Trucker Shortage

For the past year or so, the trucking industry has been going through what some folks say a shortage of qualified drivers. Statistics show by 2020, the industry will be down 50,000 drivers as the older driver retire and milennials are not interested, even more by 2025. I recently posted to Facebook a question that read, “If there is a trucker shortage, then why are trucking companies shutting down, leaving hundreds of drivers without jobs?”.

In an article published on March 28, 2019, on the Transport Topics website, ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello, stated,

“While we do use ATA data to identify one segment of the trucking labor

market (long-distance truckload motor freight) that has experienced high

and persistent turnover rates for decades, the overall picture is consistent

with a market in which labor supply responds to increasing labor demand

over time, and a deeper look does not find evidence of a secular shortage.”

The article also stated that private fleets do not have that problem and less-than-truckload fleets do not have such a big problem with the shortage. See article here, http://www.ttnews.com.

Just recently, an article posted on CDLLife website about how Penske laid off drivers before shutting its doors in Indiana. Several weeks back, another company shut down while the drivers were out. Informing them on the Qualcomm to return to the yard and clean out their trucks and provide their own way home. In these two cases, are they shutting down because of the driver shortage or because of mismanagement of money? There were two other instances where the company mismanaged or allegedly stole the money and left the drivers to fend for themselves. Reportedly telling them to go to the nearest terminal and park the truck. But, yet there is a driver shortage. At this rate, there would will soon be a job shortage, especially for qualified drivers.

About 8 years ago, my co-driver and I were on our way to California when we had to stop in Kingman, AZ to get the a/c fixed. We met a couple from Kentucky that were driving for Arrow Trucking and they were in the shop for the same problem. While we were in the waiting area trading stories, he got a phone call from his company. He walked outside to talk. Standing in the parking lot, he was animated with the hand gestures and yelling. He hung up and stormed back in the building red-faced and sweating, swearing. He told us that his company just told him to park the truck at the nearest terminal, which was another hundred miles away, and find his way home. That they were closing their doors. The man was practically crying. We felt for him, but there was nothing we could do for them. He told the shop to put the truck back together and he was going back to the truckstop and sell what he could off the truck to get money so they could get home. This was such a sad situation, that it stayed with me all these years.

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Do truckers pay enough for highways? White House suggests not

|February 27, 2018

A report issued last week by the White House reiterates the Trump Administration’s stance that tolling should be a prime mechanism for boosting highway funding. The report also says that the administration doesn’t think trucking pays enough in taxes to offset “the negative externalities [trucks] generate” relative to highway conditions, congestion and “accident risk.”

The annual Economic Report of the President, which is written by the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, takes aim at gasoline and diesel taxes, which have been the primary funding source for the U.S. Highway Trust Fund since the 1950s. The report says that more fuel efficient vehicles “pay less than the marginal costs generated by their use of roads in terms of wear and tear, congestion and other external costs.” Fuel taxes also create a funding divide between rural roadways and more crowded urban areas, the report claims.

“Furthermore,” the report says, “evidence suggests that heavy trucks in particular do not currently faces taxes and charges that are aligned with the negative externalities they generate, which include pavement damage, traffic congestion, accident risk and emissions.”

Infrastructure fixes running out of gas

We can’t expect tomorrow’s dwindling fossil-fuel-powered vehicles to adequately fund already under-funded highways while the e-powered elite rides free.

Trying to generate more revenue from tolls, the administration asserts, would “counteract” the deficiencies it says exist with the fuel tax.

Since his 2016 campaign, Trump has signaled his intent to try to use private financing, such as tolling, to generate funding for U.S. road and bridge projects. This month, the Trump Administration released an outline for its infrastructure plan, which calls for leaning on tolls and funding from states and localities — rather than federal spending — to bolster highway funding. Trump’s plan also would repeal the current ban on Interstate tolling.

Trucking groups have sharply rebuked the president’s plan for an increase in tolling. The American Trucking Associations, which put forth a bulletin in January lobbying Congress to raise the per-gallon gas and diesel taxes to stabilize U.S. funding for roads and bridges, says tolling is “a road to nowhere.” ATA also noted then that trucking pays 45 percent, via diesel taxes, of the HTF’s annual revenue.

“Study after study shows the shortfalls of tolling and the unintended consequences that tolls impose on motorists and surrounding communities,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear in January.

ATA has called for a the per-mile gallon on gasoline and diesel taxes to be increased 20 cents — 5 cents a year over the course of four years — to ensure the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund. Gas and diesel taxes were last increased in 1993. These flat rates, 18.4 cents a gallon for gasoline and 24.4 cents a gallon for diesel, have become more ineffective due to inflation and more fuel efficient vehicles, which have crimped the Highway Trust Fund’s revenue stream.

More tolls or no tolls? Two-thirds of readers say no

Just a third of readers favored any liberalization whatsoever in the ability of government to toll interstate routes, whether current or new routes or expansion …

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association last month also pressed for an increase in fuel taxes. “The heart of it is a fuel tax with revenues collected going to roads and bridges. It’s simple, efficient and it serves the very real needs of our country and its people,” said Todd Spencer, acting president of OOIDA. “If elected officials think a fuel tax increase would be unpopular, wait until Americans encounter more and higher tolling.”

The Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates calls tolls “wildly inefficient.”

“In addition to the diversion onto secondary roads which causes congestion and public safety issues, tolls will do unimaginable harm to businesses, as shipping and manufacturing prices skyrocket to account for these new costs,” the group said in a statement earlier this month.