Saturday, December 17, 2005

Brummett on the truckers

John Brummett is certainly one of Arkansas' finest political writers and his column today does well to flesh out the curious circumstance in which the Arkansas Truckers Association opposed a highway program.

Readers of my weekly column in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette got a much more superficial analysis before the election. On November 21, I addressed this matter.

There is a theory about why the Arkansas Trucking Association did an about-face on the highway bond program. Truckers had given Governor Huckabee assurances of support, but later backed off. The essence of it has to do with an old grudge against the constitutionally independent Highway Commission. Some have suggested that the truckers are afraid that, given this seemingly permanent source of income, the Commission will become even more powerful. Now the trucking lobby is not as formidable as the nursing home moguls, but they are pretty darned stout. The ATA thinks it would fare better pushing around a bunch of rookie lawmakers than a seasoned corps of transportation professionals. Go figure.

I came back to this same subject on November 28.

The Arkansas Trucking Association plans to use this election as a referendum on the constitutionally independent Highway and Transportation Department. This is the first skirmish in an all out war to repeal the Mack Blackwell Amendment, which voters enacted 50 years ago to protect themselves from the likes of these powerful special interest groups.

I have a strong hunch that the truckers have a definite plan and a time line for bringing up the necessary amendment to repeal Mack-Blackwell.

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