World Tire Expo, deficit, "Check-Off" program top agenda at TIA board meeting

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"We have a very, very aggressive agenda right now," Tire Industry Association (TIA) Executive Vice President Roy Littlefield has told

TIA's board discussed several key topics at a meeting in Monterey, Calif., last week. They include:

1. The next World Tire Expo, which will be held April 20-22, 2005, in Louisville, Ky., at the Kentucky International Convention Center.

"There's a lot of enthusiasm for it," says Littlefield;

2. TIA's deficit, which is "significant," though he would not disclose specific numbers. "A lot of that" is due to the merger of the old Tire Association of North America and the International Tire & Rubber Association, which was finalized last summer. "We also had to take $339,000 out of (TIA's Educational) Foundation" for the association's ATS passenger and light truck tire training program that will be unveiled this July;

3. a tire industry "Check-Off" program under the auspices of the Department of Transportation in which a monetary amount from each passenger and light truck tire sold in the United States would be funneled into a slush fund that the tire industry would use for educational, public relations and other activities.

TIA is proposing 50-cents per tire as part of a plan that will be submitted in Washington D.C. through the Rubber Manufacturers Association in early June.

"Congress has approved more than 60 of these (programs) since the early 1980s" for industries like oil, dairy and others.

The tire industry's "Check-Off" program would be governed by a board of directors including tiremakers and other entities, according to Littlefield.

TIA's board members also decided to consolidate the association's six monthly publications into a single publication, Today's Tire Industry, that will come out every other month, starting July 1, 2003. "For cost savings, it'll be a good move."

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