NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings on Feb. 27 sent an email to NATSO members regarding several blog and other online publications that reported on brief comments she made about truck parking during a panel discussion at NATSO Connect in Orlando, Fla.
During the NATSO Connect panel, Mullings asked trucking executive panelists to consider why there is no shortage of diesel fuel. The answer, she said, is simple: because consumers demand it and are willing to pay for it. These same principles of supply and demand apply to truck parking. Many trucking companies raise only the issue of diesel price when negotiating with a truckstop, however, and don’t ask about truck parking.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA)’s LandLine magazine attacked Mullings' comments in an online blog post. The writer did not attend NATSO Connect, but read about the remarks from another blogger.
Without seeking a reaction from NATSO or even verifying that what the writer read was accurate, LandLine characterized the remarks as “maddening” and “tone deaf,” inciting negative reactions from others within the trucking community.
In response to LandLine’s blog post, Mullings drafted a statement and asked LandLine to post in its entirety. Read the full statement here.
The blogger also suggested that rest area commercialization is part of the solution to the truck parking problem, but said NATSO doesn’t want the competition.
In her statement Mullings said, the "assertion that NATSO opposes commercialized rest areas because of fear of competition ignores reality. NATSO members compete head to head every single day with businesses right across the street. Just off the interstate you will find truckstops and fuel stops competing against one another, displaying large signs posting their fuel prices. Commercial rest areas stifle competition because they operate as monopolies purely by virtue of their location on the interstate right-of-way."
A study produced for the NATSO Foundation by Safety for the Long-Haul found 69 percent more commercial truck parking spaces per mile along interstate highways where the private sector caters to the needs of the traveling public free from government competition at commercial rest areas. This study highlights that commercial rest areas result in significantly fewer truck parking spaces and do not represent a viable means of expanding commercial truck parking capacity.
NATSO has attended numerous meetings about truck parking at every level of government and is a partner in the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Coalition on Truck Parking, as is OOIDA.
NATSO has offered many possible solutions to the issue of truck parking during these conversations. Chief among them is exploring ways to lower the private sector’s costs in creating or expanding truck parking capacity, such as through tax incentives or land acquisition and maintenance assistance.
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