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February 24, 2014

TIA gives OTR dealers hope in 2014

Attendance at the 2014 Off-the-Road Tire Conference set a record.
Attendance at the 2014 Off-the-Road Tire Conference set a record.

There has never been a better time for the Tire Industry Association (TIA) to influence lawmakers. And Roy Littlefield is one of the reasons why.

Littlefield is not only executive vice president of TIA, but also president of the Small Business Legislative Council and treasurer of the Highway Users Alliance. At the 2014 Off-the-Road Tire Conference in Marco Island, Fla., last week, he told attendees what to expect on the legislative front this year.

At the federal level, TIA will take a stand on the following issues.

1. Health care. "Our job will be to make sure TIA members are represented in the upcoming discussions on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act," said Littlefield. TIA is offering a self-funded, group employee benefits solution to its members through an alliance with The Association Benefits Solution, a unit of National General Insurance.

2. National Energy Bill. "As part of the 2007 National Energy Bill, TIA supported language calling for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to oversee the development and implementation of a national consumer education program," he said. Although NHTSA has yet to respond on the consumer education component -- and the role TIA would play -- a public hearing on the implementation of the program is being held today, Feb. 24. Littlefield and Kevin Rohlwing, TIA's senior vice president of training, will testify, then meet privately with NHTSA officials to discuss its plans.

3. Federal Aid Highway Bill. Congress will again attempt to enact a five-year or more Federal Aid Highway Bill. The big question will be how the Highway Trust Fund is funded (Federal Excise Tax revenue accounts for less than 2% of the fund's receipts). TIA wants to eliminate the use of Highway Trust Fund revenue for non-highway purposes (Littlefield said it is apporaching 30%), and supports the bipartisan Partnership to Build America Act -- a creative effort to find new funding for roads, bridges and transit. "Without Congressional action, the Highway Trust Fund will run out of money by the end of August this year," said Littlefield.

"I believe that Congress will pass a highway bill in 2014, but I also believe that will not happen until after the November elections."

At the state level, TIA will be active with bills that address used tires, tire aging, retread restrictions, tax increases and minimum wage increases.

The 2015 OTR Tire Conference, sponsored by TIA, will be held in Tucson, Ariz., Feb. 18-21 at the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa.

For more information on the conference, check out this link:

"OTR tire forecast: Units will rise from ashes."

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