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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

USDOT releases technical reports on truck size, weight issues


The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) late last week released a series of technical reports on truck size and weight for peer review and public comment.

The action represents a "major step" toward completion of a long-awaited, comprehensive study of issues associated with trucks operating within and in excess of current size and weight limits, USDOT officials said in a statement.

The issues being examined include the potential impact increasing truck weight and size would have on the nation's highways and bridges, as well as on rail and other transportation modes.

The study was required by the federal MAP-21 transportation funding law.

"While pointing to significant data limitations to complete a comprehensive study," the technical reports will provide an opportunity for field experts to offer comment before the final report is sent to Congress.

In conducting the study, department officials have faced data limitations that are "so profound that no changes in the relevant laws and regulations should be considered until these limitations are overcome," USDOT officials said in a news brief posted on the department's website.

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) is currently reviewing the new technical reports, said AAR spokesman Ed Greenberg in an email. He offered no comment on the reports' content.

However, in the past, the AAR has expressed concerns about the impact of increasing truck size and weight size.

"Increasing existing truck size and weight limits would mean higher taxpayer costs to repair damage to our highways and bridges; more highway gridlock; and more harm to the environment," stated an AAR position statement dated May 2014.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/8/2015