OOIDA and other groups urge Congress to oppose longer trailers

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 2/25/2019

Two weeks after a coalition of some of the largest shippers and receivers urged lawmakers to allow twin 33-foot trailers, another coalition, which includes the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, sent a letter urging Congress to oppose any such legislation.

On Feb. 21, a coalition of more than a dozen stakeholders, including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, sent a letter to Congress regarding size and weight of trucks. As Congress considers a new infrastructure bill, the coalition urges lawmakers to oppose any legislation that would increase maximum truck size or weight limits on federal highways.

“Any change overturning current federal weight laws allowing heavier or longer tractor-trailers would have detrimental impacts on our national, county and local infrastructure, costing billions of dollars in additional bridge and pavement costs,” the coalition wrote in the letter.

In addition to opposing size and weight increases on federal highways, the coalition also urges Congress to oppose legislation that would allow larger trucks in individual states, including pilot programs.

Supporting its position, the coalition points out that similar proposals in recent years “have been resoundingly rejected on bipartisan floor votes.” Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation published a final report to Congress in 2016 regarding truck size and weight limits that recommended no changes be made. USDOT found that heavier and longer trucks would add billions of dollars in infrastructure costs.

The group noted that allowing twin 33 trailers on federal highways would consequently put them on local roads and bridges.

“Increases in truck size and weight would have especially severe consequences for local roads and bridges because bigger trucks are not limited to the interstates. These heavier and longer trucks need to run on state and local roads to pick up and drop off their freight, as well as for ‘reasonable access’ for fuel, food and other necessities,” the letter states.

The group mentions that local roads and bridges face significant damage since they can be older, built to lower standards or already in poor condition. With states already struggling to find funding for infrastructure needs, twin 33 trailers will further add to the problem.

The coalition is made up of the following groups:

  • American Public Works Association.
  • National Association of County Engineers.
  • National Association of Towns and Townships.
  • National League of Cities.
  • Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.
  • Road Safe America.
  • Association of American Railroads.
  • American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.
  • GoRail.
  • National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association.
  • Railway Supply Institute.
  • Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association.
  • Coalition Against Bigger Trucks.

The letter counters another one sent by Americans for Modern Transportation on Feb. 6. In that letter, the group, which includes such companies as Amazon, FedEx, UPS and XPO Logistics, encouraged the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to consider legislation that will allow a 5-foot increase to twin 28-foot trailers.

 

 

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