NEBRASKA TRUCKING ASSOCIATION ASKS QUESTIONS - VAN RESPONDS
Date: Tuesday, April 06 @ 12:55:57 CDT
If you are a Republican, you will see the name "Bob Van Valkenburg" as a candidate for election to the 1st Congressional District seat being vacated after nearly a quarter of a century by Doug Bereuter. The Nebraska Trucking Association members will find all or part of "Van's Plans" associated with that industry in one of their trade magazines. Since that periodical only reaches a portion of the voters in the congressional district, my responses are presented here for "the rest of the folks."
1. How would you work to lessen the influence of government over our business?
Response: Washington bureaucrats have, year after year, created more and more "make-work" red-tape through unneeded "compliance" regulations and "reporting" rules promulgated under federal law. Every facet of business, industry, and transportation has become so burdened with governmental interference its going to take persons in the Congress with substantial courage to reverse these trends. The first and perhaps most important step in dealing with the problems caused by "the influence of government" in the trucking industry is to establish ongoing communications with competent representatives of the industry and solicit their help in identifying problem areas and formulating solutions to such. It only makes sense to rely upon the judgments of the "experts."
Since both state and federal government's laws rules and regulations are involved in both inter and intra state transportation, I would most certainly work to minimize and harmonize all of such in order to simplify compliance and record keeping. More simply put, I would work to move the greatest portion of the regulatory functions back to the separate states from the federal domain and concurrently work with industry leaders to standardize the laws, rules and regulations between the states. An example would be having tractors and trailers registered (licensed) in only the state where the individual owners or business owners "reside" and have such registration be recognized in all other states where the vehicles operate. I would use my congressional office to promote such cooperation between the separate states.
2. What is your view of establishing tolling on existing interstate highways?
Response: Interstate highways are not only a critical part of commerce in our country but a significant part of the infrastructure associated with emergency preparedness. Thus, the cost of building of our nations interstate highways should be primarily supported by federal income tax dollars, with tax on motor fuels being minimal. Tolling on already existing highways would be foolish at best and thus, should be avoided. Tolling on, for instance, new bridges, might be acceptable to expedite retirement of construction debt, but ongoing "tolling", in my opinion, would be inappropriate.
3. What would be your plan for making the U.S. less dependant on foreign oil?
Response: U.S. Dependence on foreign oil has negatively impacted U.S. foreign relations policies, the macro economy and the continued development of infrastructure since the early 1950s. Reducing dependency upon foreign oil can and should be accomplished by taking a three-pronged approach.
Initially, the U.S. must develop domestic oil fields including those in and about Alaska in order to sustain current consumption and rebuild critical reserves, while giving incentives and time to industry and transportation to move in the direction of developing alternative energy sources such as soy-diesel fuel and gasohol. Setting a 15-year limit on opening new domestic oil fields - with reasonable environments checks - will maintain a healthy economic climate for transportation and industry while creating political pressure in our country for the development of additional fuel sources. Exploitation of naturally occurring methane pockets in the ocean floor should be tapped and utilized primarily to reduce "non-transportation" fuel usages.
During the 15-year period, the United States must strive to reduce the amount of foreign petroleum imported from volatile areas like Venezuela and the Middle East, shifting to sources from relatively stable areas like Southwest Asia, Russia and the Gulf of Guinea. This will reduce costs by putting OPEC in a position of being forced to compete. The goal would be to smash the strangle hold now held by the cartel on our country. The additional benefit of helping developing countries through building healthy economic relationships with such would tend to further stabilize these regions and continue to push prices down.
Finally, various incentives for industries to develop alternative fuel sources including hydrogen fuel cells, wind and solar generation and biomass should be employed. Stiffer requirements on fuel efficiency standards in new vehicle construction and the development of lighter materials for automobile and truck construction would also aid in the promotion of better stewardship of existing conventional fuel supplies to buy time for discovery and development of new sources of energy.