As January 21 quickly approaches, many truckers are waiting with bated breath to see if President-elect Trump will make any changes to the numerous — and often controversial — regulatory standards that will go into effect in the near future.
The most pressing of the issues is the electronic logging device mandate that has turned the industry on its ear. As Republicans take control of the House, Senate and presidency on that day, many have hope that change in the form of revised standards is on the horizon.
Throughout his campaign, Trump criticized the excess of regulatory burdens on business big and small. Although he didn't speak directly about the trucking industry, this message hit home with many who work in transportation. These upcoming regulations will impact business, many argue, in a very complicated and sometimes negative manner.
Despite the hopes of some, experts don't predict any massive changes to occur in 2017. The hot-button ELD ruling was mandated by Congress in 2012 with a Republican majority in the House. To change congressional action would be unlikely, especially with the same party in control.
What could change in the future? Lobbyists are likely to set their sights on phase 2 tractor-trailer emission regulations recently finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency. This mandate has not yet been approved by Congress, and it's likely there will be a push for further review and perhaps an extension of the 10-year implementation period.
One area that Trump specifically addressed on the campaign trail that could dramatically impact truckers is the need for repair and expansion of the nation's infrastructure. He made promises to invest billions into what he says is a "crumbling infrastructure" in order to support the growth of the economy. Of course a stronger highway system, repaired bridges and updated county roads would be great for truckers across the country.
The massive change he claims is necessary will take years to complete, but it will be interesting to see what action is set in motion for this and other concerns related to U.S. transportation. However, with eyes on major tax reform, the Affordable Care Act and the open Supreme Court seat, it's unlikely Trump will tackle industry-specific regulations such as the ELD mandate.