Longer is better: fleet boss (May 24, 2002)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Speaking for the American Trucking Associations (ATA) at a house subcommittee hearing on highway congestion, a fleet executive recommended allowing longer, heavier trucks.

Michael S. Card, president of Combined Transport in Central Point, Ore., testified May 21 before the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Card is chairman of ATA’s Highway Policy Committee.

Pointing out the growth in truck transport of America’s freight, Card noted that “more trucks will be traveling more miles on a highway system that will see very little capacity expansion over the next dozen years. This is not a sustainable trend, and it should not be allowed to continue.”

Road building, however, is not enough to solve the problem, he said. A “multi-front assault on congestion” should include improvements in trucking productivity, better federal funding, the elimination of bottlenecks, effective Intelligent Transportation Systems, and the encouragement of telecommuting and carpooling.

“Perhaps the most promising approach to mitigating congestion is to reduce the number of trucks on American roads,” Card said. He compared this approach to carpooling — increasing capacity without increasing road lane-miles.

In addition, he said, driver productivity could be improved by changing hours of service regulations. And when highway planning is done at the state and local level, the process needs to address freight needs.

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