Saturday, October 01, 2005

Why we need a 97K Weight Limit

(Note: I oppose the 51K Tridem/six axle tractor trailer usually associated with the "NAFTA 97K" proposal. A 44K tridem axle grouping weight limit would allow a 97K truck on 7 axles which would reduce pavement damage, increase braking, have a better fore/aft weight balance and still allow a productivity enhancement. Both would have added bridge costs.)

Trains newswire Sept 28 (not a direct link
Presently in Chicago, overweight containers must be unloaded at ports of entry and broken into smaller truckload-sized shipments to comply with federal and state regulations limiting the amount of weight that can legally be transported over public roadways. This leaves customers importing goods to the Midwest with two choices: Sending smaller shipments in containers (not capitalizing on the maximum container capacity), or unloading fully loaded containers at the port and shipping them to Chicago in smaller-sized shipments. Both alternatives are costly and result in additional handling and/or transportation expenses.


One of the inefficiencies in intermodal is the need to make a rubber tire movement to have the cargo split up so it can legally be taken to its destination (and for those that are not transloaded, running 90-97K on 5 axles increases road damage).

Fleet Owner September 05 Roads To Hell part 2
Petty argues that “going to 96,000 lb. GCW alone would add tremendous productivity. In fact, operators have shown that when running in Michigan, where heavier weights are allowed, they can deliver 20% more goods with fewer vehicles than in neighboring Illinois. [Note: Michigan's gross weight limits are much higher than 96K for trucks with enough axles]
“So to not allow heavier combinations makes no public policy sense at all,” he continues. “It's as if we have to reach a crisis in which products are not getting to market before we can force a change in these regulations.”
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ATA's Roth points out that the rest of the industrialized world, including Canada and Mexico, have gone to a 96,000- to 97,000-lb. GCW tractor with tridem (three axles at rear) trailer. “By next year,” he notes “ATA plans to have solid recommendations to talk about.”
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“The highway bill just passed is essentially a highway maintenance bill,” stresses ATA's Roth. “And the states will not make the kind of investments needed to increase road capacity.
“All this makes changes in size and weight attractive [as a means to increase freight-carrying capacity,” he continues. “And bear in mind that changes only need to be made to actual pavement if truck axle weights, not gross vehicle weights, are increased.
“Bridges are a little different,” Roth notes. “Depending on what vehicle weight and length is determined, some bridges may have to be strengthened or replaced to carry truck traffic. Most Interstate bridges would not have to be adjusted [to carry proposed 96,000-lb. GCW combination vehicles].”


Trucks are unfairly maligned as being subsidised by everyone else. The real story is the magic of deficit spending.
Fleet Owner August 05 Roads to Hell
Road damage caused by heavy trucks may be the most contentious part of the issue, as car drivers blame the big rigs for beating up roads and their owners not paying more money to fix them. The data belies this belief: Trucks and cars both pay about 80 to 90% of their total road costs. Although each group pays the same proportion, it is still short of the 100% each should be paying to keep roads in top condition.

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