1,500 members of local governments from across the United States added their names to a letter delivered to lawmakers opposing any increase in the size and weight of trucks and freighters. The letter, entitled “Bigger Trucks: Bad for America’s Local Communities” was organized by the ‘Coalition Against Bigger Trucks.’ Two pieces of legislation in the House propose increasing the maximum weight of trucks by 11,000 pounds (at its heaviest).
Earlier in 2023, Rep. Dusty Johnson, a Republican from South Dakota, introduced a bill that would establish a five-year pilot program to allow truck weight on federal interstates up to 91,000 pounds on six axles. At about the same time Rep. Lance Gooden, a Texas Republican, introduced legislation that would allow a 10% weight increase to 88,000 pounds for auto transporters hauling electric vehicles (both short-haul and long-haul transport).
Government officials signing the coalition’s letter say bigger trucks would cause expensive damage to their infrastructures: “Heavier and longer trucks will damage our roads and bridges, leaving local taxpayers footing the bill. We cannot afford this, and Members of Congress need to hear our concerns,” said Berks County, Pennsylvania Chairman Christian Leinbach in a statement from the coalition. Continued: “Trucks do not load and unload on interstates. These trucks find their way onto local roads and bridges, whether it is for meals and gas or to deliver their cargo. This impacts us all.”
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The pressure is now on Congress to pass several important funding bills to avoid a possible government shutdown at the end of September.
However, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association last month sent a letter to House committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, Appropriations, and Agriculture – asking them to reject efforts in order to allow heavier trucks on U.S. highways.