Top 5 Troubling Trucking Trends Likely To Continue In 2019: #3 Congestion Is Costing Us

Little Rock, Arkansas – If you are an avid reader or viewer of Transportation Nation Network (TNN), you are well aware that we follow trucking news and industry trends as closely as any. As we head into a new year, we’ve identified 5 trends from 2018 that we think are likely to continue through 2019.

Here is the number 3 troubling trucking trend we expect to continue in 2019.

#3 Congestion Is Costing Us

As expected, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released the findings of its annual infrastructure study, Cost of Congestion To The Trucking Industry, in October. It reports that congestion cost the trucking industry a total of $74.5 billion and 1.2 billion hours of productivity.

The study put this in perspective by pointing out this is equivalent to 425,533 trucks sitting idle for an entire year and cost each truck on the highway an average of $6,478 throughout the year in 2016.

 

To no trucker’s surprise, the top states for congestion costs were Texas with $6.3 billion, Florida with $5.6 billion, California with $5 billion, New York with $4.3 billion and New Jersey with $3.3 billion. Interestingly, 86.7% of congestion costs occur on just 17.2% of highway miles.

Yeah, you read that right. It’s easy to see where the congestion is, so why not fix it?

Well, Republicans had their chance for the last two years, but prioritized tax relief, health insurance reform and criminal justice reform among other things. Hope for finding common ground on this issue was high when President Trump first took office in 2016, but seemed to quickly dim.

The President and the GOP favored a public/private partnership approach to funding infrastructure projects. The Democrats demanded an approach centered around creating new taxes and raising existing taxes.

Trucking industry stakeholders continue to lobby lawmakers to address the lack of funding for the Highway Trust Fund by increasing federal fuel taxes. TNN has written why this is a really bad and ineffective way to address this issue, but we certainly understand why many trucking stakeholders simply want the costs of unnecessary congestion to begin to be alleviated.

Bottom Line

Now with a divided U.S. Congress the chances of the two parties reaching a grand bargain on the rebuilding of America’s crumbling infrastructure lies somewhere between not-a-chance and nil. We should see what the new Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives decides to do on this issue early in 2019.

 

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