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if we are really attentive to safety and put our best drivers behind the wheel, we can provide benefit to our economy by being more productive,” Graves said. “The answer is undoubtedly ‘yes.’”

LAHOODAND LIVABILITY Taking a dig at recent comments by

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, along with the Obama administration’s emphasis on shifting freight away from trucks, Graves noted the country’s population growth is equivalent to adding a new city the size Houston every year. “That’s a tremendous number of mouths

to feed, that’s clothing, that’s consumer goods, that’s building materials, you name it,” Graves said. “And quite frankly, I don’t know that any of those people are locating their homes or their businesses or their schools adjacent to a rail line or a short sea shipping lane.” Graves did explain that trucks and trains

each have their place in transporting the nation’s freight, even though “the rails are a tremendous annoyance to some of my members.” But, he noted, what might be seen as “anti-truck” posturing by the railroad

industry is essentially an attempt to sell “the green thing” to get federal funds to improve the rail system “with no strings attached.” “But nothing dramatic is going to change,”

Graves said, noting that even if intermodal tonnage doubled, it would account for less than 2 percent of freight. “You can nibble around the edges of the freight pie, but you’re not going to make a major dent in truck traffic anytime soon because of what’s happening with the growth of our country and the density of our population. We live, work and play in places where no other mode can go.” Also, Graves shared his doubts about the

Obama administration’s theme of “livability” and transportation planning. He suggested that a policymaker with an urban, “high- rise” sensibility might be able to envision living without personal motor vehicles, but doubted they’d visited the nation’s less densely populated cities and towns. “First of all, we love mobility,” Graves

said. “You’re not going to change that. But we [in trucking] are going to contribute to greenhouse gas reduction. We’re going to transition to alternative power and alternative fuel—and this industry is going to lead the way. We’re going to create the benefits that

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they seek through these programs, but we’re not going to force people to change their lifestyles to get it done.”

HOURS OF SERVICE Despite an improvement in safety,

demonstrated statistically, the HOS regulation is “at risk again” with a new rulemaking, prompted by safety advocates who reject the eleventh hour added to a driver’s work day. “It was a real disappointment to us, right

out of the shoot, that the new administration chose to reopen what an appropriate Hours of Service rule for the trucking industry was,” Graves said. “We support a good, well-structured, well thought out HOS rule because it levels the playing field. There’s nothing worse in this industry than for a company to be following the rules, taking care of their drivers, operating safely on the nation’s highways, then to have some yahoo taking advantage by not following the rule: cheating on hours of service, being involved in accidents—creating a black eye for our industry, making it difficult for us.” Graves added that he “almost feels

bad” for FMCSA, given the number of legal

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