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Truck Weights, Size to Be Considered in House Transportation Bill

1/31/2012 2:30:00 PM
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Trucks now limited to 80,000 pounds on interstate highways could run as heavy as 97,000 pounds under a proposal contained in the long-awaited transportation reauthorization bill set to be unveiled Tuesday by House Republicans.

States would have the option of allowing the heavier trucks, the Washington Post and Bloomberg News both reported Tuesday.

Trucking, along with shippers and manufacturers, support heavier, longer trucks, while railroads and some highway safety law enforcement groups oppose them.

One congressional source who has seen the bill told Transport Topics that the measure would also mandate states to allow longer trucks on their highways.

Currently, all states must allow tractors to pull 28-foot double trailers on the National Highway System. If the bill passes, states would be required to allow double, 33-feet long trailers on the national network and on access highways.

In addition, the bill would mandate that New York City and Washington, D.C., allow 53-foot single trailers. States allow those trailers but the two cities restrict them.

The five-year, $260-billion surface transportation bill is to be introduced today by House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.).

The bill is closely tied to another measure moving through the House that would expand oil and gas drilling offshore and in the Alaska to pay for transportation infrastructure.

In contrast, a reauthorization bill currently moving through the Senate is for two-years and would authorize spending of $109 billion.

The sponsors, Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.), said they would not address the truck weight issue in their bill because that issue, along with high speed rail, is so controversial it could doom a reauthorization bill.

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