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Coalition Urges Congress to Act on Truck Weight Reform

Jul 15, 2015

The Coalition for Transportation Productivity, of which IDFA is a member, called on Congress last week to review the technical findings of a recent U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) study and take steps to reform Interstate vehicle weight limits for six-axle trucks.

The coalition, a group of nearly 200 manufacturers, shippers, carriers and allied associations, sent a letter to members of Congress, along with a one-pager highlighting key findings from the DOT’s Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Limits Study that was released in June.

The findings demonstrate that heavier, six-axle trucks at 91,000 and 97,000 pounds are safe and can lower congestion, fuel and pavement costs, and carbon and other emissions. They also note that vehicle stability and control are virtually the same as with smaller and lighter trucks at 80,000 pounds. However, the agency ultimately said it had insufficient information to recommended making any changes in truck size and weight regulations.

“The actual study data provides strong support for allowing trucks equipped with six axles to carry more freight on Interstate System highways,” the coalition said. “While the Administration could not find a political path to support truck weight reform, we urge members of Congress to review the study findings for themselves and allow carefully crafted reforms in vehicle weight regulation to move forward.”

The Coalition for Transportation Productivity supports giving each state the option to set Interstate weight limits above 80,000 pounds if the truck is equipped with  six axles rather than the typical five. Because one-quarter of U.S. truck shipments meet the current Interstate weight limit with empty space left in the trailer or tanker, this proposal would allow companies to meet demand with fewer vehicles on the roads and make their transportation network more efficient.  

Read CTP’s letter to Congress and paper on the DOT data.

In the short-term, legislators will need to take action before August to keep the highway trust fund solvent. The U.S. Senate will consider this week some sort of extension of current law, which could be as short as a few months and as long as 18 months. Congress continues to look for policy reform and potential funding for a long-term highway funding package.

For more information, contact Chelsee Woodey, IDFA director of legislative affairs, at cwoodey@idfa.org.

 
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