Arkansas Trucking Association

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The Last Word

Game On

By Al Heringer, IV

Almost 25 years ago, my family expanded our business offerings to include a petroleum-hauling common carrier operation under the name of Star Transportation. After I graduated from college, I joined the business which at the time had only six trucks. Running a trucking company hadn’t been part of the plan I had for myself. Like most people who play high school and college sports, I thought I was headed to the pros – specifically, the NFL. But I found my path redirected in ways I couldn’t have imagined when I hung up my cleats for the last time.

I have a similar feeling when I think of how differently the trucking industry looks a quarter-century later.

The overall image of trucking has improved, and we all share credit for these improvements – from the work done to promote the professionalism of trucking; the efforts of our drivers and front-line employees to positively and safely engage with the motoring public; and the stepped-up work by company owners and leaders to be a voice for trucking in the communities in which we live and work.

That voice carries over to the regulatory and legislative arenas. It starts by showing up, and it endures through engaging with our elected and appointed officials. They need to continue hearing from us. And we’re most effective when we’re speaking with one voice.

Finding unity among truckers is often a challenge. Issues that directly affect my company may not impact a flatbed or LTL carrier – and vice versa. While standing up for the good of the collective industry is not always easy, we are better for those efforts. That challenge has been highlighted over the past few years with much debate, legislation, promulgation and, finally, implementation of the electronic logging device mandate. It has driven changes to how many companies structure their routes, rates and driver pay, to name a few. Not everyone reading this will agree that those changes – and the mandate itself – are best for the industry, but I’ll stand in favor of improved compliance, efficiency, and ultimately, safer highways.

Today, approaching the one year mark of my term as chairman of the Arkansas Trucking Association Board of Directors, it’s worth noting that our Board has been unified in support of what would eventually become the ELD mandate going as far back as 1999.

One thing that has not and will not change is the need for continued investment in our state’s and nation’s infrastructure. And yet, the federal fuel tax hasn’t been increased since before my family starting our trucking business. At the state level, Arkansas hasn’t increased its fuel tax in almost 15 years. Meeting basic maintenance demands as well as expanding and creating new roads and bridges is essential to the safe and efficient movement of goods, and it’s a critical government function that should not be abdicated to for-profit entities. While the appetite to anything resembling a tax increase is low among legislators, I’m proud that President Trump recently offered his support for an increase that would fund much needed infrastructure improvements.

ATA’s Board of Directors, with representation from carriers of all sizes and types, believes an increase to fuel taxes is the most appropriate and reasonable source of revenue for highway improvements.

This issue, though, needs to have all of our attention. Trucking needs to speak in a strong and unified voice in the halls of the Capitol – in both Little Rock and Washington, D.C. We also need to talk with our employees, so they’re educated on the topic and can amplify our message. And we need to speak up in our local chambers of commerce and civic organizations so other business leaders can understand our position and hopefully offer their own support.

Whether on infrastructure or countless other issues, our unified voice has strength to make our communities better. After a quarter-century of trucking and nearly-10 years of service on ATA’s Board of Directors, I get up every day ready to get in the game. I hope you’ll join me on the field.

Al Heringer, IV is the vice president of Star Transportation, LLC and chairman of the Board for the Arkansas Trucking Association.

Contact Us

Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Suite 185
Little Rock, AR 72201

(501) 372-3462 | Phone
(501) 376-1810 | Fax

Our Mission

  • PROTECT the collective interests of trucking companies in the political and regulatory arenas.
  • PROMOTE the dynamics of trucking so that people have a better understanding of the link between America's primary freight delivery system and the standard of living they enjoy.
  • SERVE our members to help them to grow their business and their profits
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