Our nation’s federal vehicle weight limit is outdated and out of touch with today’s engineering advancements and consumer needs. The 80,000-pound arbitrary truck weight restriction on Federal Interstate Highways has introduced unnecessary costs and inefficiencies to raw material suppliers and finished product shippers that depend on our roadways every day. In many states, the allowable weight limit for state roads is higher than the limit imposed on federal highways. This anomaly has created a number of unreasonable outcomes, including forcing loggers to travel longer distances on state roads and through small towns instead of safer, more direct routes on the federal interstate. In the forest products sector, moving harvested trees from forest to facility may comprise 30% of a product’s delivered cost, despite the fact that the entire forest product supply chain has worked tirelessly to wring every cent out of the system through innovation and technology.
FRA supports legislation to allow trucks operating at the maximum allowable state road truck weight limit to travel at that weight on that state’s portion of the federal interstate highway system. The bill, known as the Right To Haul Act, would apply only to trucks carrying agricultural commodities, including raw logs. FRA believes this is a sensible approach to a problem that confronts loggers and farmers looking to trim delivery times and improve efficiency. Each state sets different truck weight limits for the roads that it maintains. All day every day trucks are operating on these roads at or below these limits. We see no valid policy reason why these trucks should not also be able to access federal highway routes when it makes sense to do so.
FRA supports increasing the overall weight limit on the Federal Interstate Highway system.
Increasing allowable gross vehicle weights on the Federal Interstate Highway system will:
- Conserve fuel.
- Reduce total emissions, including carbon.
- Increase productivity of forest products transport and wood supply management.
- Enhance safety and reduce traffic congestion by reducing the volume of trucks now forced to use state roads as primary hauling arteries, due to their exclusion from the interstate system.
- Provides safety and efficiency for truck drivers strained by current law.
Sensible Truck Weight Reform will:
- Reduce congestion and accident-exposure on local roads
- Save fuel and reduce emissions
Forest Resources Association Inc October 2017