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National Poll Shows Most Americans Support Increasing the Interstate Truck Weight Limit

The Coalition for Transportation Productivity (CTP), a coalition of more than 100 shippers and allied associations dedicated to responsibly increasing the federal weight limit on interstate highways, today announced the results of a national poll demonstrating that a majority of Americans support raising interstate truck weight limits without making trucks larger. More than half of Americans surveyed favor allowing trucks with proper safeguards to carry more weight on U.S. interstates as a way to make roads safer, reduce environmental impact and strengthen the economy.

The results of the national poll, commissioned by CTP and released today, reveal broad support for responsible truck weight reform as outlined in The Safe and Efficient Transportation Act of 2009 (H.R. 1799). The bipartisan legislation sponsored by Reps. Michael Michaud (D-ME) and Jean Schmidt (R-OH) would allow for heavier –not larger– trucks on interstates by giving each state the option to increase its interstate vehicle weight limit to 97,000 pounds for trucks equipped with a sixth axle for safety. Without changing truck size, the additional axle maintains current braking capacity and weight-per-tire-distribution and minimizes pavement wear. A user fee imposed by the bill would fund vital bridge repair.

“Americans solidly back the same truck weight reform proposed by H.R. 1799 – providing strong support for Congress to responsibly raise the federal vehicle weight limit,” said CTP Co-Chair John Runyan. “With truck traffic already increasing 11 times faster than road capacity and freight expected to double by 2025, H.R. 1799 would make sureAmerica’s shipping needs are met in a way that improves highway safety and reduces our carbon footprint.”

Among the survey’s key findings:

• A majority of Americans favor higher weight limits for properly outfitted trucks.

o By a margin of 51% to 39%, a majority would favor increasing the weight limit if it contributes to safer roads, greater fuel economy and more productive highway transportation.

• Americans are more likely to support increasing weight limits when they learn that additional axles would make the tractor-trailers safer and better for road surfaces.

o A strong majority (66%) would be more likely to support legislative action to allow trucks to carry more weight on interstates if those trucks add an extra axle.

• Americans are also more likely to support a weight limit increase due to positive environmental implications.

o 63% would be more likely to support an increase in weight that trucks can carry on interstates if it would reduce carbon emissions and fuel consumption.

“It is a proven fact that allowing heavier, six-axle trucks on our interstates will cut the number of trucks needed to satisfy America’s shipping needs as freight increases in the years ahead,” said Runyan. “H.R. 1799 would reduce the number of vehicles miles and the overall number of trucks needed to deliver a specific amount of freight, making roads safer and cutting fuel and emissions by 19 percent for each ton carried.”

The survey was conducted among 1,000 American adults by leading pollster Wilson Research Strategies and has a margin of error of +/-3.1%. The survey was executed June 16 – 22, 2009 via live operator telephone calls. The sample was stratified to be demographically and geographically representative of the national adult population.

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