‘Traffic choking nation’s economy,’ Ohio trucking exec tells Congress

Keith Tuttle, president of Motor Carrier Services Inc., Northwood, Ohio, told the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that congestion is choking the nation’s supply chain and economy.

“As the owner of a small trucking company of 90 trucks, I know our nation’s inventory moves in our industry’s trailers,” Tuttle said Feb. 19 at a committee field hearing overseen by Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.). “We can talk about shifting goods to rail or boosting intermodal freight, but the great majority of this country’s cities are still served only by trucks.”

Tuttle, chairman of American Trucking Associations’ Small Carrier Advisory Committee, said that congestion across the country can prevent his trucks from making their appointed rounds.

“From our headquarters in northwest Ohio, if we have to send trucks to deep into Chicago – near the airports or to the north side — it is impossible for us to drop our load, pick up a new load and return home because of the congestion,” he said. “Our primary run takes us to New Jersey, where we deliver cans that are used in production the next day typically, and congestion can prevent those trucks from getting there on time.”

Tuttle told the panel that those congestion problems would only be exacerbated by proposed changes to the hours-of-service rules that govern truckers since the Obama administration is contemplating reducing the allowable driving time to 10 hours from the current limit of 11 and making changes to the 34-hour restart that would require it be taken over two nights.

Those changes he said would put more trucks on the road adding to already congested roads.

Tuttle said it was important to increase funding for infrastructure and that as an industry “trucking supports raising the fuel tax if it is used on things that improve efficiency.”

“The fuel tax is by far the most efficient system for raising the funds we need,” he said, adding that ATA was opposed to use of tolls to pay for needed infrastructure improvements.