OTA enjoys 53-foot win

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Canadian carriers will be able to use 53-foot tridem trailers in Michigan starting next year, thanks in large part to the efforts of the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA).

A Bill sponsored by Representative Judson Gilbert to amend the Michigan Vehicle Code was passed in the State Senate in early March by a vote of 36-0, after some last minute negotiations between the association and Michigan trucking interests seeking a phase-in of the new configuration.

The House of Representatives is expected to concur with the Senate’s phase-in amendment and Governor George Engler could sign the Bill into law by the time you read this.

Under the Senate Bill, Michigan will begin allowing a third axle under a 53-foot trailer in April 2003.

The bill also amended the Michigan Vehicle Code to specify all semi-trailers longer than 50 feet would have to have a wheelbase of 37.5 to 40.5 feet, plus or minus six inches, measured from the kingpin to the centre of the rear axle assembly.

This amendment, which takes effect immediately, addresses the concerns of those trucking companies doing business between Ontario and California (traversing Michigan) with fixed wheelbase equipment.

OTA president, David Bradley, hailed the Bill’s passage, “as a harmonization victory that will improve flexibility and standardization of an important truck configuration on both sides of the border.” Michigan and Ontario are each other’s largest trading partners.

OTA’s second successful foray into Michigan in the past two years, this Bill builds on the fleet group’s hard-fought Michigan Single Business Tax victory.

“We are very appreciative of the fact that the Michigan legislators, the Michigan bureaucracies, the Michigan Trucking Association and other business groups have been so responsive and willing to act on reasonable and well thought out solutions to problems,” says Bradley.

“It has been a model of international cooperation and government having the will to do the right thing.”

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