VOTE NOW! We need you to vote in the Politico Poll
As the Chairman of NASSTRAC’s Advocacy Committee, in concerns me when a shipper asks the following: “Why should I get informed, engaged and involved in what is happening in the transportation industry?”
My response is always the same: “Because you can make a difference!” It may not be a “big deal” to you or some type of momentous event, but over the years I have witnessed that the impact a small action here or a small action there can collectively make a big difference.
With that thought in mind, we are passing along a request we received from our friend John Runyan, the Executive Director at the Coalition for Transportation Productivity (CTP). This is a great group that is working to get some common sense legislation to increase the weight allowed from 80,000 to 97,000 pounds on properly configured trucks and designated highways/roads. If passed, this change would save billions of dollars, billions of gallons of diesel fuel annually, and significantly reduce carbon emissions from trucks.
Here is John’s request:
Politico, a DC based publication widely read on Capitol Hill, is running a week long poll on the truck weight issue that seems as if it was crafted by our friends in the rail industry. I’d like to ask for your assistance in generating support for our position by clicking on the link below and then selecting
“Yes” to the question of whether the federal truck weight limit should be lifted from 80,000 to 97,000 pounds. We have no choice but to respond and anything you can do to generate support for our position would be appreciated. Here’s the link: http://polldaddy.com/poll/7017761/
Since they will be closing the poll at 5:00pm on Friday, April 12, 2013, you need to click on this link now and cast your vote.
Having been actively involved with this issue for over 15 years, there are some important points to consider. First, John mentions the railroads in his request. The reason for this is because the railroads have gone to great lengths to fight this issue. They cite safety even though the data shows that with the operating restrictions for heavier loads, the changes in equipment, and the fact that you need fewer trucks to move the freight, the safety issues have been addressed. They also cite the “wear and tear” factor on the highways, even though the additional axle on a truck disperses the weight and creates a softer “footprint” on the highway. The critics raise one valid area that should be, and has been addressed by CTP: How heavier trucks could affect bridges. Additional information is available at CTP’s web site.
So why do the railroads really oppose heavier weights? Because they are against anything that enhances competition and gives shippers more options. In the past, railroad funded “shadow groups” have used all sorts of scare tactics to fight against heavier trucks. For example, these groups have no problem showing gruesome pictures of accidents involving trucks and accidents. But were you to turn the tables and show pictures of accidents involving trains and cars and talk about the need for positive train control, they’d most likely be the first to complain about the “scare mongers” who “attack” the rail industry.
When you go to the Politico Poll, you might question (as I did) who drafted the questions. But, let’s not waste our time on that type of “stuff.” Practically speaking, sometimes the people who create these polls do so for the express purposes of being able to go to their Legislators and claim that an overwhelming majority is in favor of, or against some particular position. And that is why you should click on the link and go to the site and vote for safer and heavier trucks. It will take you less than one minute. And remember, little things can make a big difference. So go and vote right now; you’ll be glad you did.