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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Senators speak out against bigger trucks


Three U.S. senators said yesterday that they will fight a proposal in Congress that would allow an increase in the length of twin-trailer trucks allowed on U.S. roadways.

At a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol, U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), announced their opposition to a federal mandate that would allow trucks to pull double 33-foot trailers — up from the current limit of 28 feet — on the nation's highways.

Earlier this year, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to the transportation funding bill requiring states to allow trucks with two 33-foot trailers on their highways. A tractor-trailer with two 33-foot trailers measures approximately 91 feet in total length.

"Thirty-eight states, including Mississippi, have considered this issue and have chosen not to allow these trucks on their roads," Wicker said in a press release. "Why should Washington, D.C., tell these states that we know better about safety decisions than they do at the local level?"

Other participants in the press conference included Jackie Gillan of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, James Hoffa of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and Dave Heller from the Truckload Carriers Association.

The Association of American Railroads also has expressed concern about proposed legislation that would allow longer, heavier trucks on U.S. highways.

Feinstein said the amendment was one of the worst in her lifetime of public service.

"How can Congress pass a law allowing trucks longer than 90 feet when we know that shorter trucks already kill thousands of Americans every year?" she said in a prepared statement.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/22/2015