Tandem Trailers Clear First Hurdle In Bill
A trucking industry-backed bid to allow longer tandem trucks on the nation’s highways has been approved by a Senate committee over opposition from safety advocates and most Democrats — and the panel’s GOP chairman.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the change, sought by the American Trucking Associations and large haulers such as FedEx Corp., which would increase the permitted length of tandem trailers hauled from 28 to 33 feet.
Proponents believe that extending the length of twin trailers will give the less-than-truckload sector the ability to haul more freight while decreasing the number of trucks on the road. Opponents believe that it would be detrimental to highway safety because of the added length of the twin trailers.
The provision still must be considered by the full Senate, but American Trucking Associations President Bill Graves applauded the Appropriations Committee for moving the bill forward Thursday.
The 16-14 vote attached the legislation to a $56 billion spending measure to finance transportation and housing programs. But the bill faces a White House veto threat and a likely filibuster if GOP leaders try to bring it to the Senate floor. Panel chair Thad Cochran, a Mississippi Republican, opposed the tandem truck amendment.