Public input a priority in federal truck size and weight study

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 4/8/2013

Truckers will get multiple opportunities to weigh in, so to speak, on the effects of truck size and weight on the nation’s infrastructure, highway safety and efficiency as part of a congressionally mandated study by the Federal Highway Administration. The FHWA recently selected a firm to collect and analyze data and plans to solicit comments.

The FHWA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, has awarded a $2.3 million contract to CDM Smith to assist with the Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Limits study mandated in the current highway law MAP-21, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century.

“The contractor team is well qualified to collect the data, and the study will analyze numerous issues related to truck size and weight limits to support DOT’s report to Congress required under (MAP-21),” the FHWA said in a statement.

Congress agreed to study the issue rather than increase truck sizes and weights to 97,000 pounds on six axles as large carrier and shipper groups have pushed.

OOIDA fought hard against the increase on issues of highway safety and increased wear and tear on highways and bridges.

The Association supports the current freeze of 80,000 pounds on five axles. The Association anticipates a strong turnout during the public comment period.

“OOIDA and small-business truckers are anxious to take part in the study through the public participation process,” said Ryan Bowley, director of legislative affairs for the Association.

The FHWA anticipates more than one opportunity for the public to comment.

“FHWA plans to give the public multiple opportunities to comment throughout the process, and the report will be independently peer reviewed before it is finalized next fall,” the agency said.

“This effort will ensure that DOT produces a report that is objective, data-driven, inclusive, and comprehensive.”

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