WASHINGTON — A group of 15 trucking executives has sent a letter to leaders of the Senate Committee on Appropriations opposing the use of twin 33-foot trailers, saying the use of the longer trailers would negatively impact highway safety.
Language in the 2016 FY Department of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill, which passed the House earlier this month, permits the use of the longer tandem trailers, which could be up to five feet longer than the current 28-foot limit.
Now in the hands of the Senate, the bill was read June 10 and has been referred to the appropriations panel.
The letter, which sources said was delivered this morning, was addressed to committee Chairman Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and ranking member Barbara Mikulaski, D-Md.
“The undersigned transportation companies serve the nation’s economy by employing tens of thousands of people throughout the United States who deliver everything from raw materials, to food, to medicine — every day,” the letter begins. “We are writing to urge you and your colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee to oppose an amendment in the transportation budget bill. This amendment would force states to accept double 33-foot trailers on all U.S. highways.”
The executives note in the letter that the trucking industry is deeply divided on the issue.
“This measure would have a negative impact on highway safety, accelerate wear and tear on the nation’s highway system, and make it very difficult for small trucking companies, which are the heart of our industry, to compete,” the executives wrote to the committee leaders.
The letter was signed by Paul Will, CEO of Celadon Trucking in Indianapolis; Don Orr, president of Central Transport of Waco, Texas; David Parker, president and CEO of Covenant Transport of Chattanooga, Tennessee; Tonn Ostergard, president and CEO of Crete Carrier Corp. of Lincoln, Nebraska; Reggie Dupre, CEO of Dupre Logistics of Lafayette, Louisiana; Steve Gordon, president of Gordon Trucking of Pacific, Washington; Mike Gerdin, chairman and CEO of Heartland Express of North Liberty, Iowa; John N. Roberts, president and CEO of JB Hunt Transport of Lowell, Arkansas; Jim Richards, president and CEO of KLLM Transport of Jackson, Mississippi; Kevin Knight, chairman of Knight Transportation of Phoenix; Charles Hammel, president of PITT OHIO of Pittsburgh; Dan Cushman, president and CEO of PAM Transport of Tontitown, Arkansas; David Daniels, president and CEO of May Trucking Co. of Salem, Oregon; Jerry Moyes, founder and CEO of Swift Transportation of Phoenix; and Robert A. Peiser, chairman of USA Truck of Van Buren, Arkansas.
All offer truckload services. Central Transport and PITT OHIO also offer LTL services; Central Transport operates twin 28s.
“There has not been sufficient dialogue around this measure to truly understand the unintended consequences it,” the letter read. “Further, the U.S. Department of Transportation has just released a long-awaited comprehensive study on truck size and weight limits. The report concluded that no changes in the relevant truck size and weight laws should be considered at this time.”
The signers said they would be available to meet with committee members.
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