Thursday, June 29th, 2017
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The Honorable Representative Mario Diaz-Balart
Chairman, Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development
H-305, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Diaz-Balart,
The 115th Congress has a unique opportunity to update our current infrastructure system. As part of this effort, Congress should enact policies that improve vehicle safety, reduce congestion, and lower fuel consumption. For that reason, we urge you to include language allowing twin 33-foot trailers to operate on the national highway network – where twin-28 foot trailers currently operate – in the FY 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations package.
The 1982 Surface Transportation Assistance Act approved the operation of twin 28-foot trailer trucks throughout the national highway network. Since then, the U.S. population has grown by more than 100 million people and real GDP has grown by more than 150 percent, leading to significant increases in truck travel. Over the next decade, 1.2 million more trucks will be required to meet the growing demand for freight transportation services, further exacerbating the trucking industry’s ongoing workforce shortage.
Extending 28-foot trailers by five feet would result in 3.1 billion fewer vehicle miles traveled, 4,500 fewer annual truck crashes and 53.2 million hours saved due to less congestion. With a longer wheelbase, 33-foot double trailer configurations are more stable than the twin 28-foot double trailers, according to analysts at the University of Michigan and the U.S. Department of Transportation. In addition, the ability for twin 33-foot trailers to navigate through intersections and interchanges is comparable to a 48-foot single trailer truck, making road design modifications unnecessary. Finally, being able to move more freight per truck reduces the number of trucks on our nation’s roadways.
As recommended by the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences, this is a commonsense reform that updates outdated transportation policy. It will improve utilization of existing highway infrastructure in the face of significant increases in congestion, reductions in capacity and a well-documented truck driver shortage, and most importantly will improve safety for all those on our nation’s highways. The House Appropriations Committee wisely passed legislation allowing for twin 33-foot trailers in 2015 and we hope you will include language allowing twin 33-foot trailers in the FY 2018 THUD Appropriations bill.