Politician calls for more truck lobbying

Many Americans believe lobbyists play too great a role in politics. We’ve all heard the stories – and felt the impact - of pork placed at the end of lengthy bills just to satisfy some special interest.

The latest example is the powerful Teamsters and other pro-union lobbyists battling with anti-union lobbyists over the FAA Reauthorization bill before Congress. The House version of that bill, which covers the U.S. airline industry, includes a provision that would reclassify FedEx Express drivers, making it easier for them to unionize. FedEx has fought vigorously against the bill while UPS and the Teamsters have supported it.

chris-kelly.jpgThe Senate version of the bill does not include this language. The fight has gotten so contentious that FedEx Express, along with a number of lawmakers, are accusing UPS and the Teamsters of holding up the important FAA Reauthorization bill, which includes many safety initiatives needed in the airline industry.

Can we just imagine if there were more lobbyists involved? Well, however we may feel – positively or negatively – toward lobbyists here, across the pond the view of at least one politician is different.

Chris Kelly, a Conservative MP in the House of Commons, is calling on the trucking industry in England to more effectively lobby parliament.

In an interview with Commercial Motor excerpted on Roadtransport.com, Kelly, the son of the owner of Keltruck Limited, the largest independent Scania dealer in the UK, says the industry has not done enough to prevent gains made by rail and environmental lobbies.

“I really think that freight and road transport does not punch its weight,” he told Commercial Motor. “The industry must be more effective with its lobbying. It has always been an issue.”

While saying that he will do everything he can support pro-trucking legislation, he called on the industry to step up its efforts.

“I would like to see things like opinion-editorials in major national publications about how vital our industry is to the economy as a whole,” he said. “The anti-vehicle lobby has left us behind. There has been an anti-motoring agenda and when you challenge that you can expect a fight.”

Can anyone imagine Rep. James Oberstar standing up and encouraging more lobbying efforts these days? And we think the political process moves slowly sometimes now. Just think what it would be like if there were more special interests involved.

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