Local roads not equipped for longer-heavier trucks, lawmakers tell Foxx

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 8/9/2013

Forty-five members of Congress addressed a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx this week to express concerns about how potential increases to truck size and weight could affect local roads, bridges and intersections all across America.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is currently studying truck size and weight as required in the current highway bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century. Congress commissioned the study to focus on safety concerns, road and bridge infrastructure, fuel consumption, the economy and freight patterns.

“As the Department determines which road networks to evaluate in its study, we encourage you to consider the impacts alternative configurations would have on local roads and bridges,” the lawmakers wrote to Foxx on Wednesday, Aug. 7.

“Many state and local budgets are already unable to keep pace with existing infrastructure needs,” the lawmakers wrote. “We are concerned that heavier or longer trucks could divert significant amounts of freight to highways, resulting in an increase in heavy truck traffic and increased costs to states and localities.”

OOIDA supports the current freeze on truck sizes and weights at 80,000 pounds on five axles on the national system and opposes efforts by large shipping companies and the American Trucking Associations to increase size and weight as a norm.

“The off-interstate impact of heavier and longer vehicles has been an issue that OOIDA and truckers have raised numerous times including during the lead-up to MAP-21,” OOIDA Director of Legislative Affairs Ryan Bowley said.

Since MAP-21 is a two-year law passed in 2012, Congress will soon be faced with another authorization bill to replace it. That likely means another battle over truck size and weight, Bowley says.

“Truckers today still encounter many local roads and intersections that have not been reconstructed to even handle 53-foot trailers,” Bowley said. “Truckers know firsthand how bigger and heavier trucks will have an impact on roads that are not even built around an 80,000-pound truck configuration, much less a truck weighing 97,000 pounds or more.”

Click here to read the letter from lawmakers and to see who signed it.

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