The latest group to endorse higher truck weights has no direct connection with the trucking industry, but rather is self-described as an “independent non-partisan advocate for overburdened tax payers.”
The National Tax Payers Union, which says it represents 362,000 people, has sent a letter to U.S. House members urging them to support legislation, HR 612, the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act. It would give states the option of increasing the maximum interstate truck weight from 80,000 pounds to 97,000 pounds with a sixth axle.
In the letter, Pete Sepp, NTU executive vice-president said, “Such a move would provide a major boost to the economic potential of the nation’s highway infrastructure while avoiding additional deficit spending.”
The legislation was introduced in February by Michael Michaud (D-Maine). It currently has 16 co-sponsors and has been referred to a House subcommittee, but has seen no action for a little more than two months.
Sepp admits in the letter that a connection between the bill and a citizens group may not seem obvious, but notes in the next 15 years truck traffic in the U.S. could double or even triple, making it necessary to find a solution to deal with the increased traffic congestion without huge public expenditures.
He says the legislation “would improve the productivity and efficiency of our economy overall, saving considerable amounts of fuel, labor, and logistical costs for industries that depend on highways to ship their goods. Furthermore, bringing truck-weight limits more into line with our neighbors to the north and south (as well as those across the Atlantic) would enhance America’s international competitiveness, which has been damaged by numerous factors such as a burdensome tax system. Finally, the bill could provide ancillary benefits, e.g. reduced emissions from fewer trucks on the road, without resorting to detrimental schemes such as cap-and-trade national energy taxes.”
Sepp says the legislation is long overdue and faults the previous Congress for not passing a similar bill, instead opting to study such a move even more.
The American Trucking Associations is on record as supporting higher truck weights thought some of its members do not.
You can read the full letter from the National Taxpayer Union’s website.