Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Case for heavier trucks gets support from the White House

image

Maine voters first elected Susan M. Collins to represent them in the United States Senate in 1996. She was reelected in 2002 and 2008. She has earned a national reputation as a thoughtful, effective legislator, who works across party lines to seek consensus on our nation’s most important issues. Senator Collins is the 15th woman in history to be elected to the Senate in her own right.

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
September 22, 2010

The battle for increasing truck size and weights received a shot of good news, when the White House last week has agreed to a request from Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, to permanently enact a pilot program allowing trucks weighing up to 100,000 pounds to travel on federal interstate highways in Maine.

This provision is part of the White House’s proposed Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Resolution.

Prior to this development, a one-year pilot program that allowed trucks weighing up to 100,000 pounds to travel on Main and Vermont’s federal interstates, which was part of the Fiscal Year 2010 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, has been ongoing and set to expire on December 17. Once the program expired, heavy trucks would then have to be diverted back to secondary roads through downtown areas.

Last week Collins and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) penned a letter to the leadership of the Senate Appropriations Committee, pleading their full support to make the pilot programs permanent and allow “trucks complying with Maine and Vermont’s weight and safety laws to travel on interstate highways in our two states.”

They added that while current federal law restricts trucks weighing more than 80,000 pounds exemptions have been granted to some states, including New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New York.

“For too long, Maine and Vermont have been at a competitive disadvantage, while our next-door neighbors have enjoyed the economic benefits that come with higher highway truck limits,” wrote the Senators.

American Trucking Associations (ATA) officials told LM the pilot program was very popular in both Maine and Vermont, because they were very effective. The ATA added these programs did not have an adverse effect on safety and really helped to improve interstate commerce because neighboring states already had higher truck weight regulations in place.

Even though this is a big step for increasing truck weights, it has also been met with opposition, too. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said earlier this year she did not support Maine’s pilot program.

And Massachusetts Representative James McGovern told LM last year that longer and heavier trucks are not the answer to operational improvements and congestion reduction.  What’s more, he introduced legislation with Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) that would have expanded the current weight limits of commercial trucks on the 161,000 mile highway system. McGovern was firm in his assessment that longer and heavier trucks are not the answer to operational improvements and congestion reduction.

“The idea of putting a ‘mini-train’ on the road is insane,” McGovern said. “To me, it is just not the way to go. I am not against the trucking industry; we need a robust trucking industry. But we don’t need heavier and longer trucks. It destroys our infrastructure and is more costly and more dangerous. We know that bigger and heavier trucks do not mean fewer trucks on the road, and we know it is not as safe. And the heavier trucks are means more wear and tear on our roads, so why are we going in that direction?”

This sentiment is shared by The Coalition Against Bigger Trucks (CABT). CABT officials said that this increasing truck weights would undermine investment in the country’s roads and rails.

And they pointed to various federal studies that cite how heavier trucks dramatically increase damage to roads and bridges, citing a statistic from the Federal Highway Administration that noted nearly one-quarter U.S. bridges are rated “structurally deficient” or “functionally obsolete.” The cost of repairing U.S. bridges, said CABT, is $188 million in 2006 dollars—which does not include the increased cost associated with greater damage from heavier trucks.

“If the Administration is serious about addressing the nation’s infrastructure problems, it cannot support allowing bigger trucks on highways,” said Curtis Sloan, policy director for CABT, in a statement.

Earlier this year, a group of three bipartisan senators—Maine’s Collins, Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Heb Kohl, D-Wis.—introduced a bill called the “Safe and Efficient Transportation Act (SETA) of 2010.

This bill would allow states to end run the federal size and weight rules—currently 80,000 pounds over five axles—and authorizes the operation of longer and heavier trucks. An identical bill, H.R. 1799, already has more than 50 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

The advent of e-commerce continues to grow and gain increased traction over time. The many ways for consumers to order and purchase goods online continues to expand and leads to various subsequent byproducts of online purchases, including shopping through multiple channels, and delivery and payment options, among other things. These types of topics serve as the thesis in the second annual UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper Global Study issued this week by UPS and comScore Inc.

A major highlight of CEVA’s fourth quarter performance was its new business wins, which were up 14 percent for all of 2014, with Freight Management wins up 14 percent, and Ocean Freight and Air Freight wins up 30 percent and 14 percent, respectively, while Contract Logistics wins were up 2 percent.

When an industry is changing rapidly, companies must adapt in order to survive. In this whitepaper, a global publisher was seeking a partner that could mitigate risk and build a platform flexible enough for their shifting customer expectations. The solution enabled the company to rewrite their operations game plan and transform their supply chain.

Global trade management technology provider Amber Road (formerly known as Management Dynamics) said this week it has acquired ecVision, a cloud-based provider of global sourcing and collaborative supply chain solutions.

While it is already reaping myriad benefits from ORION (On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation), a proprietary routing platform for its drivers rolled out in late 2013, transportation and logistics bellwether UPS announced big plans for the technology this week.

Article Topics

News · Trucks · White House · Susan Collins · All topics

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA