Wednesday, August 29, 2007

One foot in front of the other

Each year I’m charged with putting together a guide for the October issue of the magazine that is intended to be a one-stop shop for OOIDA members, other truckers, their families and friends who are looking for information on how to get involved in the electoral process and the importance of staying in the mix.

I recently wrapped up our fourth edition of the guide dubbed “TruckVote.” A few weeks ago when I embarked on putting all the pieces of the guide together to present to Land Line readers I thought it would be a good idea to include some notable examples in the past year that show how the involvement of truckers made a difference on issues.

It didn’t take long to track down success stories at the federal, state and local levels of government. In Washington, DC, we’ve seen truckers make their voice heard on issues that include the pilot program to allow Mexican trucks to cross the border and tolling interstates in Pennsylvania.

Truckers also helped make an impact on numerous state issues. One recent example is out of Wisconsin where truckers contacted their state lawmakers about an effort to modify the state’s Diesel Idle Reduction Grant Program. The primary benefactors would have been large motor carriers.

At the local level, residents in two Texas communities made their presence known. Truckers came out in opposition to a proposed ordinance in Houston that would limit truck sizes and weights and charge permit fees. The elected official behind the proposal agreed to delay a vote and to consider input from the trucking industry.

And truckers and others in Dallas got behind a grassroots effort against a proposed toll road. A petition drive netted enough signatures for a question on the toll road to be added to the November ballot.

So, as you can see there has been some hearty involvement in the governmental process from folks in the trucking community during the past year.

The rewards for those who take the time to make their voice heard are more evident each year. I’m encouraged, not to mention confident, that we will see many more examples of truckers standing up for their rights and educating their elected officials about the industry and what impact their actions have on it.

While you have yet to receive your October issue of Land Line Magazine with our “TruckVote” section tucked inside, I am already looking forward to the 2008 edition and what other success stories I will be able to recap.

Until then, keep involved and stay tuned.