With the U.S. Congress taking up the matter of increasing overall gross vehicle weight limits of commercial vehicles, the Agricultural Transportation Efficiency Coalition (AGTEC) is supporting the effort.
AGTEC is a coalition of 61 associations and businesses seeking to improve the efficiency of transporting raw agricultural and forest products from farms and forests to processing facilities.
"Our key issue is to reform truck weight limits on America’s federal highway system," said Mike Branch, coalition chairman, during a recent press conference in Washington DC.
AGTEC supports increasing the weight limits not to exceed 97,000 pounds, and adjusting the federal bridge formula for axle weights to achieve this. It is working to obtain this reform through the 2009 Highway Reauthorization Bill.
Increasing truck weight limits will allow the consolidation of cargo, and that provides a number of benefits, Branch said. Among them:
•Reduces the number of trucks on all roads and highways.
•Allows truckers to use shorter, more practical routes.
•Less fuel will be necessary to transport the same volume of products, which helps reduce total emissions.
"We would not be advocating this reform if it would not enhance safety," said Branch. "An increase in load limits on federal highways will draw heavy traffic away from state and county roads, and away from intersections in population centers where the chance of a collision with a car or pedestrian is much greater."