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One Thousand Local Officials Deliver Letter to Congress Opposing Bigger Tractor-Trailers

| April 19, 2019

The federal government has recommended against increasing the size and weight of trucks

As Congress debates a way to fund this country’s deteriorating infrastructure, over 1,000 local government leaders — including mayors, county engineers and public works directors — sent a letter to Capitol Hill asking policymakers to oppose any increases in truck size or weight, including longer double-trailer trucks and heavier single-trailer trucks. And the letter arrives as Members have returned to their respective states and districts during the congressional recess, allowing them to talk to the signers of this letter.

“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,” said Commissioner Dick Hall, chairman of the Mississippi Transportation Commission, who joined in sending the letter. “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.”

Hall noted the additional costs that taxpayers will face to repair damaged roads and bridges. “Our state and local budgets can’t even afford basic services today,” he said. “We just don’t have the revenue to fund our local roads and bridges, and it’s been that way for years,” said Hall. “Bigger trucks would cause undue endangerments to our motorists while simultaneously breaking the backs of our local budgets.”

The letter is being delivered at the same time bigger-truck proponents continue to lobby federal and state legislators, as well as the Trump administration, to allow longer and heavier trucks on the road. Those companies leading coalitions are Anheuser-Busch lobbying Congress for heavier tractor-trailers, and Amazon, FedEx and UPS pushing Congress for longer double-trailer trucks.

The federal government has recommended against increasing the size and weight of trucks. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) studied truck size and weight laws over three years and in 2016 delivered its report to Congress, which  recommended against any such increases and did not recommend any pilot projects. The USDOT study found that thousands of Interstate and other National Highway System bridges would not be able to accommodate longer or heavier trucks, costing billions of dollars in additional bridge costs.

The joint letter states, “Millions of miles of truck traffic operate on local roads and bridges across the country, and any bigger trucks allowed on our Interstates would mean additional trucks that ultimately find their way onto our local infrastructure.”

Daniel J. Fedderly, executive director of the Wisconsin County Highway Association, emphasized the many negative impacts bigger trucks have on local infrastructure. “Bigger trucks undoubtedly end up on local roads to load and unload freight, and those roads take a beating,” Fedderly said. “Truck traffic needs to start and end primarily on local roads, for fuel, food and rest. The infrastructure damage costs triggered by those bigger trucks ends up being passed on to local taxpayers,” he continued. “That’s nothing short of an unfunded mandate on local government. We’re asking Congress to listen to their community leaders and infrastructure experts across the country by opposing all bigger-truck proposals.”

Shane Reese, director of communications for the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks, noted that the timing of the letter coincided with the congressional recess. “We believe delivering this letter while Members are home will give them time to talk or meet with their respective local leaders about the infrastructure concerns described in the letter,” Reese said. “The congressional recess also offers many staff on Capitol Hill more time to review infrastructure concerns back in states and districts, and these staff will be prepared to develop policy positions against bigger trucks for their bosses upon their return to Washington.”

In addition to the 1,000 community leaders opposed to bigger trucks, a poll conducted last year found strong public opposition to heavier and longer tractor-trailers.

Category: Driver Stuff, Featured, General Update, News

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