The U.S. House of Representatives voted 236-187 last week to reject proposed legislation that would have put heavier trucks on U.S. highways and cost billions of tax dollars in damaged bridges and roads.
The controversial measure, a proposed amendment to highway funding legislation, would have allowed trucks on U.S. highways to weigh up to 91,000 pounds. The proposal was designed to save money and time for shippers, but it would result in costing taxpayers more, as the trucks would damage the infrastructure.
Currently, trucks can weigh a maximum of 80,000 pounds. Increasing the weight limit would improve the efficiency of freight shipments and decrease the number of trucks traveling on the highways.
The railroad industry was among the groups opposing the proposed amendment because it would lose a significant amount of business if the legislation passed.
Safety advocates claimed that the increase weight would cause more deaths in traffic accidents. Others stated that it would cause more damage to roads, further compromising safety.
Supporters of the legislation said that freight tonnage is estimated to rise by 25 percent over the next 10 years, and allowing heavier trucks on U.S. highways would be safer than letting them travel on local and state roads, where they are already permitted to haul heavier loads.