Association of American Railroads logs opposition to heavier truck plan

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WASHINGTON — The president of the Association of American Railroads has asked Congress to reconsider a plan to permanently allow 50-ton trucks to traverse New England roads. In a letter to lawmakers, Edward Hamberger said the plan, part of a proposed extension of current law, could lead to heavier trucks elsewhere in the country, which means unfair competition for railroads.

“The U.S. Department of Transportation has determined that trucks weighing 80,000 to 100,000 pounds pay just half of the cost of the damage they do to the nation’s highways,” Hamberger wrote. “This huge heavy truck underpayment means that the remainder of these costs is paid for by the general public.” That subsidy, he said, enables trucks to “rob the railroad industry of revenue needed for reinvestment and add congestion to the nation’s highways.”

The program, which applies to Interstate highways in Maine and Vermont, is a pilot to test the efficacy of heavier trucks. Under the continuing resolution Congress is contemplating, the pilot program would become permanent. The trucking industry wants to see such trucks allowed on highways across the country.
WASHINGTON — The president of the Association of American Railroads has asked Congress to reconsider a plan to permanently allow 50-ton trucks to traverse New England roads. In a letter to lawmakers, Edward Hamberger said the plan, part of a proposed extension of current law, could lead to heavier trucks elsewhere in the country, which means unfair competition for railroads.

“The U.S. Department of Transportation has determined that trucks weighing 80,000 to 100,000 pounds pay just half of the cost of the damage they do to the nation’s highways,” Hamberger wrote. “This huge heavy truck underpayment means that the remainder of these costs is paid for by the general public.” That subsidy, he said, enables trucks to “rob the railroad industry of revenue needed for reinvestment and add congestion to the nation’s highways.”

The program, which applies to Interstate highways in Maine and Vermont, is a pilot to test the efficacy of heavier trucks. Under the continuing resolution Congress is contemplating, the pilot program would become permanent. The trucking industry wants to see such trucks allowed on highways across the country.
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