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News for Beekeepers: Government

Agricultural Transportation Working Group

Friday, February 21, 2020  
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Environment & Public Works Chairman John Barasso (R-WY) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) will be contacting GOP members of the Senate Finance Committee this week seeking support for a truck-only vehicle miles tax as a means of funding the highway trust fund.

The current gas and diesel taxes along with other funding sources are not providing adequate funding for the highway trust fund. Congress has the unenviable task of finding more funding for the next highway bill, but this proposal would not share the pain among the users of the nation’s roadways. Instead it would place all the pain on freight transportation. This proposal would increase truck transportation costs, which would lead to lower prices paid for agricultural products at the farmgate and make the U.S. agriculture less competitive against our foreign competitors.

The American Trucking Association (ATA) is asking for help from organizations representing freight transportation users, such as agricultural organizations, in reaching out to GOP members of the Senate Finance Committee this week while they are on recess (via phone, email, and twitter). The message is that a truck-only vehicle miles tax is unacceptable and would place all the burden on truck transportation providers and users while other users of our nation’s roadways would get a pass.

Linked below are background materials to help people understand the trucking industry’s concerns with a vehicle miles tax. In addition, below is an article that appeared today in BGov.

Background Materials
ATA Letter to Senate Finance
ATA Initial Review of CBO Report
State Trucking Association Letter to Congress on Infrastructure
State Tax Notes

BGov
White House Weighs VMT Tax on Trucking, Cornyn Says: The White House is weighing a proposal to impose a new tax on the trucking industry in order to raise more money for transportation programs, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said.

Senate Republicans’ plan to create a new vehicle miles traveled tax paid for by truckers has been scored by the Joint Tax Committee and shared with National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, Cornyn said.

Cornyn, a senior member of the Finance Committee, said he and Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) may meet with Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) as soon as today to discuss the JCT scoring and whether the VMT proposal can work to generate sufficient revenue to cover spending in the five-year, $287 billion surface transportation bill.