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Maintain Current Truck Size and Weight Limits

Truck size and weight limits on federal highways were frozen by Congress in 1991, largely because of concerns about the safety of longer and heavier trucks and concerns about the highway damage that heavy trucks cause.

Under current law, trucks operating on most of the Interstate Highway System can have a gross vehicle weight of no more than 80,000 pounds. Longer combination vehicles (LCVs) — tractors with two or more trailers weighing more than 80,000 pounds — can operate on certain highways in some states that allowed such trucks before 1991.

Over the years, some interest groups have called for unfreezing truck size and weight limits, but legislative attempts to thaw the freeze have been unsuccessful. These unsuccessful attempts may partly result from a U.S. DOT study showing that heavy trucks currently underpay their share of damage to our nation’s roadways by 27.5 cents per gallon. At 97,000 pounds, a truck would only pay half of cost of the damage they cause to our highways.

Norfolk Southern recognizes the importance of maintaining a good relationship with our trucking partners for intermodal service and “first mile, last mile” rail connection service. Increased truck weight limits, however, would divert freight from privately financed and maintained railways to publically funded, tax-payer maintained highway systems. With freight diverted from railroads, any rail customers remaining could face higher rates, declining service, or a combination of both.

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