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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Heavy-truck amendment defeated in House


A proposed congressional measure to allow heavier trucks to operate on the nation's highways was rejected in the House yesterday, according to The Hill.

Offered as an amendment to the long-term surface transportation bill now circulating in the House, the proposal would have allowed states to increase the current weight limit for a tractor-trailer from 80,000 pounds to 91,000 pounds.

The measure was strongly opposed by the railroad industry, which said allowing the heavier trucks would damage U.S. highway infrastructure and create safety concerns.

"The added truck weight will further destroy precious national infrastructure and cost taxpayers dearly," said Association of American Railroads President and Chief Executive Officer Edward Hamberger in a press release issued before the amendment was rejected. "Allowing trucks to be 14 percent heavier would be a fundamental change to national policy."

The AAR cited a U.S. Department of Transportation study released in June that found the added stress of bigger trucks would require engineering, repair work or replacement of nearly 5,000 bridges.

"At a time when federal spending on infrastructure is essential, this proposal would create a massive additional cost borne by the U.S. taxpayer, a cost that is entirely avoidable," Hamberger said.

AAR officials noted that many trucking companies, business trade groups, highway safety organizations, citizens' groups and the Truckload Carriers Association opposed the measure.

Supporters of the truck-weight amendment included more than 70 food and agriculture associations.

The truck-weight measure was one of about 280 amendments to the $325 billion surface transportation bill. House members began voting on the amendments yesterday.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/4/2015