US bill would offer loans to truckers hurt by fuel costs
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.) has introduced legislation that would provide low interest loans to truckers and other small transportation businesses struggling to keep their businesses afloat in the face of record high fuel prices.
Congressman Baird has met with dozens of independent truckers to discuss the problems facing the industry and the possible solutions.
"Truckers provide the backbone of our nation's retail economy, and an alarming number of trucking and transportation businesses are going belly up, unable to afford the rising cost of fuel," Baird said. "Even more disturbing, some are being forced to choose between paying for safety repairs, and filling the gas tank. This legislation would provide them with a stopgap measure to help keep them, and our economy afloat."
"Just about everything you see on store shelves was brought there by a truck. We can not just sit idly by while a significant part of our nation's economy disappears," added Baird. "The federal government has devoted a lot of energy to backing up Wall Street in the past few days; we need to focus our attention on Main Street as well. This bill does that."
The bill is also being supported by the Northwest Log Truckers Cooperative and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA).
Under the terms of the proposed legislation, transportation businesses that have suffered, or that are likely to suffer from high fuel prices would be able to apply for emergency loans through the Small Business Administration.
The loans would be capped at $250,000 and would be offered under terms similar to those offered through the SBA's "essential employee" program, which allows small businesses to seek disaster assistance if one of their employees is a military reservist who gets called up to active duty.
-- via Truckinginfo.com