Werner Enterprises' President and COO Addresses Congress
OMAHA, Neb.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Werner Enterprises' President and COO Derek Leathers appeared before Congress at a hearing of the Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation. Leathers advised the Special Panel of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that Congress should address the trucking industry's needs in order to improve efficiency and productivity, as trucks move 68 percent of the nation's freight tonnage and are also crucial to the freight moved by rail, air, and water.
Leathers recommended lawmakers address the Highway Trust Fund, which is, for all intents and purposes, bankrupt. The highway system is the lifeblood of the trucking industry and key in moving all modes of freight. Currently, congestion is estimated to cost the trucking industry $27 billion, which is passed on to shippers and ultimately consumers. Additionally, it is estimated that 31 percent of travel occurs on poor quality pavement, resulting in higher freight costs due to greater vehicle repair expenditures and more potential for damaged goods. Leathers advocated augmenting the current fuel tax system, with all funds dedicated solely to the highway system and highway projects. "The fuel tax is still a viable source of revenue and can continue to be the primary source of funding for highways for many years," stated Leathers. "However, the rate of taxation must be adjusted to account for inflation and fuel efficiency improvements. The ATA (American Trucking Associations) supports an increase in the fuel tax rate, indexing of the tax rate or a combination of the two. This is the most efficient and least harmful way to prevent a catastrophic collapse of the federal-aid highway program." Leathers further supported the fuel tax funding, stating that no other source of funding "will produce the level of revenues needed to meet current and future highway infrastructure needs, is easy and inexpensive to collect, has a low evasion rate, is tied to highway use and does not create impediments to interstate commerce."
Leathers also presented information regarding industry improvements in the areas of safety and greenhouse gas reduction and spoke in support of improving intermodal infrastructure and equipment roadability programs and giving states more flexibility and autonomy regarding the use of more productive trucks to meet current and future freight demands. Leathers' overall testimony was supported by multiple studies conducted by organizations which include the American Society of Civil Engineers, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the American Transportation Research Institute and others.
Werner Enterprises, Inc. was founded in 1956 and is a premier transportation and logistics company, with coverage throughout North America, Asia, Europe, South America, Africa and Australia. Werner maintains its global headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska and maintains offices in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China and Australia. Werner is among the five largest truckload carriers in the United States, with a diversified portfolio of transportation services that includes dedicated van, temperature-controlled and flatbed; medium-to-long-haul, regional and local van; and expedited services. Werner's Value Added Services portfolio includes freight management, truck brokerage, intermodal, and international services. International services are provided through Werner's domestic and global subsidiary companies and include ocean, air and ground transportation; freight forwarding; and customs brokerage.
Werner Enterprises, Inc.'s common stock trades on The NASDAQ Global Select MarketSM under the symbol "WERN". For further information about Werner or to view the complete statement of Derek J. Leathers to the Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation, visit the Company's website at www.werner.com.
Fred Thayer, 402-895-6640 ext. 2065
Director of Corporate Communications
KEYWORDS: United States North America Nebraska
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