Hon. Bill Shuster Hon. A. Peter DeFazio Chairman ... - Politico

The U.S. Department of Transportation has found that the 91,000 lb./six axle configuration complies with the federal bridge formula, meaning that it meets weight.
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Hon. Bill Shuster Chairman, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee U.S. House of Representatives 2268 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515-3809

Hon. A. Peter DeFazio Ranking Member, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee U.S. House of Representatives 2134 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515-3704

Dear Messrs. Shuster and DeFazio: The National Private Truck Council offers its strong support for H.R. 3488, the SAFE Trucking Act, as introduced by Rep. Reid Ribble. NPTC represents the interests of some 600 companies that operate their own private truck fleets in furtherance of manufacturing, retail, agriculture or other non-transportation primary businesses and their suppliers. Many of our member companies are household names like Frito-Lay, CVS, Nestlé, General Mills, Pepsico, Safeway, John Deere, Marathon Petroleum, Walmart, Walgreens, Chrysler, Kellogg’s and Boeing. We represent much of the Fortune 500 as well as many smaller companies engaged in local and regional distribution by truck. NPTC members are shippers as well as truck operators. Their parent companies want the most efficient and competitive option for transporting inbound and outbound freight, whether it is by private or for-hire motor carrier, rail, water or air. H.R. 3488 would improve their options for enhancing productivity by allowing states to authorize safely putting additional weight (and an additional axle) on each truck for travel on the Interstate highways; this would reduce the number of truck shipments necessary to transport a given amount of freight. It would also reduce the number of trucks on the Interstates, improve traffic congestion, and reduce engine emissions. H.R. 3488 does not mandate anything. It would merely allow the State governments to permit truck combinations up to 91,000 lbs. GVW in a six-axle configuration to use the Interstate highways in their State. State agencies would retain the ability to limit or even prohibit use of these vehicles when safety dictates otherwise. Moreover, use of six-axle vehicles at 91,000 lbs. would not create additional harm for pavement or bridges. The U.S. Department of Transportation has found that the 91,000 lb./six axle configuration complies with the federal bridge formula, meaning that it meets weight distribution requirements for vehicles traveling on bridges on the Interstate Highway System. The U.S. DOT also found that wide use of this configuration would not cause any increase in one-time rehabilitation costs for Interstate bridges. In fact, by decreasing the weight per-axle and per-tire, the SAFE Trucking Act configuration would yield significant pavement wear savings— as much as 4.2 percent of total pavement restoration budgets. Safety and handling would also remain unaffected by H.R. 3488. U.S. DOT found that the SAFE Trucking Act configuration features comparable handling characteristics and improved braking ability, stopping one foot faster than the 80,000-pound five-axle truck currently used

throughout the nation. The bill also enables the U.S. DOT to require additional safety equipment for these vehicles, creating a world-class standard vehicle for the movement of heavy shipments. NPTC’s member companies are the vanguard of safe truck transportation in the United States—we are the earliest adopters of new safety technology, equipment and management practices. NPTC would not support this legislation if our members thought that it might diminish safety or harm highway or bridge infrastructure. We understand that the railroad industry and their surrogates are opposed to this bill. But railroad interests should not hold a veto over highway transportation policy. They should compete for freight in a free and fair marketplace that allows for productivity enhancements for all modes. We appreciate your consideration of our views, and ask that you include Mr. Ribble’s bill in the highway legislation to be marked up in your committee. Best regards,


Dr. Gary F. Petty President an