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The 2016 spending package unveiled by the House Appropriations Committee yesterday strips the package of a proposal that would have increased the length of double-trailer trucks from 28 feet to 33 feet.
An earlier version of the bill included a measure to allow the longer trucks, which had been advocated by the trucking industry. The railroad industry has opposed efforts to change federal law that would allow heavier or longer trucks to travel on the nation's highways.
"The Truck Safety Coalition worked closely with a coalition of survivors and families of truck crash victims, law enforcement, first responders, truck drivers, trucking companies, and safety advocacy groups to have 33-foot double tractor-trailers removed from the legislation. We hope to continue working with these groups to address missed opportunities to improve truck safety going forward," said John Lannen, the coalition's executive director , in a prepared statement.
The trucking industry has argued in favor of allowing the longer trucks to help address what it considers constraints in the movement of cargo on the nation's highway system.
"Congress missed an opportunity to bring long overdue efficiencies to freight trucking that would have produced tangible safety, economic and environmental benefits at a time when so many roads and bridges have fallen into disrepair after years of neglect," Coalition for Efficient and Responsible Trucking (CERT) spokesman Ed Patru said in a prepared statement.
"We're disheartened that Congress has passed up a huge opportunity to improve highway safety and trucking’s efficiency by removing language that would have allowed twin 33s on U.S. highways," said American Trucking Associations Chairman Pat Thomas, who also is senior vice president of state government affairs for UPS.
The House is expected to vote on the omnibus bill today.