October 21, 2014

SMART joins fight against larger trucks

Some Congressional lawmakers want to allow bigger trucks on the nation’s highways, but the SMART Transportation Division and others are asking them to hit the road.

In a letter to all 435 members of the House of Representatives, the SMART Transportation Division has joined with the Association of American Railroads (AAR), the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA), the Railway Supply Institute (RSI), the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), the Transportation Communications International Union (TCU) and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes (BMWE) in requesting that they refrain from cosponsoring H.R. 612.

The legislation was introduced on Feb. 12 by Reps. Mike Michaud and Reid Ribble. Specifically, the legislation seeks to increase the maximum truck weight allowed on our nation’s highways from 80,000 to 97,000 pounds at a time when the Department of Transportation (DOT) – as instructed by Congress – is conducting a comprehensive study of this issue.

The letter reminds lawmakers that H.R. 612 would increase the subsidies other motorists provide for the damage caused by heavy trucks; notes that one in every four bridges in the U.S. today is structurally deficient or functionally obsolete; asks lawmakers to consider the serious implications for our environment posed by larger trucks, and, most importantly, points out that the American public overwhelmingly opposes increasing truck weights.

Even some truckers are against the bill.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) sent letters to House members urging them not to co-sponsor H.R. 612.

In the letters, OOIDA President Jim Johnston wrote: “On behalf of our nation’s small business truckers, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) urges you to not co-sponsor H.R. 612, legislation to allow heavier trucks on America’s highways.

“Small business truckers make up the majority of the trucking industry in the United States, and they know first-hand the impact that heavier trucks have on their cost of equipment and operations, safety matters, including the handling characteristics of a truck, and the conditions of our nation’s roads and bridges.”

To read the complete letter co-signed by the SMART Transportation Division, click here.