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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Transportation bill: Concerns linger about truck-limit proposals; Schumer includes transit benefit in Senate mark-up


Although a proposal to allow bigger and heavier trucks on highways was amended in the House’s $260 billion surface transportation bill, the Railway Supply Institute (RSI) is asking its members to continue contacting their congressmen about the association’s opposition to such a proposal.

Yesterday, the association issued a legislative “alert” about a proposal that would allow states to increase truck weight and size limits that was included in an earlier version of the House’s five-year surface transportation bill. That bill was marked up and approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee last week. But before the committee approved the bill, it was amended to retain current truck size and weight limits while requiring the U.S. Department of Transportation to study the impact larger and heavier trucks would have on highways and bridges.

RSI and other rail industry stakeholders “continue to urge all members of the House of Representatives to vote ‘no’ on any further attempts to include bigger trucks in the bill when debated on the House floor,” RSI’s legislative alert states.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced earlier this week that he included a retroactive extension of the mass transit commuter tax benefit in the Senate Finance Committee’s mark-up of the Highway Investment, Job Creation and Economic Growth Act, which now is being considered in the Senate. Schumer’s action would allow mass transit users to use up to $240 a month tax-free to pay for their commutes. The previous commuter benefit expired at the end of 2011.

“We plan to use every tool available to us to see this benefit reinstated and made retroactive back to January,” said Schumer in a prepared statement. “It makes absolutely no sense to incentivize driving to work and not incentivize the use of mass transit.”

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/9/2012