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September 18, 2015 3:30 PM, EDT

TCA Opposes Measure to Allow Weight Limit of 91,000 Pounds

The Truckload Carriers Association has sent a letter to Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.), opposing a measure Ribble introduced that would allow states to permit freight trucks to carry a maximum of 91,000 pounds, up from the current 80,000 pounds.

The national trade association representing the industry’s truckload segment said that while Ribble’s Trucking Act attempts to improve productivity, it “clearly would only benefit a minority of the industry.”

“The most readily apparent equipment modification necessary for 91,000-pound/6-axle configurations would be retrofitting a trailer with a third axle,” the Sept. 16 letter signed by TCA Chairman Keith Tuttle said. “However, in addition to the third axle on a trailer, carriers would also need to consider trailer reinforcements, kingpin upgrades and engine improvements in order to accommodate the increased weight.”

The cost to add the extra axle and lengthen for dry vans or replace for refrigerated trailers would be an additional $3,000 to $4,800 per trailer, TCA said. The additional axle adds between 2,000 and 2,500 pounds to the trailer’s weight and has an average 0.5 mpg negative impact on fuel economy.

TCA said that to accommodate 11,000 additional pounds for the heavier configuration also would require most carriers to upgrade their tractors.

“The truckload industry simply cannot afford the adoption of a policy which would support allowing 91,000 pounds on six axles,” TCA said. “…Despite the fact that only 10 to 20% of truckload carriers would be able to take advantage of any increase, market pressures would require all carriers to invest in new equipment in order to remain competitive, and any capital investment into existing equipment would yield little to no return.”

“For me, it’s not just about productivity, but it’s the increased safety that we get by having fewer trucks moving more product in a safer manner,” Ribble told reporters when he introduced the bill Sept. 10. “What I do expect is for the U.S. competitiveness, particularly global competitiveness, to increase for businesses in Wisconsin, in particular, to be able to move product at a lower cost.”