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.


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.

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