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U.S. Congressman Jason Altmire (Pa.-04), a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, on Jan. 31 announced his opposition to a provision within the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act that would increase the size and weight restrictions on trucks that use America’s Interstates.
The bill, which authorizes surface transportation programs through Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, seeks to increase the truck weight limit from 80,000 pounds to 97,000 pounds.
Altmire issued the following statement regarding the bill:
“Proof that America’s roads and bridges cannot sustain an increase in truck weight only requires a look at the crumbling infrastructure in western Pennsylvania,” Congressman Altmire said. “Our region has some of the most structurally deficient bridges in the country, and allowing heavier trucks only puts Pennsylvanians at an added risk. Until we can come up with necessary funds to update and repair our transportation systems in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it would be irresponsible to allow this change to take effect.”
“We are very pleased that Congressman Altmire has taken a firm stance in support of highway safety and law enforcement in the Commonwealth” said Tom Armstrong, Member Services Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association. “Longer and heavier trucks are more dangerous and would threaten the roads and bridges we all use every day. We applaud him for rejecting the sweeping changes proposed in the House transportation reauthorization bill.”
According to a September 2010 report from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Pennsylvania has the largest number of structurally deficient bridges in the country. Of the 32,000 bridges in Pennsylvania owned by the state and the 7,000 highway bridges owned by local municipalities or other agencies, more than 5,490 were classified as structurally deficient. To meet the national average of structurally deficient bridges, PennDOT would need to reduce that number to approximately 2,700.
For more information from PennDOT, please click here.