Wednesday, May 25, 2011
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted today to oppose legislation that would allow heavier trucks on America's roadways.
The Safe Efficient Transportation Act, which has been introduced in Congress, would give states the option to allow trucks to carry up to 97,000 pounds of cargo if they added a sixth axle. The current limit is 80,000 pounds.
"In my opinion, not only would bigger and heavier trucks cause further damage to our roadways, but they would also jeopardize public safety," Supervisor Dianne Jacob said.
Supervisor Greg Cox said the damage caused by heavier rigs would cause higher road maintenance costs for government, leading to congestion that would actually make the trucking industry less efficient.
"I don't know about you, but I don't particularly enjoy driving next to these large trucks and I imagine most people don't," Cox said.
He also said the legislation would allow truckers to pull three trailers.
But John Runyan, executive director of the Coalition for Transportation Productivity, said the bill only applies to single-trailer trucks that have six axles -- instead of the usual five -- to carry the additional weight, and does not mention anything about three-trailer vehicles.
"The U.S. (Department of Transportation) and Transportation Research Board have both confirmed that six-axle, 97,000-pound trucks maintain the same braking, handling and weight-per-tire characteristics as those currently permitted on interstates throughout the country," Runyan said. "Six-axle trucks are not bigger or longer in any way, but they are considerably more efficient."
According to the Washington, D.C.-based coalition, many trucks reach the current weight limit with room to spare, so adding to its load would be more efficient.
With the board's action, passed unanimously as part of the consent agenda, county staff will include their opposition to SETA or any legislation that seeks to increase truck size or weight limits in their lobbying efforts.