By Clifford F. Lynch
DC Velocity, December 2010
has been another tough year for many of us. Although the National Bureau of
Economic Research declared the recession over in June, 2009, there still are 15
million people out of work. There is a feeling that the economy is coming back
slowly, but I am sure your toys orders are down again this year. I hope the
optimists are correct, but in my opinion, the recovery is a little too slow to
do us much good for another year or so.
As you know, we have a new Congress now, and I hope you can see your way
clear to give them stockings full of wisdom and good judgment. Regardless of
your political affiliation, I think you will agree that instead of fighting with
each other they should be united in trying to find the combination to a speedy
recovery. You are a good lobbyist, and lobbying is one thing they all
Speaking of Congress, you no doubt noted that James Oberstar, Chairman of
the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee lost his bid for
re-election. Thatís not good. Whatever oneís political persuasions might be,
he understood the countryís transportation infrastructure, and had some good,
informed ideas. While you are talking to House members, see if you can persuade
them to replace him with someone who will put the countryís needs ahead of
political infighting. Infrastructure is at the top of our wish list. We
desperately need to get in place a national transportation policy and plan, and
adhere to it. I know jobs are important; but we need to make transportation
decisions based on transportation needs, not job creation.
As was the case last year when I wrote you there still is lurking in the
Senate, a re-regulation bill. Hopefully, this year you can kill it. 1980 was a
great year for transportation, and we should not take this backward step. Take a
hard look. There probably is something in there about sleigh regulation.
Please see if you can help with the harbor trucking controversy also, The
order to start phasing independent harbor truckers into trucking fleets has been
stayed until all appeals have been heard, but the matter is far from over. While
clean air is the basic issue, it is not coincidental that independents can be
organized by the Teamsters under this scheme. Your mediation skills are needed.
service for truck drivers are still up in the air, and a ruling from the Federal
Motor Carrier Safety Administration is expected any day. I believe you already
have a few elves working on this. I hope they wonít let the FMCSA throw the
baby out with the bathwater. After all highway fatalities dropped 20 percent in
2009, and fatalities have been the major impetus behind this rule change. Can
you imagine what a mess Christmas Eve would be if reindeer could only fly ten
hours at a stretch?
I just wrote about CSA 2010 a couple of months ago, so I wonít belabor
that. But while I think this is a fair regulation in general, it still has some
kinks in it. We heed to be sure these are all out before the rules are rolled
out nationally. Otherwise, the purpose will be defeated. We donít want unsafe
operators on the road, but we must be fair about how they and the carriers are
If I am wrong about the economy, and it recovers quickly we may see
another driver shortage, and unfair enforcement of CSA 2010 could exacerbate
that. Combine that with capacity issues that could occur and we could have
another tug of war between carriers and shippers. I think we learned last time
this happened that no one wins if either group tries to take advantage of the
l need your calming influence. If all else fails, cut off the toys.
By the way, are you wearing red or blue this year?
Merry Christmas to you, Mrs. Claus, and all the elves.