NATSO, the national association representing the truckstop and travel plaza industry, brought more than 65 truckstop and travel plaza owners and operators from across the country to Capitol Hill as part of its annual advocacy event. Participants traveling to Washington, D.C., represent locations that span 49 states and nearly every community in America. Collectively, they will hold more than 125 meetings with Members of Congress and their staff to advocate for the policy needs of the truckstop and travel plaza industry.
“Truckstops and travel centers are the bedrock of many communities across the United States,” said NATSO Chairman Bob Wollenman, Managing Partner of Deluxe Truck Stop in St. Joseph, MO. “It’s important that our elected officials understand the vital role that our industry plays as an employer and a taxpayer in communities throughout the country.”
This year, NATSO members are urging Congress to seek long-term, sustainable solutions to infrastructure funding and reject funding proposals that would harm off-highway businesses, communities and the traveling public.
Specifically, NATSO supports increasing the motor fuels taxes, which haven’t been increased in more than 25 years, as a means of increasing critical infrastructure revenues. NATSO opposes short-sighted proposals such as tolling existing interstates and commercializing rest areas.
“If Congress fails to act in the coming months, yet another year — possibly longer — will pass without our nation’s lawmakers addressing our real and present infrastructure funding problems,” said Ernie Brame, Chairman of NATSO’s Government Affairs Committee and General Manager of Kenly 95 Truckstop in Kenly, N.C. “Advancing infrastructure policy in 2019 is imperative.”
Beyond sustainable, long-term infrastructure funding, advocates are asking their elected officials to extend the biodiesel tax credit, which expired at the end of 2016. The $1 per gallon biodiesel blenders’ tax credit has helped fuel retailers sell biodiesel at a price that is cost-competitive with diesel since 2005, thereby incentivizing consumer consumption. Furthermore, biodiesel helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Every gallon of biodiesel that displaces a gallon of petroleum-based diesel represents at least a 50 percent reduction in lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition to the Capitol Hill visits, participants will be joined by Congressman Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who is scheduled to deliver a breakfast address to the assembled group.
Coinciding with NATSO’s annual Day on Capitol Hill, truckstop and travel plaza participants also heard on May 14 from several speakers including Representative Darin LaHood (R-Ill.).
NATSO will conclude its Day on Capitol Hill with its annual Pie Reception for Members of Congress and their staff in the Rayburn House Office Foyer, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Elected officials and their staff will enjoy nearly 200 made-from-scratch pies, donated by TravelCenters of America and DAS Companies. Sponsors also included S&D Coffee, Federated Insurance and Midwest Electronics Gaming.