January 26th, 2015 by admin
Dear Members of the 114th Congress,
AAA, the American Trucking Associations, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce welcome you for the 114th Congress. Our organizations are committed to improving our nation’s infrastructure system and look forward to working with you to fully fund the roads and bridges that are the backbone of American mobility and competitiveness.
Americans are frustrated with our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, including increasingly congested highways and deficient roads and bridges. Thirty-two percent of major roads are in poor or mediocre condition. This neglect costs the average driver $324 each year in additional vehicle repairs and operating costs. Commutes between home and work are longer than ever before, and the average American spends 38 hours each year stuck in traffic. Furthermore, congestion on the Interstate System alone costs freight trucks more than 141 million hours in wasted time, equivalent to 51,000 drivers sitting idle for a working year.
Fortunately, there is a simple solution to address this issue in the near-term: raise the federal fuels user fee, provided the funds are used to ease congestion and improve safety. While the impact of insufficient funding is evident, how we got here is not always clear. With this in mind, our organizations have put together an educational infographic on the Highway Trust Fund to serve as a primer for lawmakers and the general public as the funding of roads and bridges is considered this spring. That infographic can be found here.
There are many challenges that Congress must address this year, but we believe that finding a solution for funding the Highway Trust Fund is at the top of that list. Rather than continuing to resort to short-term funding patches that only delay tough decisions, our organizations support action to address the issue pragmatically, immediately and sustainably. While no one wants to pay more, we urge you to support an increase to the federal fuels user fee, provided the funds are used to ease congestion and improve safety, because it is the most cost efficient and straightforward way to provide a steady revenue stream to the Highway Trust Fund.
The last increase to the federal user fee for gasoline was 1993. Since then, inflation, increased fuel economy, and rising costs associated with labor and construction, have eroded the user fee’s purchasing power. Congress must act to provide a reliable revenue stream to support jobs, address maintenance needs and provide Americans with a safe and efficient transportation system. Congress has patched the Highway Trust Fund five times since 2008, continuing to kick the can further down the road, and now faces yet another looming shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund with current funding set to expire on May 31.
Thank you again for your time and consideration and we look forward to continuing to work together to address the funding needs of our nation’s transportation system.
AAA, American Trucking Associations and U.S. Chamber of Commerce
January 20th, 2015 by admin
“The state of our nation’s transportation infrastructure is deteriorating, and without significant investment it will only worsen. President Obama has outlined numerous legislative priorities tonight – from making community colleges more accessible to national energy production and efficiency initiatives – but a key part of our overall economic success will depend on a reliable network to get people to school and transport new products to factories and stores.
“The President’s proposal to leverage corporate tax reform or private investment structures to support transportation funding would provide a welcome shot in the arm for our nation’s infrastructure, but this will not provide a sustainable fix to the looming funding crisis at hand.
“We have a tremendous opportunity with gas prices hitting multi-year lows to invest a portion of these savings to properly fund our transportation system. The user fee for gasoline – often called the “gas tax” – has not increased in more than two decades; yet long-overdue action to restore funding lost to inflation is finally gaining interest on Capitol Hill.
“AAA continues to advocate for an increase to this user fee as the most effective and efficient way to fund our transportation system, provided the money is used to ease congestion and improve safety.
“We can only hope that the promise of bipartisanship and collaboration prevails so that we can achieve a sustainable and reliable long-term funding solution.”
August 1st, 2014 by admin
(WASHINGTON, July 31, 2014) “AAA is disappointed that the House has allowed politics and an easily fixable drafting error to interfere with a bipartisan proposal that would set the stage for a long-term transportation bill. It is imperative that the Highway Trust Fund remain solvent, but Congress ultimately must work to secure the multi-year funding for transportation that American motorists expect and deserve.
“The Senate bill would have positioned Congress to work toward passage of multi-year, fully funded transportation legislation following the elections in November. The House extension delays the tough decisions until 2015, which puts jobs, the economy and American mobility at risk. AAA looks forward to working with those leaders in Congress who seek to secure a multi-year transportation bill that focuses on results, ensures adequate funding and keeps the safety of our roads and bridges a national priority.”
July 30th, 2014 by admin
Dear Speaker Boehner and Leader Pelosi,
As the nation’s largest organization representing motorists, AAA urges the House to act immediately to take up and pass the bipartisan Senate bill to extend funding for surface transportation programs until December of this year.
Funding for America’s roads and bridges is yet again in imminent danger of running out. It is imperative that you act swiftly to ensure the immediate solvency of the Highway Trust Fund; however congressional focus must remain a multi-year proposal that will meet the long-term needs of drivers. This is accomplished in the Senate bill, which passed with broad bipartisan support.
The best short-term remedy is one that extends funding until December and positions Congress to work toward passage of a long-term, fully funded transportation bill following the elections in November. An extension that delays the tough decisions until 2015 jeopardizes Congress’ ability to reach an agreement on a long-term transportation funding solution and puts jobs, the economy, and American mobility at risk.
For this reason, AAA urges you to take up and pass the bipartisan Senate bill without delay.
Robert L. Darbelnet
July 29th, 2014 by admin
“AAA commends the Senate for taking a major first step toward making a long-term investment in America’s transportation infrastructure. The passage of the bipartisan amendment, proposed by Senators Boxer, Corker and Carper, sends a strong signal that Congress recognizes the importance of passing a multi-year, sustainable funding solution to fix the nation’s transportation crisis and is willing to put politics aside and work together to enhance American mobility and improve safety.
“The House must now follow suit and act immediately to pass this amended bill, which will prevent the immediate insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund. However they must also commit to reaching a long-term solution to our nation’s transportation funding needs by the December deadline that has been set in this legislation. In the coming months, AAA will continue to advocate for a long-term transportation bill that focuses on results, ensures adequate funding, and keeps the safety of our roads and bridges a national priority.”
July 24th, 2014 by admin
As the nation’s largest organization representing motorists, AAA urges you to vote yes on the amendment proposed by Senators Boxer, Corker, and Carper to extend funding for surface transportation programs through December 20, 2014.
Funding for America’s roads and bridges is once again in imminent danger of running out. While it is imperative that you act swiftly to ensure the immediate solvency Highway Trust Fund, the focus must remain on a proposal that will help meet the long-term needs of drivers.
The best short-term patch is one that extends funding through December 20, 2014 and positions Congress to working toward passage of a long-term, fully funded transportation bill during the lame duck session following the elections in November. An extension that delays the tough decisions until 2015 jeopardizes Congress’ ability to reach an agreement on a long-term transportation funding solution and puts jobs, the economy, and American mobility at risk.
For this reason, AAA urges you to vote yes on the amendment proposed by Senators Boxer, Corker, and Carper.
Robert L. Darbelnet
July 17th, 2014 by Kerrie
ORLANDO, Fla., (July 17, 2014) – “Today’s Senate Commerce hearing again sheds light on the unacceptable failure of GM executive management to adequately oversee and respond to early warning signals of potential vehicle safety problems. AAA acknowledges GM’s recent steps to transform its corporate culture by implementing new protocols and procedures intended to help prevent similar crises in the future. However, it is clear more must be done to restore public trust in the recall process, repair compromised vehicles and compensate motorists who have been impacted by GM’s failure to protect their safety. This includes a thorough examination of the existing regulatory structure, and putting in place any changes deemed necessary.”
“AAA continues to support efforts by Congress to raise the maximum fine that NHTSA can levy on automakers, along with legislation introduced by Senators Markey and Blumenthal calling for increased transparency in the recall process. These steps should be taken immediately, and Congress should further use its authority to identify additional ways to help ensure that a tragedy such as this is never allowed to occur again.”
July 10th, 2014 by admin
(WASHINGTON, July 10, 2014) “Funding for America’s roads and bridges is once again in imminent danger of running out. Both the House and Senate will act today on short-term plans to prop up the Highway Trust Fund, but it remains unclear whether either proposal will help meet the long-term needs of drivers.
“The only way that a short-term patch of the Highway Trust Fund is acceptable is if it buys Congress a few months to work on finalizing a bipartisan, long-term agreement later this year. Any proposal that allows this issue to be pushed into 2015 would kill the momentum to find a real funding solution. Renewing the debate next year under a new Congress would start us over at square one, making it nearly impossible to secure long-term transportation funding anytime soon.
“It’s time our leaders in Washington stop the hand-wringing and start taking real steps to shore up funding for the roads and bridges that we rely on every day. Continuing to put off tough decisions about how to fund transportation will risk road safety and compromise our economic vitality.”
June 10th, 2014 by admin
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.
- 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).
“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
- 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%
- 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%
- 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%
- 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%
- 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%
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.
May 21st, 2014 by admin
(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.