Truck size and weight legislation passed this week in the House continues to shine a spotlight on the issue and further strengthens the probability that size and weight will be a hotly debated issue when Congress begins working to reauthorize surface transportation programs next year.
The House this week voted in favor of H.R. 2353, which will allows trucks weighing more than 80,000 pounds to continue to use Wisconsin Route 42 even after it becomes part of the Interstate Highway System. The bill now goes to the Senate.
Current federal law restricts tractor trailers of 80,000 pounds to the 47,000-mile interstate system. But if that standard were followed, heavy trucks that now use Route 41 would have to use local roadways. The bill's supporters argue this would pose a safety risk.
This bill, along with the truck size-and-weight study currently being conducted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) make it increasingly likely that truck size and weight will again be up for debate when Congress begins working on the next highway transportation reauthorization.
In early June, NATSO representatives attended the Federal Highway Administration's first public session of its truck size-and-weight study, ordered by Congress in the transportation reauthorization bill enacted last year. FHWA is gathering data on safety, the impact heavy trucks have on pavement and bridges, compliance, and the possible model shifts that could occur with freight.
This article originally ran in NATSO News Weekly (NNW), NATSO's member only weekly electronic newsletter. NNW is packed with the latest updates on government and business issues affecting the truckstop and travel plaza industry.
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