ABA, UMA heads testify before Congress on bus safety reforms

Late last week Peter Pantuso, president and CEO of the American Bus Association (ABA), and United Motorcoach Association (UMA) President and CEO Victor Parra, has testified before the Committee on Natural Resources oversight hearing on “Harnessing American Resources to Create Jobs and Address Rising Gasoline Prices: Family Vacations and U.S. Tourism Industry.”

Peter Pantuso

Pantuso told members of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee that the ABA supports efforts in the House to improve motorcoach safety and specifically H.R. 7, which is incorporated into the House Transportation Bill. Parra testified on behalf of UMA and the National Tour Association (NTA) to give their perspectives on bus and motorcoach tourism, and how the current state of fuel costs is impacting group travel.

“On behalf of the United Motorcoach Association and the National Tour Association, it is my goal to provide the committee our perspectives on bus and motorcoach tourism, and how the current state of fuel costs impact group travel,” Parra said. “I can think of few segments of the economy that are impacted as significantly by the availability and cost of fuel and the impact they have on economic growth and job creation.”

Parra stressed the importance of the motorcoach and travel industry.

“Travel and tourism is one of only a few industries that possess a positive balance of trade,” Parra said. “In 2010, 55.7 million visitors from countries around the world arrived on our shores to visit the great destinations and attractions we offer. Travel and tourism supports 14 million jobs and $188.3 billion in wages, ranking number five in overall employment in the United States.”

Victor Parra

Mr. Pantuso was asked to testify as members of the Senate and House work to resolve their differences over separate motorcoach safety bills. The ABA’s input is considered critical as the ABA continues to work with lawmakers, government agencies and all other interested parties to improve the industry’s overall safety record, the design of motorcoaches and get illegal and unsafe companies off the road.

The ABA supports H.R.7, because we believe that legislation’s foundation is motorcoach safety and the industry’s desire to get safety right the first time.

“It is always an honor to be called before Congress to represent the nearly four thousand members of the American Bus Association on the critical issues of motorcoach safety,” Pantuso said. “We have worked hard with members of the House and Senate to bring together the best technical minds to solve these important questions. I know the members of the committee listened receptively to what the ABA membership has to say.