Bill to increase length, weight limits on semi trucks hits roadblock

SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - According to the office of U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello (D-IL) an amendment offered Thursday by Congressman Lou Barletta (R-PA) and Costello, would maintain current truck size and weight limits.

A proposal in part of the Federal Transportation Bill included a measure to increase big rig weight limits from 80,000 pounds to 97,000 pounds. In some cases the limit would be 126,000 pounds. It would have also increased the length of some of the longest rigs.

There would now be a three-year study of the potential costs of an increase. After the measure passes out of committee, it will be next considered by the full House of Representatives.

"This is a great win for public safety and rational transportation spending," said Costello. "Before we undertake changes of this magnitude we need to fully understand the impacts."

Assistant District Engineer Matthew Seiler with the Missouri Department of Transportation says a potential weight increase would impact Missouri roads.

"We have 80,000 pound trucks going on the roads now, and more would certainly increase the concern with the funding level we have," said Matthew Seiler.

He's worried about the roads and bridges being impacted by the larger trucks.

"Right now we're against this because we think there should be a nationwide discussion on what the impact is," said Seiler.

According to Congressman Costello's office, public opinion polls for years have consistently shown overwhelming opposition to increasing truck sizes and weights.

The Coalition for Transportation Productivity told CNN that heavier trucks don't create safety issues so long as states make sure to require the trucks to have a sixth axle.

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