The Texas Coalition for Transportation Productivity, a group of Texas business leaders dedicated to making port shipments more productive, launched in support of HB 3061, state legislation that would safely increase the weight limit for vehicles carrying ocean cargo shipping containers.
Coalition members – which include the Texas Association of Business, Texas Association of Manufacturers, Texas Chemical Council, Texas Oil & Gas Association and others – say that without the legislation, Texas ports risk losing critical business opportunities because the state’s port shipping regulations lag behind most other states.
Introduced by Rep. Rafael Anchía (D-Dallas), HB 3061 would specifically increase the state vehicle weight limit only for six-axle trucks carrying ocean cargo shipping containers. The required additional (sixth) axle provides Texas with added safety and infrastructure benefits, as most states allow five-axle trucks to carry heavier containers.
“Texas ports are facing unprecedented opportunities created by the Panama Canal expansion and shale oil boom, but the state’s outdated truck weight regulations are jeopardizing this growth,” said Tony Bennett, president of the Texas Association of Manufacturers. “Many companies are currently looking at alternatives to Texas ports because virtually every other port state in the nation allows trucks to carry more productive shipping containers.”
“HB 3061 represents a way for Texas ports, and the entire state, to safely become more competitive,” Bennett continued. “While most states already allow heavier five-axle trucks to service ports, HB 3061 requires that these vehicles be equipped with six axles. The additional axle maintains all braking and handling characteristics at the higher weight limit, while spreading out the weight so as to minimize road wear. The six-axle truck configuration is a win-win for the Texas economy, port productivity and highway safety. We hope HB 3061 will soon be heard before the full state House.”
Members say the six-axle truck configuration contained in HB 3061 has been proven safe and effective throughout the world. They added that research by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Transportation Research Board, several state DOTs, and many other academic and governmental research bodies have validated its safety and efficiency.
“The State of Maine, which gave higher productivity, six-axle trucks Interstate access in 2011, just experienced its lowest highway fatality rate in 70 years – an achievement that officials attribute to the use of more productive six-axle trucks,” the group said.