Today’s Pickup: House Transportation & Infrastructure chairman Shuster to retire

 U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, has announced he will not seek re-election.

U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, has announced he will not seek re-election.

Good day,

While much of the focus yesterday was on the retirement of Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, another high-profile Republican also announced he is calling it quits. U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, announced he will step away from Congress at the end of his current term.

“Rather than focusing on a reelection campaign, I thought it wiser to spend my last year as chairman focusing 100 percent on working with President Trump and my Republican and Democratic colleagues in both Chambers to pass a much-needed infrastructure bill to rebuild America,” Shuster said in a statement.

By rule, Shuster would have had to step down from his chairmanship next year.

“On behalf of the nation’s trucking industry, including more than 3.5 million professional drivers, I want to thank Chairman Shuster for his service in the cause of improving and modernizing our transportation system,” said American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear. “Throughout his career, Chairman Shuster has been a champion for highway safety and the trucking industry, leading the charge for increased investment in the critical highway arteries that our trucks depend on to move the nation’s goods.”

Spear praised Shuster for his willingness to discuss and act upon industry issues.

“Chairman Shuster has proven time and again that Congress can still tackle important problems. During his tenure, his Committee has led the way on moving bills through the process to actual enactment, and the trucking and freight industry are stronger for his work,” Spear said. “As Congress and the President work to address our nation’s infrastructure this year, we intend to help Chairman Shuster cap an outstanding career leading the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.”

Did you know?

DAT said that load-to-truck ratios hit an all-time high in the van market as 12.2 loads per truck for the last week of 2017. Spot rates also increased, with vans up 2 cents to $2.11 per mile; reefer up 6 cents to $2.46 and flatbed rates unchanged at $2.33.

Quotable:

“Building any more production capacity is just questionable. These companies’ actions don’t align with what they’ve been saying about the state of the steel market.”

- Seth Rosenfeld, a Jefferies analyst, to the Wall Street Journal on U.S. steelmakers boosting production capacity

In other news:

Taxpayers group blasts USPS for cronyism

The director of policy for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance has blasted the USPS for cronyism and poor management practices that lead to improper shipping costs. (The Hill)

Oil boom taxing truck drivers

The increase in oil production is hitting road bumps in Texas where there is a shortage of truck drivers available to handle the surge. (USA Today)

U.S. steelmakers planning for a comeback

Even as foreign steel imports increase, U.S. steelmakers are betting on tariffs being implemented and boosting their investment in steel mills and production capabilities. (Wall Street Journal)

Air freight costs rising quickly

Air freight shopping costs have risen at their fastest rate since 2009, up 17% in November, according to WorldACD said. (Lloyd’s Loading List)

Many Happy Returns

A startup called Happy Returns is hoping to make money off e-commerce returns by providing central return locations and then shipping the goods back to online retailers as bundled packages, saving costs. (Supply Chain Brain)

Final Thoughts

The retirement of Bill Shuster (R-PA), who is chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, could increase the chances of a major infrastructure bill in 2018. Without concern for winning re-election, Shuster may be more willing to work across party lines – and has had already indicated he will – to seek a long-term funding solution.

Hammer down everyone!

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