Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood may want to get more diesel-guzzling trucks off the road, but he says that doesn’t mean he undervalues the trucking industry.
“Sometimes I may get a little effusive about other modes of transportation,” but trucking is a critical part of the “multimodal” transportation network, LaHood said Thursday.
“The trucking industry provides a vital service and it always will,” LaHood said at the National Industrial Transportation League’s freight transportation policy forum.
Trucking interests have criticized LaHood’s focus on shifting freight from truck to rail and marine highways as well as the administration’s “livability” policies.
American Trucking Associations President Bill Graves sent a letter to LaHood last month taking issue with his repeated references to “getting trucks off the road.”
“I’ve talked to Gov. Graves about their concerns,” LaHood said. (ATA’s Graves is a former governor of Kansas.) He said he responded to Graves by letter as well.
But when it comes to getting more trucks off the road, “It’s not just Ray LaHood saying this,” the DOT chief said at the forum in Arlington, Va.
“There are communities all over America that want to relieve congestion,” he said.
Trucks are indispensable in the delivery of all types of goods, he said. “We’re not going to walk those goods to stores. They’re not going to get there by bicycle, or streetcar.”
LaHood said DOT would continue to promote all modes of transportation.
“We will continue to work with the trucking industry to make sure they’re as strong as they want to be,” he said.
--Contact William B. Cassidy at firstname.lastname@example.org.