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5/22/2003



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Coalition backs 'safe highways' bill; railroads turn to legislation to regain business 'lost to trucks,' ATA says


On May 21, Coalition Against Bigger Trucks L.L.C. (CABT) held a press conference to encourage Congress to pass the Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act (SHIPA).


The bill would freeze truck length at 53 feet and truck weight at 80,000 pounds, and "save $326 billion in infrastructure costs over 20 years," according to CABT, a lobbying group that "opposes efforts at all levels of government to make trucks longer and heavier."


American Trucking Associations (ATA), which opposes the bill, referred to CABT as a "railroad-front group" in a statement released May 22.


"SHIPA is simply a railroad-backed effort to legislate a greater share of the freight transportation market for the railroad industry," said ATA President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Graves. "We shouldn't be surprised that such a monopolistic industry would turn to Congress to regain the business that they have lost to trucks."


The bill "drives a wedge" between the two transportation modes, and will slow production and increase regulation, ATA believes.


"In this intermodal age where the success of our economy and the transportation system depends on the ability of each mode to operate as efficiently and seamlessly as possible, the atmosphere CABT and the railroads are creating is counterproductive," said Graves.


ATA encourages "a constructive debate" on transportation efficiencies and productivity between truckers and railroads.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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