NATSO Kicks Off Annual Washington Fly-In

NATSO on May 14 kicks off its annual Washington fly-in, where truckstop and travel plaza owners and operators from across the country travel to Capitol Hill as part of the industry's annual advocacy event.

NATSO kicked off its annual Washington fly-in and Board meetings on May 14, with truckstop and travel plaza owners and operators from across the country traveling to the nation's capital as part of the industry's annual advocacy event.

With Congress laying the groundwork for infrastructure legislation, NATSO's meetings on Capitol Hill, scheduled for May 15, will focus almost exclusively on the need for Congress to maintain the longstanding prohibitions on commercial rest areas and tolling existing Interstate highways.

During the two-day event, NATSO members will hear from a series of speakers, beginning with Eva Rigamonti, an Associate with Steptoe & Johnson, who will discuss the various obligations and benefits associated with travel centers being permitted to redeem SNAP benefits in their convenience stores.

A noon lunch will feature guest Speaker Jim Ellis, a political analysts who will discuss the 2020 election and what to expect and look for as the race takes shape in the coming months.

NATSO will host two panels on the Future of Fuels and the Transportation Sector. NATSO will welcome Greg Cohen, President of the American Highway Users Alliance; Tim Lynch, Senior Director at Morgan Lewis, which represents independent drivers; and David Heller, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Truckload Carriers Association, to share the outlook for potential infrastructure legislation this year.

Representatives from the biofuels and electric charging industries, including Allison Cunningham of the Natural Gas Vehicles for America, John Fuhrer of Growth Energy, Michael McAdams of the Advanced Biofuels Association, and David Schatz of Charge Point will discuss how each of those industries sees its future and what legislative and regulatory hurdles lie ahead within the fuel space.

During their meetings with lawmakers, NATSO members will urge Congress to seek long-term, sustainable solutions to infrastructure funding and reject funding proposals that would harm off-highway businesses, communities and the traveling public.

Specifically, NATSO supports increasing the motor fuels taxes, which haven’t been increased in more than 25 years, as a means of increasing critical infrastructure revenues. NATSO opposes short-sighted proposals such as tolling existing interstates and commercializing rest areas.

Advocates also will ask their elected officials to extend the biodiesel tax credit, which expired at the end of 2016. 

NATSO will conclude its Day on Capitol Hill May 15 with its annual Pie Reception for Members of Congress and their staff. Elected officials and their staff will enjoy nearly 200 made-from-scratch pies, donated by TravelCenters of America and DAS Companies. Pies also were sponsored by S&D Coffee and Federated Insurance. Sponsors also include ME Gaming.

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