Tuesday, December 27, 2011

RSI: Congress may increase truck size, weight

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A lobbying effort by the trucking industry could encourage Congress to increase truck sizes and/or truck weight on the nation’s roadways in the next surface transportation bill now being considered in both the House and the Senate, according to Railway Supply Institute President Tom Simpson.

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In a brief interview with Railway Age, Simpson (pictured at left) said the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee may vote as early as late January on an amendment to SAFETEA-LU reauthorization legislation that would allow for increased trucking tonnage. RSI also expects this issue to be weighed by the Senate during its own mark-up of the surface transportation legislation.

RSI says studies have shown that an increase in truck weight from 80,000 pounds to 97,000 pounds would have a serious adverse impact on freight rail operations of all sizes, cutting short line merchandise traffic by 44% and overall short line traffic by 17%, and reducing Class I merchandise traffic by 50% and overall Class I traffic by 19%.

Simpson said RSI and other rail allies will make an “intense” effort to reach out to Congress early in 2012, presenting the viewpoint of the rail industry and its suppliers.