This year’s Bus & Motorcoach Industry Fly-In featured the industry by the numbers
Washington, D.C.—Exercising 1st Amendment Rights was certainly on everyone’s minds as the industry gathered for the Bus & Motorcoach Industry Fly-In on April 2-3. Nearly all state and regional association field representatives were there, along with the Asian American Motorcoach Association and the National Association of Motorcoach Operators.
As Congress prepares to undertake infrastructure and the upcoming surface transportation reauthorization, this Fly-In was the perfect opportunity to inform our federal legislators on the role our industry plays in the nation’s economy. You may be surprised to learn your congressperson may think you somehow are associated with campers. To make sure Congress is informed, the group shared some impressive statistics.
By the numbers
Currently, nearly 3,000 companies operate 34,885 motorcoaches in the U.S. and directly employ more than 112,000. The industry conducts 596.4 million passenger trips over 69.6 billion passenger miles and road miles annually. Highlighting the small business nature of the industry, nearly 82 percent of the industry operates nine or fewer motorcoaches, while 22 (.07 percent) motor carriers operate 100 or more. A lot of small, often family-owned companies are the backbone of the industry, providing safe and affordable travel to jobs, education, healthcare and tourism.
Citing a study by the Union of Concerned Scientists, the industry is the “carbon champ” with the smallest carbon footprint of any transportation mode, providing a whopping 239.8 passenger miles per gallon of fuel. The typical motorcoach removes 36 cars from the road.
…and we’re safe!
We could not leave out safety. While the latest statistics show 37,133 fatalities on our nation’s highways and roadways, the motorcoach industry averages 18 occupant fatalities annually.
On the top of everyone’s minds there—and continuing—is the possibility we may lose the industry’s partial fuel-tax exemption. Many of you will recall that Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), former Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, recommended that the current 17-cents exemption be eliminated along with a 20-cents increase. At stake is the difference between 7.4-cents per gallon of diesel and 44.4-cents per gallon. A recent industry survey revealed the average UMA member receives $96,252 in fuel tax refunds.
The group made the case that the rationale for implementing the original fuel tax exemption in the late 1970s is even more relevant today, particularly when you consider the essential role the industry plays in providing essential transportation. Indeed, the group advocated for a return to a full fuel tax exemption.
Thanks to some hardworking industry volunteers, we have a much-improved foundation as we begin to assert the industry’s policy positions in the aforementioned infrastructure and highway reauthorization bills. The executive and legislative branches are beginning to look for common ground. While we know you have a business to run, you also have business to protect. Watch your email and Bus & Motorcoach News for alerts. Occasionally, we need some enforcement in the form of letter writing from the home districts.
This year’s Bus & Motorcoach Industry Fly-In reinforces the industry’s offensive position and definitely receives the green light. Many thanks to everyone who participated and a special thanks to those that kept an eye on the business back home that made it possible for so many to travel to Washington, D.C.
If you would like a PDF of the brochure the volunteers gave congressional representatives that highlight the scope of the industry as well as the sources, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.