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AAR Lauds Introduction of Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act

May 4, 2011
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) lauded the introduction of both House and Senate versions of the Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act (SHIPA) that propose to freeze national truck size and weight limits on the U.S. interstate highway system. The bills, introduced by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), would  keep our nation’s highways safe and stop bigger trucks from adding to American taxpayers’ already heavy federal budget burden. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) is the lead co-sponsor of H.R. 1574. 

“Big, heavy trucks today don’t pay their full share of damage to our nation’s highways, costing American taxpayers billions of dollars each year for pothole and bridge repairs,” said AAR VP of communications Patricia M. Reilly. “Now isn’t the time to increase the infrastructure subsidy enjoyed by trucks, which in turn increases the cost burden on taxpayers.”

Reilly noted that while the SHIPA bills attempt to extend the freeze on truck size and weight limits on the Interstate system to also apply to the National Highway System, there are other proposals before Congress that would increase truck weights by as much as 20 percent to 97,000 pounds from the current 80,000 federal weight cap. 

“The additional cost of repairing bridge damage alone caused by raising truck size 20 percent could be as much as $65 billion,” she said. “That’s not money that will come from the trucking companies. Rather, these costs will be paid by U.S. taxpayers and motorists to repair the damage trucks cause to our highway infrastructure – a cost that will be even higher if we allow heavier and longer trucks.”