The trucking industry employs more than 10 million people in the U.S. and brings in well over $600 billion in gross revenues every year, 5 percent of the U.S. GDP. The trucking industry is dominated by a few big companies, but there are thousands of small businesses and independent truckers out there earning a living as well. Trucking Industry Loan Programs The U.S. Dept. of Transportation and the Small Business Administration (SBA) both operate loan programs related to the trucking industry, and there are also other programs administered on the state and local level that receive federal funds. The goal of these programs is to support the U.S. trucking industry, help small businesses grow, and to assist in facilitating fuel economy and environmental initiatives. Fuel Economy and Pollution Control Incentives The largest government programs for the trucking industry from the 1970s to the 1990s are almost all related to fuel economy or pollution control incentives. And these programs have been very effective both in improving fuel economy and reducing pollution from trucks, and both the government and the trucking industry continue to cooperate with new programs including the recent federal SmartWay initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Technology, Homeland Security, Other Initiatives There have been a number of technological developments since 2000 regarding homeland security, border control, and the shipping of goods by trucks. Many of these developments are changes enabled by improved information technology, including the widespread use of GPS systems and shipping database systems, resulting in both greater security and faster transport times due to less delays. Programs like the “PrePass” system and the FAST cargo release system that began as government initiatives are rapidly becoming industry norms.
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