Legislative fix on the docket for infrastructure challenges

H.R.3372 would raise truck weights to 91,000 lbs. over six axles

Tractor trailer

WENDELL FRANKS

A House Transportation Committee passed a resolution that could give a boost to the soybean industry by allowing states to voluntarily raise truck weights up to 91,000 pounds on six axles.

Mike Steenhoek with the Soy Transportation Coalition calls it a common-sense solution to several challenges.

“There has been an effort for a considerable period of time to increase the efficiency of truck transportation, and a number of states have done so. They allow trucks that are heavier in weight with additional axles to operate on state and local systems, but it’s always been a challenge to get that instituted at the federal level on the interstate system. The opponents of it, you know, it’s easy to have more of a knee-jerk reaction to this and just make an assumption that if you have a heavier truck, that must mean a more dangerous system. And that’s not the case when you have an additional axle,” Steenhoek said.

Right now, trucks are limited to 80,000 pounds with few exceptions. Steenhoek says adding an extra axle on trucks moving commodities would be better for the entire interstate system because of added weight distribution.

“You displace the weight so that the actual imprint on the road is less than a five-axle 80,000-pound semi. And it also is safer because you, all of a sudden, add an additional set of brakes so that the stopping distance will be less. So, there’s a good message to tell on this. It is a commonsense solution, but there historically have been some challenges in getting it instituted.”

The resolution would not increase truck lengths, however. Those would remain bound to 53 feet.

It now goes to the full house for consideration.

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