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Contact: Tiffany Wlazlowski

Feb. 9, 2007

(703) 838-1717  

Highway Users Form Coalition to Oppose Privatization of Toll Roads Group Says Government Must Be Held Accountable for Financing

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The American Trucking Associations, in conjunction with the American Automobile Association, the American Highway Users Alliance, the National Association of Truck Stop Operators, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association today announced the formation of a coalition of highway user groups to combat the growing trend toward the privatization or leasing of existing toll facilities to private investors.

Known as “Americans for a Strong National Highway Network,” the coalition is designed to advance the rights of American motorists to travel on safe, reliable public roads; maintain a robust national highway network for the efficient transport of goods and the military; and to hold government accountable for ensuring financing is transparent, motivated by public good and dedicated to transportation purposes.

The announcement was made at a press conference held at the National Press Club.

“The sale or lease of existing toll facilities generates revenue at great expense to taxpayers and the trucking industry and carries potential negative impacts on highway safety, security and the motoring public,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “We must consider the long-term impact privatization will have on our nation’s transportation system and explore all available financing options to ensure that the government is motivated by public good and transportation purposes.”

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, stated: “For the Bush Administration, the rush to promote public-private partnerships is based in ideology, not a critical evaluation of how public-private partnerships might help meet the goal of an improved, integrated national transportation system and further the public interest.”

ATA strongly opposes the lease or sale of existing toll roads, bridges or tunnels to private parties and has called upon the government to abandon these financing techniques.

The trucking industry supports the objective of a toll-free national highway system where funds to finance highway improvements primarily come from highway user fees, such as the fuel tax.

Letter to Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters from Americans for a Strong National Highway Network (PDF)

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The American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of other trucking groups, industry-related conferences, and its 50 affiliated state trucking associations, ATA represents more than 37,000 members covering every type of motor carrier in the United States.

Press Conference Video

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