WASHINGTON—Highway funding, tax reform and tire registration were the big issues tire dealers, repair shop owners and association officials discussed with Capitol Hill staffers during the Tire Industry Association's Federal Lobby Day on Feb. 5.
Approximately 55 representatives of the tire retailing and auto repair industries participated in the event, which began with speeches from current and former members of Congress and progressed to one-on-one meetings with key staff persons in the offices of several top Washington lawmakers.
With the Highway Trust Fund set to run out of money in May, passage of a multi-year transportation funding bill was the main issue TIA advanced during Federal Lobby Day. What TIA did not want to see in a transportation funding package was as important a part of the discussions as what it did.
TIA especially does not want any highway funding option that would reinstate the federal excise taxes on passenger tires and tread rubber, said TIA Executive Vice President Roy Littlefield III in a position paper he wrote for Federal Lobby Day.
Both taxes, Littlefield said, were repealed in the Surface Transportation Act of 1982.
TIA also does not want to see a national weight-distance tax on truckers, higher tolls, further privatization of roads and highways or Vehicle Miles Traveled charges, according to Littlefield. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., already has asserted his opposition to the most often discussed option, an increase in the motor fuels tax, Littlefield said.
“TIA is taking two strong and specific positions,” he said. “First, eliminate diversion. We are approaching 50 percent of the funds collected for the Highway Trust Fund diverted for non-highway purposes. Second, engage creatively in future highway funding.”