WASHINGTON — Americans for Modern Transportation, a coalition of some of the nation’s largest shippers, deliverers and retailers, is firing back at critics of efforts to allow 33-foot trailers on the nation’s highways.
The coalition includes the nation’s most vocal proponents of 33-foot trailers — FedEx and UPS.
As part of a February 1 letter to House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., the coalition said underinvestment and a lack of attention to the nation's infrastructure has left American families in harm's way, spurred economic inefficiencies, and put undue stress on the environment.
“We need to do more than maintain our existing roads, bridges and waterways,” the coalition told Shuster. “To fully deliver results for the long-term, reforms should also leverage technologies and efficiencies developed by the private sector. Let's not invest in the infrastructure system of the past but lay the foundation for one of the future.”
The foundation should include 33-foot trailers, the coalition said, adding that the reduction of emissions and improved fuel efficiency “will improve overall environmental quality while strengthening the economic and national security.” They further stated that advanced trucking equipment such as twin 33 trailers are low-hanging fruit for rapidly increasing fuel efficiency, cutting emissions and making highways safer.
“Fully utilized on the national highway network, twin 33s in particular can reduce carbon emissions by 4.4 billion pounds, save 204 million gallons of fuel, and eliminate 912 crashes over the course of a year — all without compromising the condition or safety of our nation’s highways,” the letter said.
The coalition said it had identified three policy opportunities to guide the creation of a modern infrastructure system — sustainability improvements, technology upgrades and enhanced driver safeguards.
Use of twin 33-foot trailers is part of the sustainability improvements.
As for technology upgrades, the coalition said the exploration of smart and adaptive vehicle technologies should be supported and incorporated in new advanced trucking equipment.
“Once implemented on a national level, advanced transportation systems, or Smart Road Systems, promise incredible improvements to road safety, fuel efficiency, and travel times as a result of reduced congestion,” the coalition said, adding that enhancing driver safeguards would include improved road and bridge infrastructure that would mean a safer environment for all drivers and their passengers to navigate:
“All new roadways should be constructed with features, including rumble strips, widened shoulders, and well-engineered asphalt, that promote longevity and a safe, high-quality driving experience for all vehicles.”
“The private sector continues to make investments in our workforce, new technologies, and existing equipment to ensure our fleets are as efficient, as sustainable, and as safe as possible,” said the letter to Shuster. “We need the same forward-looking effort from our partners in federal and state governments so all Americans have access to the full promise enabled by a modern transportation system.”
The coalition's founding members include Amazon, American Highway Users Alliance, Carbon War Room, FedEx, Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, International Foodservice Distributors Association, International Warehouse Logistics Association, National Association of Manufacturers, National Retail Federation, National Shippers Strategic Transportation Council, North American Council For Freight Efficiency, Retail Industry Leaders Association, Securing America's Future Energy, The National Industrial Transportation League, ULINE, UPS, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and YRCW.
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