More than 1,000 local officials urge Congress to oppose bigger trucks

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 4/18/2019

With discussions of increasing truck size and weight revived, voices of opposition are getting louder. On Thursday, April 18, more than 1,000 local government leaders sent a letter to Congress opposing bigger tractor-trailers.

Seeking to prevent any legislation that will increase truck size or weight, including longer double-trailer trucks and heavier single-trailer trucks, a coalition composed of mayors, county engineers and public works directors sent a letter to Congress expressing their opposition.

The letter itself is only one page, but the group sent a 48-page document, with the other 47 pages containing nothing but two columns of signatures from a variety of local government officials.

Within the letter titled “Bigger Trucks: Bad for America’s Local Communities,” the group points out that the price tag for infrastructure repairs in their respective communities is already too high, and bigger trucks will only worsen the problem.

“Much of our transportation infrastructure that connects people to jobs, schools and leisure is in disrepair, in part because local and rural roads and bridges are older and not built to the same standards as interstates,” the letter states. “Many of us are unable to keep up with our current maintenance schedules and replacement costs because of underfunded budgets.”

The letter claims that longer and heavier trucks will cause significantly more damage to the infrastructure, costing billions of dollars that local governments do not have.

Although the letter is short and not very detailed, the real impact comes from the number of signatures. To see the letter, including signatures, click here.

“Maintaining commonsense regulations with current truck sizes and weight laws while opposing longer and heavier trucks has never been more critical for our local communities and state-maintained infrastructure,” Commissioner Dick Hall said in a statement. He is chairman of the Mississippi Transportation Commission. “I expect this unified message from various local government officials to have an impact on policymakers. This is a critical time for members to discuss the issue with their local officials.”

The letter comes approximately two months after Americans for Modern Transportation wrote a letter to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure urging lawmakers to allow twin 33s, or double 33-foot trailers. The coalition includes large corporations such as Amazon, FedEx, UPS and XPO.

The coalition claims that a size increase for trailers will have several benefits but at no cost to taxpayers, including reduced congestion, improved safety, economic benefits, longer life cycle for roads/bridges and environmental gains.

Shortly after, another coalition, which includes the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, sent a letter urging Congress to oppose any such legislation.

That coalition pointed 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. U.S. DOT found that heavier and longer trucks would add billions of dollars in infrastructure costs.

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