Competing bills filed on truck weights

The chairman of the Senate Surface Transportation committee has filed a bill to block alternative legislation that allows a heavier weight for trucks on highways. 

Sen. Frank Lautenberg's (D-N.J.) legislation, dubbed the Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act of 2011, would continue a ban on trucks weighing more than 80,000 pounds or being longer than 53 feet. It also would expand the current ban from the interstate highway system to the national highway system. 

But last month another measure, backed by Democrats and Republicans, was filed to allow states to permit trucks on their roads up to 97,000 pounds if they have six axles instead of five. 

ADVERTISEMENT
Each side said their measure makes roads safer.

"Keeping super sized tractor-trailers off our roads will save lives and protect our highways and bridges from heavy damage,” Lautenberg said in a statement Tuesday.  “We know how important trucks are to our economy, but trucks share the roads with our families and we must take every step possible to avoid senseless tragedies.  This legislation takes a balanced, common-sense approach to maintaining our highways, keeping our economy moving forward, and making sure our roads are safe for everyone traveling on them.”

“SETA is a narrowly drawn bill that enables companies to move a given amount of product in fewer vehicles without adding more weight per tire or increasing stopping distances,” Coalition for Transportation Productivity Executive Director John Runyan said of the alternative legislation, named the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act. 

“SETA is supported by a body of data collected from academic, state, federal and international experts who have evaluated or experienced this proposal and support the logic of the six-axle, 97,000 pound configuration as the new workhorse standard for the American truck fleet," Runyan continued. "Even though higher productivity, six-axle trucks are undeniably safe and more efficient, SETA still puts the decision into the hands of state officials, who are best equipped to determine if the configuration makes sense in their states."

Lautenberg's bill is sponsored in the House by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.). The bill to allow heavier trucks is co-sponsored by Sens. Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoTrump calls for looser rules for bank loans in Dodd-Frank overhaul Week ahead: Lawmakers eye another short-term spending bill Overnight Finance: Trump promises farmers 'better deal' on NAFTA | Clock ticks to shutdown deadline | Dems worry Trump pressuring IRS on withholdings | SEC halts trading in digital currency firm MORE (R-Idaho), Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDemocrats search for 51st net neutrality vote Overnight Tech: States sue FCC over net neutrality repeal | Senate Dems reach 50 votes on measure to override repeal | Dems press Apple on phone slowdowns, kids' health | New Android malware found Overnight Regulation: Dems claim 50 votes in Senate to block net neutrality repeal | Consumer bureau takes first step to revising payday lending rule | Trump wants to loosen rules on bank loans | Pentagon, FDA to speed up military drug approvals MORE (R-Maine) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanFlake's anti-Trump speech will make a lot of noise, but not much sense Top GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race Overnight Tech: Regulators to look at trading in bitcoin futures | Computer chip flaws present new security problem | Zuckerberg vows to improve Facebook in 2018 MORE (R-Ohio).