Progressive Railroading

Newsletter Sign Up
Stay updated on news, articles and information for the rail industry



This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


View Current Digital Issue »


RAIL EMPLOYMENT & NOTICES



Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation

7/14/2020



Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Study shows major diversion of freight from rail to roads if bigger trucks allowed


Current federal law limits the size of two trailers tethered together, so-called twin trailers, to no more than 28 feet in length per trailer.
Photo – shutterstock.com

advertisement

A new report commissioned by the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks (CABT) highlights how legislation allowing bigger and heavier trucks on the nation's highways would result in a "major diversion" of freight from rail to roads.

The study shows some scenarios in which intermodal traffic would be reduced by 20 percent to 25 percent and railroad carload traffic by as much as 20 percent. Other scenarios show that both intermodal and certain railroad traffic could be reduced by nearly 60 percent, CABT officials said in a report summary.

Authored by economist Mark Burton of the Appalachian Transportation Institute at Marshall University, the report found that relaxing truck weight and size limits "would also lead to increased crash-related casualties, unaffordable wear and tear on highways and the diversion of freight traffic" from railroads to all-highway truck routes.

Current federal law limits the size of two trailers tethered together, so-called twin trailers, to no more than 28 feet in length per trailer. Federal law limits the weight of any single trailer to no more than 80,000 pounds on interstate highways. 

With Congress considering surface transportation legislation this session, CABT officials remain concerned about truck industry efforts to get lawmakers to include legislation that would relax current federal limits on truck size and weight.

"Bigger trucks are a danger on the roads to motorists and they would tear up the nation's already ailing roads and bridges," said CABT Vice President Brad Roseberry in a press release. "But as the report documents, bigger trucks would also be devastating to the rail industry, which provides a more environmentally beneficial form of freight transport than larger trucks."

To read the entire report, click here. A summary is available here.



Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/14/2020