Congress to vote on heavier trucks

We need to take action and contact our Congressperson – for most of us this would be Mike Thompson.  As you know, CALTRANS wants to widen Highway 101 in Richardson Grove to allow STAA truck access.  Now the trucking industry has succeeded in getting legislation introduced to increase the legal weight limit – the bill is the Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill (H.R. 7)

States could permit trucks weighing up to 97,000 pounds — and in some cases as much as 126,000 pounds — on interstate highways under the bill. The current limit is 80,000 pounds in most states. Increased weight limits are supported by the trucking industry, but opposed by safety advocates.

“Larger and heavier trucks mean bigger safety risks for highway drivers,’’ Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., wrote in a letter to House lawmakers last week asking them not to raise weight limits.

You can Google Mike Thompson for his web site to send your comments or use <http://mikethompson.house.gov/contact>.  Here are a few talking points:

On average 4,000 people are killed in truck crashes annually and 100,00 more are injured.  The annual cost of truck crashes exceeds $19 billion.  In the past 10 years more than 48,000 people have needlessly died and over 1 million have been injured in truck crashes.  Enough is enough.

In fatal 2-vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck, 98% of the deaths are occupants of the passenger vehicles. Adding more weight to a big truck dramatically increases the risk of death and serious injury.

The American public strongly opposes allowing bigger and heavier trucks.  In an April 2011 public opinion poll, 74% of Americans opposed increases to truck weights, with more than half of Americans strongly opposing them.

Big trucks dramatically underpay their fair share of bridge and road damage and motorists are footing the bill.  States and Congress are already struggling to find sufficient funds to repair roads and bridges and we don’t need bigger trucks doing more damage that motorists have to pay for.

Bigger trucks mean more truck traffic, more fuel consumption, more emissions, particularly greenhouse gases, and will result in more deaths and injuries.

Highway 101 is NOT Interstate 5!  Keep STAA trucks out of Richardson Grove State Park! Thank you for helping to protect our Park, our old growth trees and ourselves!

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