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[Washington, D.C.] – The National Shippers Strategic Transportation Council (NASSTRAC) has submitted comments to the Department of Transportation (DOT) on its Draft Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2014 through 2018. DOT is updating its strategic freight transportation plan, and has invited organizations and individuals interested in improving the Nation’s transportation system to comment on the initial draft by September 10. A final version of the strategic plan is expected to be released in early 2014.

NASSTRAC’s Thoughts on Freight Transportation Plan

NASSTRAC’s comments point out that the DOT Draft Strategic Plan, “Transportation for a New Generation,” does not adequately address freight transportation in general, and truck transportation in particular. The trucking industry accounts for almost 70 percent, by value and by weight, of the freight transported in the United States. NASSTRAC supports livability and sustainability initiatives, but DOT should modify its Draft Strategic Plan giving more attention to helping the trucking industry support commerce and meet increasing demand for motor carrier service.

freight transportationThe Draft Strategic Plan also fails to address truck size and weight restrictions or the new Hours-of-Service (HOS) rule. Under the current surface transportation bill, MAP-21, DOT in consultation with states and other relevant Federal agencies must submit a report to Congress by July 2014 on a comprehensive study of truck size and weight limits. Additionally, despite the new HOS requirements that took effect on July 1, DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has not yet conducted a statistically valid field study on the rule and issued a report as required by MAP-21.

“While we applaud the DOT for this undertaking, NASSTRAC and its members are concerned about shippers having access to the safe, economical and reliable movement of goods. A safe and profitable trucking industry is vitally important in achieving this objective,” said NASSTRAC Advocacy Chairman Michael Regan, president of Tranzact Technologies in Elmhurst, Ill. “It is our hope that when the final Strategic Plan is released, it will provide more support for motor carriers and address the critical role they play in creating and maintaining a vibrant U.S. economy.”

DOT’s Strategic Plan needs to more adequately address the economic importance of transportation, and NASSTRAC will continue working with the department to ensure the needs of freight transportation are properly addressed.

The National Shippers Strategic Transportation Council (NASSTRAC) provides education, advocacy, and provider relations for professionals and companies involved in transportation and logistics. Founded in 1952, our members manage freight transportation across all transportation modes including truckload, rail, ocean and air.