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How Will Trump's Presidency Affect Trucking?

For those that work in the trucking industry, Donald Trump's election and future presidency leave many questions unanswered. His promise to end NAFTA, improve the nation's infrastructure and hints at relaxing trucking regulations have been hot topics in semi-truck industry news. The American Trucking Association is vying for a seat at Trump's transition table, hoping to have input into the decision making process. But, for now, uncertainty is the order of the day. When one considers the issues at hand, however, and understands that nothing will change immediately, perhaps some of the unease will dissipate.

An End To NAFTA?

The North American Free Trade Agreement is a comprehensive trade agreement that sets forth the rules and regulations regarding the United States and its two closest trade allies, Canada and Mexico. In essence, it eliminates duties and gives preferential treatment to imports from our neighboring countries. Trump has repeatedly said that he will renegotiate, or totally withdraw the United States from NAFTA and place high tariffs on Mexican goods coming into the country. This, according to proponents of the agreement, wouldn't have the impact he claims it would, namely bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. Instead, they argue, it will raise unemployment rates, and cause disruptions within our economy.

Improved Infrastructure

There's very little contention about the fact that America's infrastructure being old, outdated and in need of improvement. According to Trump's presidential transition website, his administration will invest around $550 billion in infrastructure improvements. The question is, where will that money come from? The fear is, it will be diverted from other federal programs that are vital. Even with proposed tax credits for private sector investors, who theoretically could provide as much as $1 trillion, this is an incredibly daunting task. On a brighter note, however, should the plan actually be enacted, it could provide thousands of jobs, and improve business for trucking companies, especially those that transport concrete and other materials needed to build and repair roadways and bridges.

Trucking Regulations

Every trucking industry professional is well aware of new federal regulations that govern their operations. They are in place to improve the quality of life for all American citizens, reduce emissions and improve safety on the nation's highways. However, some are considered troublesome, expensive and intrusive. For example, the Electronic Logging Device Mandate (ELD) has many transportation providers scrambling to meet the December 2017 deadline, or face penalties, fines and possible loss of their businesses. President-Elect Trump, could well delay the implementation date since the FMCSA still has not published a full detailing of the required technical standards the devices.

Trucking industry leaders, like most Americans, understand that campaign promises are just that, promises. Whether or not the new administration will act on any of the issues the trucking company faces remains to be seen. Perhaps increased spending on infrastructure will be a reality, perhaps NAFTA will be re-worked or negated, perhaps trucking regulations will be lightened. Only time will tell. Feel free to contact us with your thoughts, concerns or questions about these important issues in our industry.