ARLINGTON, VA – The American Trucking Associations (ATA) is thanking leaders of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee for the introduction of legislation to increase the efficiency and security of the trucking industry by transitioning the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program closer to a “one-stop-shop” for clearances.
“As it stands now, professional truck drivers are still subject to a number of duplicative background checks and other hurdles in order to move America’s most hazardous freight and access sensitive areas of the supply chain,” said Chris Spear, president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the ATA. “This bill is a good first step toward improving the credentialing process and we look forward to working with the Committee as it moves forward.”
While the new bill entitled the Surface Transportation and Marine Security Act would address many issues within the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the ATA is most interested in the inclusion of provisions regarding surface transportation issues like development of a surface transportation advisory committee and a full assessment of the TWIC program.
In addition, ATA is also interested in language in the bill allowing TWIC holders to acquire their hazmat endorsement without the need for additional background checks, a move long supported by ATA.
“When I testified before this committee last year, I raised concerns about the credentialing process,” Spear said. “The trucking industry appreciates that the members of the Committee heard those concerns, took them seriously and have introduced legislation aimed at addressing them.”
The ATA wasn’t the only industry organization to support the bill as the National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC) and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) also backed the new legislation.
“The area of surface transportation security is one that has been overdue for an overhaul. Our members move freight that is among the most tightly security-regulated commodities, so if we can ease the burden of duplicative security screenings on our drivers, we can improve the security and efficiency of our industry,” said Dan Furth, president of the NTTC.
“No group is more concerned with transportation security than the truckers moving the cargo. For too long, these hard-working men and women have been frustrated with the bureaucracy and costs of duplicative and redundant background checks,” said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of OOIDA. “They deserve a better system. While there is much more that needs to be accomplished, the Surface Transportation and Maritime Security Act is a significant step in the right direction.”