There’s been a lot going on in Washington that has potential to make traveling on some of our roads even more scary. I know, it’s hard to believe things are actually happening in DC, but it’s true.
As most of you know I volunteer for the Truck Safety Coalition. One of the things the group does is monitor Congress, looking for attempts from some organizations and lobbyists to get around the safety regulations, to gain exceptions in order to get heavier or larger trucks on the roads. The American Trucking Association (ATA) is always looking for ways to make more profits and they don’t much care who ends up paying. And in the end, bigger, heavier trucks cost all of us; some of us pay with our lives or the lives of our loved ones, but everyone pays with taxes used to repair the roads and bridges that heavier and larger trucks damage.
So lately there’s been a push for exemptions for heavier trucks in some states. The House has already passed a bill that allows heavier trucks on some Wisconsin highways. Now there is a similar bill in the Senate. It’s S 1299 and it’s up for discussion right now. They’re going to try to get it to pass by consent. I guess this means that if no one objects the bill will pass. It will allow heavier trucks on federal highways in Wisconsin. If the Senate passes it’s bill and the House already has a bill it’s only a matter of time, and not much time, before heavier trucks will be rolling on federal highways in Wisconsin.
You might wonder why I care about what happens in Wisconsin. After all I don’t live there. You probably don’t either. So why care what they do? I care because this is the way the ATA works. They get an exemption here, an exemption there. Pretty soon the rules are no longer consistent on federal highways between states. Then they pressure states who haven’t increased weights to go along with the plan in order to be competitive and keep business in their state. You can guarantee that once weights are increased in WIsconsin the ATA will be moving on to a state near you. Maybe even your state.
80% of Americans are opposed to heavier trucks. In my experience politicians will tell you they are against heavier trucks in their jurisdictions too. But when it comes right down to it, the trucking industry has money. A lot of money. And money talks. No one is talking about the other side of this issue — the cost to regular people like you and me.
So you can help. Call your Senators. Ask them to object to the Baldwin/ Johnson Senate Bill 1299. Remind them that even though this is in Wisconsin it’s a FEDERAL highway, so it’s relevant to all of us. We only need one Senator to object and they won’t have their consensus. Maybe it will be your Senator that makes the difference, your Senator that is brave enough to stand up for what is right, maybe it will be your Senator that will put safety before profits.
Please call 202-224-3121 and ask for your Senator. (You each have two Senators…please call them both if you can!) You can leave a message with a real person. It only takes a minute. Your vote counts. You count. If we all call our Senators tomorrow (Friday 8/2) one of them is BOUND to object to this bill.
We can do this, but I need your help. Lots of people thank you for all your support.
I do too.