Trucking Moves America Forward (TMAF), the industry-wide image and education movement representing all areas of the professional truck driving industry, is calling on Capitol Hill lawmakers to pass a long-term highway bill to safeguard America's federal highway program and provide certainty for the nation's future transportation needs.
"Our federal highway program is at a pivotal crossroads, and the passage of a long-term highway bill is critical to modernizing our aging infrastructure and ensuring our roads are safe for our professional drivers and America's families alike," said Kevin Burch, co-chairman of TMAF, president of Jet Express, Inc., and second vice chairman of American Trucking Associations.
The professional trucking industry drives $682 billion in revenue every year, making it a vital contributor to the nation's economy. Seven million trucking professionals nationwide move food, fuel and critical cargo in manufacturing, healthcare, retail and more.
Nearly a third of the nation's roads are in poor or mediocre condition, and one out of every nine bridges is structurally deficient, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers report card. TMAF advocates for infrastructure spending to improve highway networks that are most critical to the movement of freight and interstate travel. Improving our nation's highways also prioritizes the safety of the motoring public.
"Well-maintained roads and bridges are safer roads and bridges," said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. "Safety is further improved when investments are focused on adding capacity where needed to reduce congestion."
To coincide with the lobbying efforts, TMAF launched an advertising campaign to reach lawmakers on Capitol Hill to reinforce the positive impact professional drivers have as the nation's chief movers of interstate commerce. The campaign includes a series of print, digital and radio advertisements placed in Washington news outlets, including Politico Morning Transportation.
"An updated transportation network is crucial to our nation's success. Congress should stop punting and pass a long-term highway bill to improve our nation's roads and bridges before the current authorization expires in May," Burch added.
At the March Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, TMAF announced it had made significant progress since its public launch one year ago.
TMAF reported it reached its goal of raising one million dollars since last March, due to the generous contributions of more than one hundred trucking companies, allied members and individuals.
“We have achieved great strides during our first year of the movement, and we are grateful for everyone who has contributed to TMAF through both financial and in-kind support,” said Burch. “But, there is work to do, and we challenge everyone in the industry to join the movement, so that together, we can achieve a positive image of the industry and advocate for better, smarter regulations to keep this vital industry flourishing.”
Burch extended gratitude to ACT1, which was the first group to ignite the launch of the movement through its donations and support.
Leaders of TMAF, trucking executives and professional drivers presented an overview of the movement’s other major accomplishments through its consistent and dedicated marketing, education and recruiting efforts at several industry events across the nation last year. To date, TMAF is pleased to announce the following achievements:
• More than 140 donors;
• More than $4M of in-kind donations through advertising, sponsorships, trade shows, printing and more;
• Sponsorship on the Love’s Travel Stops and Pilot Flying J NASCAR race cars;
• 3,000 subscribers;
• 25,400 YouTube views, 2,330 Facebook likes and 890 Twitter followers
• More than 25 million earned media impressions;
• And more than 1.5 million advertising impressions.
Dick Pingel, OOIDA board member, asks for continued support for the effort.
“It’s amazing to witness members from all areas of the trucking industry encourage each other and recognize how their roles are interconnected. From the professional truck drivers, to the technicians, travel-plaza attendants, dispatchers, and others, all who have joined together and are willing to make a real difference. But we must continue to grow, so that as a strong, united force, we can maintain a healthy, thriving industry,” Pingel said.
Keith Tuttle, president of Motor Carrier Service, and chairman of Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), acknowledged the movement’s efforts in improving the image of the industry, one of the TMAF’s prime goals.
“Image is at the very heart of the TMAF movement. TMAF is telling the stories from behind the wheel, the stories of trucking professionals that the general public doesn’t always know or learn,” said Tuttle. “We must continue to tell the story that today’s drivers are skilled professionals and devoted family men and women, trained to focus on safety, efficiency and reliability, while operating the safest and most sustainable trucks.”