A new President in the White House usually means a new direction for the country, new faces in key government positions and changing circumstances for industries and consumers. So, what impact is President-Elect Trump expected to have on the trucking industry? Here are a few of the main possibilities.
Infrastructure – Trump has made it clear that he is committed to improving our country’s infrastructure. Our highways and bridges are expected to receive some much needed attention. The new Commander-in-Chief also stated that he doesn’t plan to increase the deficit to pay for such projects. It is expected that these projects will either be funded with tolls or by raising fuel taxes. It could certainly end up being a combination of the two. Either way, this will result in better traveling conditions for trucks and an increase in expenses.
Trade – The President-elect has indicated that he wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), pull out of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement and institute other trade policies that focus on America first. There is the potential that these policy changes could possibly upset foreign trade partners and even start a trade war. A trade war would most likely cause a recession and have a major impact on the trucking industry.
Energy – Our incoming President supports increasing domestic oil production. Doing so would create increased demand for trucking while decreasing fuel prices. Both of these results would have a positive effect on trucking.
Industry regulations – The American Trucking Association (ATA), and other industry associations, have started meeting and communicating with our incoming president’s transition team to highlight their priorities and concerns about trucking regulations. Some of these regulatory issues are Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), Hours of Service (HOS), speed-limiter mandates, new emissions regulations and the overall increasing regulation of the trucking industry.
Some industry experts feel that regulations put in place by a Republican-dominated Congress, like the ELD mandate, will not be reversed. They indicate that rules and regulations initiated outside of Congress, or those that have not been finalized, have a better chance of being stalled or stopped. This is especially true since the new administration will have more pressing matters to attend to initially and will be focused on issues that can be resolved more quickly. Assuming Elaine Chao is confirmed as DOT Secretary, there is hope for those wishing for relief from regulation of the trucking industry since she has a history of deregulation.
There is still so much that we are yet to learn regarding Trump’s plans and strategies. What we do know, is regardless of how his term unfolds, the trucking industry will certainly feel its effects.