93.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the year-end holidays, an increase of 1.6 percent over the 91.8 million people who traveled last year. This increase brings holiday travel figures to within half a million of the decade high mark seen during the 2006/2007 season. The year-end holiday travel period is defined as Saturday, Dec. 22 to Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

Highlights from AAA 2012/13 Year-End Holiday Travel Forecast include:

  • Year-end holiday travelers to total 93.3 million, an increase of 1.6 percent from the 91.8 million that traveled last year
  • Ninety percent of travelers (84.4 million) to travel by automobile, representing 26.7 percent of the total U.S. population
  • Holiday air travel expected to increase 4.5 percent to 5.6 million travelers from 5.4 million in 2011
  • Median spending expected to increase almost six percent to $759, compared to $718 in 2011 with transportation costs consuming about 29 cents of every travel dollar.
  • Average distance traveled to increase to 760 miles round-trip from 726 miles, an expected result with an increase in air travelers
  • Travel volumes for the year-end holidays are generally very stable, only once in the past decade has there been a change in travel volume greater than five percent

Additional Resources

“The year-end holiday season remains the least volatile of all travel holidays as Americans will not let economic conditions or high gas prices dictate if they go home for the holidays or kick off the New Year with a vacation,” said AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet. “Primary economic indicators all show modest improvement from last year and AAA is projecting an increase in the number of Americans stuffing their stockings with airline tickets and hotel reservations.”

“As we enter the New Year, one unknown for travel is the looming ‘fiscal cliff’ and the resulting uncertainty related to near-term tax and benefit changes.  Having these items unresolved complicates many travelers’ ability to develop an accurate household budget as they plan for future spending and saving decisions.  It is important that Congress and the President work together to quickly resolve the situation for the good of the nation,” said Darbelnet.

Impact of gasoline prices on travel plans

AAA estimates the national average price of gasoline will slowly drop through the end of the year and average between $3.20-3.40 a gallon by New Year’s Day. Gas prices dropped about 50 cents a gallon on average from September through early December, but remain at record highs for this time of year. AAA does not expect gas prices to have a major impact on travel volume, but consumers could have more money to spend on holiday shopping, dining and entertainment if prices drop through December as expected.

Automobile travel remains dominant mode of transportation, air travel increases

Approximately 90 percent of travelers (84.4 million) plan to travel by automobile this holiday season. This is a 1.3 percent increase over the 83.3 million people who traveled by auto last year.  Air travel is expected to increase 4.5 percent as six percent of travelers or 5.6 million will take to the skies.

Those traveling by air will find lower airfares according to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index.  For the year-end holiday period the average lowest round-trip rate is $203 for the top 40 U.S. air routes, a three percent decrease from last year. Approximately 3.3 million travelers will choose other modes of transportation, including rail, bus and cruise ship.

Hotel rates to increase slightly, car rental rates increase 41 percent

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, year-end holiday hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase two percent from a year ago, with travelers spending an average of $129 per night compared to $126 last year. Travelers planning to stay at AAA Two Diamond hotels can expect to pay three percent more, at an average cost of $95 per night.  Daily car rental rates will average $56, compared to $40 last year.

Average travel distance increases

According to the survey of intended travelers, the average distance traveled by Americans during holiday period is expected to be 760 miles, further than last year when travelers planned to log 726 miles.

Median spending up nearly six percent; top activities are dining and spending time with loved ones

Median spending is expected to be $759, a six percent increase compared to the expected median spending of intended holiday travelers ($718) last year.

Dining (67 percent) and spending time with family and friends (66 percent) and are the most popular activities planned by travelers. It is not surprising that during holiday season shopping is the third most popular activity with 57 percent expecting to shop. More than one-third (34 percent) of holiday travelers plan to sightsee during their trips.

AAA offers digital travel planning resources

AAA’s digital tools for travel planning ‘on the go’ include eTourBook guides for 101 top North American destinations, available free to members at AAA.com/ebooks. Choose from city titles, like the award-winning Las Vegas, regions, like Wine Country, and National Parks.

The free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, Android and iPad uses GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, find current gas prices and discounts and access AAA roadside assistance. Travelers can learn about the AAA Mobile app and AAA Mobile Web at AAA.com/mobile.

On AAA.com, travelers can find thousands of AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants using AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner or the searchable Travel Guides at AAA.com/Travel. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA / IHS Global Insight 2012/13 Year-end Holiday Travel Forecast can be found here.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 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.

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