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Ribble Introduces Compromise Truck Efficiency Bill
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 09/11/2015

Wisconsin Congressman Reid Ribble is hoping to make it legal for heavier semi trucks to use the Interstate system. The Appleton Republican has introduced a bill that would allow the freight shipping industry to be more efficient while creating less pavement wear and tear and improving safety on local roads and bridges.

"The reality is that our roads are already overcrowded with families heading to school and work, and trucks carrying the things we buy across the country," Ribble said. "The U.S. population has almost doubled since our Interstate highway system was built, and demand for freight shipping is only going up. This will help us safely move more of the things Americans want with fewer trucks taking up space on the road, and it is based on data to ensure that truck stopping times and pavement wear are as good or better than our current trucks.

The legislation is called the Safe, Flexible, and Efficient or SAFE Trucking Act. Ribble says everyone wins when they can increase efficiency, decrease traffic, and make everyone safer in the process.

The National Milk Producers Federation and other dairy groups praised the measure. NMFP CEO Jim Mulhern says the current patchwork of varying maximum weights compels dairy marketers to transport partially empty loads of milk.

"This uses more fuel, creates more congestion and increases the costs of maintaining roads," Mulhern said. "Common sense changes like those included in the Safe Trucking Act will improve the efficiency and sustainability of the U.S. dairy industry."

By raising the federal gross vehicle weight limit for trucks equipped with six axles rather than the typical five and giving states the flexibility to utilize these trucks where they see fit, the Safe Trucking Act would safely modernize truck shipments on Interstate highways by allowing trucks to carry more product and thereby reducing the number of trucks on our roadways.

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Department of Transportation released its technical findings in connection with its Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Limits study. They concluded that more productive trucks lower congestion costs, fuel costs, and carbon and other emissions. They also found that vehicle stability and control are virtually unchanged on heavier six-axle vehicles. Truck weight reform would also reduce pavement costs significantly.

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