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Coalition for Transportation Productivity statement welcomes U.S. DOT Truck Size & Weight Study data study

 The Coalition for Transportation Productivity (CTP), a group of 200 shippers and allied associations dedicated to safely and responsibly increasing the federal vehicle weight limit on

Interstate highways, today welcomed the release of data  by U.S. DOT as part of its Comprehensive Truck Size & Weight Limits Study. The study’s technical findings, released today, evaluate a range of truck configurations, including that which is contained in the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act – a federal proposal which gives each state the option to set higher Interstate weight limits for trucks outfitted with six axles instead of the typical five.

CTP Executive Director John Runyan issued the following statement:

“The U.S. DOT findings can be added to the growing list of state, federal, international and academic research confirming the safety and efficiency benefits of the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act. In fact, this DOT data debunks several major points of opposition to six-axle truck weight reform, affirming that the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act configuration is safe, more productive and would reduce vehicle miles traveled without any significant shift of freight from rail. 

  • “Significant DOT conclusions regarding heavier six-axle trucks include:
  • Modal shift is principally from truck to more productive trucks and would result in overall lowering of vehicle miles traveled by trucks (Vol. 1 ES-5);
  • Total logistics costs for transporting freight would decline (Vol. 1 ES-5);
  • More productive trucks lower congestion costs, fuel costs, and carbon  and other emissions (Vol. 1 ES-6);
  • Truck weight reform would yield considerable pavement cost reductions (Vol 1 ES-8);
  • Vehicle stability and control virtually are unchanged on heavier six-axle vehicles (Vol. 1 ES-11);
  • Bridge impacts could be addressed through posting, modest investment or fees (Vol 1 ES 8, 11). 

“U.S. DOT officials began this study process with the intention to only release technical findings and make no policy recommendations. The department’s inability to endorse gross vehicle weight reform without a more robust study is neither surprising nor unexpected, especially given the highly charged atmosphere surrounding this study. 

“With nearly 70 percent of all U.S. freight tonnage moved by trucks and overall freight tonnage expected to grow nearly 25 percent over the next decade, we need solutions to make both trucking and rail productive. It is now up to Congress to decide if heavier six-axle vehicles, which clearly have few negatives and many positives, can be utilized to address the capacity crisis.”

About the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act (SETA)

The U.S. federal weight limit for Interstate System highways has been set at 80,000 pounds since 1982. Many shippers meet the limit with space left in their trailers and must use more truckloads, causing increased fuel use and emissions when traversing Interstates. The Safe and Efficient Transportation Act (SETA) – introduced last Congress by Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI) and former Rep. Michael Michaud (D-ME) – gives each state the option to set Interstate weight limits of up to 97,000 pounds. This higher weight limit would only apply to trucks equipped with safer six axles instead of the typical five. Without making the truck any larger, the additional axle maintains safety capability – including stopping and handling capabilities and current weight per tire.  By allowing companies to better utilize space in each truck and use fewer trucks to meet demand, SETA would make roads safer – especially as the U.S. economy and population grows.

About the Coalition for Transportation Productivity

The Coalition for Transportation Productivity (CTP) is a coalition of about 200 shippers and allied associations dedicated to addressing the safety, economic and environmental challenges facing our nation’s freight transportation network through carefully crafted truck weight reform. For more information, and to read supportive studies and data, visit www.transportationproductivity.org.
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