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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Rail groups ask Congress to oppose lifting truck weight, size limits


The Association of American Railroads (AAR) and American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) joined other organizations earlier this week in asking Congress to oppose legislative language that would increase maximum truck size or weight limits on federal highways.

In a Feb. 25 letter, the organizations also called on lawmakers to oppose legislative language that would allow bigger trucks in individual states through pilot programs.

"Any change overturning current federal weight laws allowing heavier or longer tractor-trailers would have detrimental impacts on our national, county and local infrastructure, costing billions of dollars in additional bridge and pavement costs," the letter stated.

The groups noted that proposals in recent years to increase the maximum limits have been rejected on bipartisan votes. In addition, they cited a 2016 U.S. Department of Transportation report that found heavier and longer trucks would incur billions in increased infrastructure costs.

Other organizations signing the letter included GoRail, the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association, Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association, Railway Supply Institute and the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks.

Their letter was sent a few weeks after the Americans for Modern Transportation (AMT) called on Congress to increase the national twin-trailer truck standard from 28 feet to 33 feet. The AMT represents such shippers as Amazon, FedEx and UPS, and shippers represented by the National Retail Federation.

Meanwhile, ASLRRA President Chuck Baker testified on the issue yesterday before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety.

"Short lines are part of a broad coalition of interests — including safety advocates, law enforcement officials, rail labor, truck labor, independent truckers, Class I railroads, and even some truckload carriers — who oppose bigger and heavier trucks," said Baker, according to his prepared remarks. "Bigger trucks mean diversion from rail to truck and thus more expensive damage to our highways and bridges, more highway congestion, more environmental damage, and more danger for the motoring public."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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