Advocates at Odds Over Increasing Truck Sizes, as Data Show 20 Percent of W.Va. Bridges 'Poor'
More than 1,400 bridges across West Virginia are in “poor” condition, according to the Federal Highway Administration. According to a new report by the agency, 1,444 bridges in the state, or nearly 20 percent, are in disrepair, the second highest rate in the country. Some advocacy groups are voicing concerns that the state's infrastructure problems could worsen if a federal proposal to allow larger cargo trucks to hit the road is approved.
Advocacy groups are dueling over a proposal to increase the cap on the size of freight trucks allowed on the roads. The Coalition Against Bigger Trucks, an advocacy group, is asking Congress to oppose an increase in truck size or weight. According to a press release from the coalition, companies like Anheuser-Busch, Amazon and FedEx are lobbying Congress to increase size limits for trucks, from 28 feet to 33 feet.
A lobbying group that represents these companies, called Americans for Modern Transportation, argues their proposal would add capacity and efficiency and would not increase the current 80,000-pound federal cap on truck weight.
But some argue that even at their current weight limit, trucks are having a costly impact on local governments. Several officials in West Virginia recently signed a letter, asking that policy makers consider infrastructure costs big trucks put on local communities. 1000 other local government leaders across the country also signed the letter.