Arkansas Trucking Association

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Up Front- Echo

ShannonNewtonShannon Newton
President, ATA

The first few weeks of a new year, we’re all speaking our resolutions into the universe. We name what we care about, what we’re working on, the word that summarizes our aspirations, the problems we want to solve and the kind of people we want to be.

A lot of those visions and nice ideas will be abandoned by February.  But sometimes, we keep repeating them.  Bravely shouting into the void, “This still matters,” until our voices are hoarse.

In trucking, we’ve been resolving to address the workforce shortage and lack of safe, accessible truck parking for years. We talk about it regularly at meetings and over coffee. We pull up to roundtables and panels to share our experiences in hopes of compelling action. We tell researchers who literally publish a list of our top concerns that local and national media report to our audiences. We call on legislators in Arkansas or we get on an airplane and visit those in D.C. to tell them what we need to do our jobs better and safer.

We keep vocalizing what we are striving for. We make noise, because in some spaces—the angles, the distance, the textures--that noise is reflected.

And we hear echoes.

When the sound waves reflect off surfaces, it bounces back, repeating our message. And each bounce adds to the echo, finding new surfaces.

This year, we have had the opportunity to hear our resolutions echoed back in spaces where real change happens.

Last May, Lorie Tudor, director of the Arkansas Department of Transportation, State Sen. Reginald Murdock, Highway Commission Chairman Alec Farmer stood alongside me at the ribbon-cutting for a new truck parking facility along I-40 near West Memphis. Each repeated to the reporters in attendance what trucking has been saying for years--that truck parking is essential and required for a safe industry to operate in our state.

We’ve been vocal about the truck driver and technician shortage for even longer. During the 94th General Assembly, our policymakers did not just nod along when we spoke. The education laws that passed included the sounds of our message—that we need to expand access to scholarships and grants for young people who want to enter our field.

Just a few weeks ago, trucking’s interests were echoed in a House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee meeting. A group of Arkansas Trucking Association members had just visited Congressman Rick Crawford and discussed how trucking needs the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funds to be spent on traditional infrastructure like roads and bridges to reduce bottlenecks and strengthen the supply chain. We also asked for support and oversight of the DRIVE Safe Act pilot program to attract and train new drivers. Congressman Crawford repeated several key points from our conversation when he addressed the Highways and Transit subcommittee that he chairs.

So as we embark upon a new year of challenges and opportunities, I want to encourage you to keep speaking TRUCKING into your communities. The sound travels back, TRUCKING, TRUCKING, TRUCKING.

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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