OPPOSE: All efforts to increase truck length and weight limits, including any pilot programs, or special exemptions for commodities.
As Congress considers solutions for repairing and improving our nation’s transportation infrastructure, we urge you to oppose any provisions that would increase maximum truck size or weight (TSW) limits on federal highways. Proposals to TSW limits have been rejected in bipartisan House and Senate floor votes over the past several years. Any changes overturning current federal law would shift traffic off railroads and onto highways with detrimental impact on road infrastructure, costing billions of dollars. Rail is the safest and most environmentally friendly way to move freight over land, and no policies should be introduced that would artificially shift traffic away from rail.
In 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recommended to Congress that no changes be made to federal TSW limits, concluding that heavier and longer trucks would cause billions of dollars in infrastructure damage. Following a request from the Federal Highway Administration, the Transportation Research Board released a report in November 2018 identifying 27 research projects focused on pavement, bridges, safety, enforcement, and shipper decisions that are needed to more fully evaluate the impacts of heavier or longer trucks on our infrastructure and the safety of other motorists. Congress has since directed DOT to publish an implementation plan for conducting this research and include timelines for its completion. We believe it is prudent that these research projects be completed before any action is taken to change TSW limits.
Finally, we urge you to oppose legislative language that would permit heavier or longer trucks to operate in individual states. DOT has questioned this kind of piecemeal approach for our interstate highways, finding that it makes enforcement and compliance more difficult, contributes little to productivity, and may have unintended consequences for safety and highway infrastructure.