Changes to regulations or policy that may impact the transportation industry take time to flush out from each newly elected official or congressional session to the next. Any changes to regulations that were enacted by law cannot simply be undone with an executive order. In addition, history teaches trucking industry entities that promises of change do not always translate into actual changes. As explained by Sean Kilcarr of FleetOwner, regulations enacted by the Clinton Administration still went into effect well after the 2000 election. Therefore, regulations already passed and signed into law by the previous administration are likely to remain in effect well into the new administration’s tenure.
The New Administration Makes Its Case
There are things happening under the new administration that is driving the growth of the economy and giving rise to increased confidence among small-business owners as well as a decade’s high confidence level in manufacturing companies. Promises of lower-cost health insurance and President Trump’s remarks on regulation on business seem to allude to greater flexibility in implementing regulations enacted under President Obama, like the electronic logging devices (ELD) mandate, set to go into effect later this year. However, the new administration’s actions to date have not yet brought the relief that so many have wished for but the transportation industry is looking forward to any new government policies that may impact the industry for the better.
Since politics tend to divide even the best of us, this two-part series will look at what the Trump Administration hopes to accomplish for the transportation industry, its impact on economic growth and how improved collaboration among big and small companies could lead to an overhaul of cost-eating regulations.
President Trump on the State of the Transportation Industry
“Rebuild Our Crumbling Infrastructure.”
This was among President Trump’s top campaign promises. He wanted to rebuild America’s infrastructure, including roads, pipelines, bridges, and highways. In fact, the new Administration asked for more than $1 trillion to fund long-term plans for the U.S. infrastructure, reports Bloomberg Politics. Unfortunately, this was among the administration’s goals that were not funded with the congressional funding bill that lasts through September 2017. However, September might give all politicians a chance to reconsider their positions on the drastic need to re-invest in America’s infrastructure. If you are in the transportation industry, we all hope to see this get through and are confidant President Trump will champion this as well as his Transportation Secratary, Elaine Chao.
“Utilize Public-Private Partnerships to Pay for Projects.”
Both President Obama and President Trump believed that public-private partnerships between government entities and private companies should be used to pay for projects that need to be addressed. In infrastructure, this translates to more jobs for Americans and better roadways for the entire country, helping the transportation industry along the way.
“Planned to Issue a Temporary Moratorium on New Regulations.”
Another factor in then Candidate Trump’s rhetoric were regulations and oversight. Describing regulations as a “fourth branch of government,” now President Trump called for a moratorium on the implementation of new regulations. However, the President has focused his efforts on eliminating terrorism and the Affordable Care Act. Therefore, he has not yet implemented a change that would result in the temporary injunction against implementing stricter regulations, like the ELD mandate. But, it is clear this President is focused on making business as easy as possible in the United States as a way to increase freight volumes, reduce prices, and put business competition on steroids so all in the transportation industry benefit.
President Trump appears ready to stop these regulations from going into action. In his proposed budget, the Present wanted a significant cut to funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Cuts were expected for both funding and personnel working in the EPA, which in December, announced intention for motor carriers and automakers to work to decrease fuel emissions even further by 2025. However, the short-term spending bill that recently passed only cut 1 percent from the EPA’s budget, meaning no major cuts are likely among EPA-issued regulations for the transportation industry yet, but with a mindset on making sustainability less complicated and more streamlined, the transportation industry welcomes sustainability all while decreasing the complications to do business that comes with environmental regulations that at times seem duplicitous and stymying.
In the congressional spending bill, a temporary rider was passed that would hold off implementation of certain regulations. However, the bill’s effective dates also limit the rider’s duration. In other words, the rider does little good for the ELD implementation that will occur shortly after this bill’s funding duration expires.
“We need to get rid of NAFTA.”
This is probably one of the more important campaign promises that may impact the transportation industry. President Trump repeatedly called for an end to NAFTA, and he cited plans to force Mexico’s hand in paying for a border wall through stiffer tariffs and duties. If the new administration were to successfully remove America from the NAFTA, the transportation industry will need to respond to any changes it may have on the transportation industry, reports Clarissa Hawes of Trucks.com.
Regulations May Grow Tighter in the Wake of the United Fiasco
The new administration’s aim to revoke and remove regulation from private business is also in jeopardy. Following the public back-lash for the forcible removal of a United Airlines passenger, Congress is on its way to enacting new, sweeping legislation for the airline industry. Unfortunately, this means that change will likely impact trucking as intermodal shipping comes under the microscope once again. In the interim, shippers need to consider how the administration is looking to improve the transportation industry throughout the remainder of 2017.