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Congressman introduces dry bulk axle variance bill

May 19, 2023
National Tank Truck Carriers president voices support for the long-sought legislation, one of four supply-chain bills to be included in May 23 markup package

Rep. Rick Crawford, a Republican from Arkansas, this week introduced four bills designed to correct supply-chain problems, including a 10% axle variance for dry bulk tractor-trailers long sought by National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC).

Crawford, chairman of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, which is part of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is working to include the bills in a broad supply chain package next week, according to a news release on the Congressman’s website.

“NTTC applauds the House of Representatives, particularly Congressman Crawford as sponsor and Congressman [Salud] Carbajal as co-sponsor, on the introduction of H.R. 3318 to establish an axle weight variance for dry bulk transportation,” Ryan Streblow, NTTC president and CEO, said in the release. “Today’s dry bulk commercial vehicles are underfilled to account for content shift during transit, which means less efficiency, more trucks on the road adding highway wear and tear, and increased costs to the American people.

“Thanks to H.R. 3318, a bipartisan and common-sense solution, tank trucks hauling essential goods like flour and grain can be granted an axle weight variance to maximize their loads while remaining within current federal weight guidelines.

“NTTC is grateful for this initiative, as the American public will benefit from a more efficient transportation system.”

The bill addresses the issue of dry bulk commodities like flour shifting in route, thereby potentially putting the truck out of compliance with current axle-weight regulations. NTTC previously aimed to include the variance in the Farm Bill.

“Strengthening our supply chains requires a range of solutions—but few are as commonsense as making sure we’re allowing for the realities of basic physics,” said Carbajal, a California Democrat. “Providing this variance standard would ensure that while trucks are still meeting safe weight limits, they are also given the flexibility to transport critical goods across our nation.

“I am glad to reach across the aisle with Rep. Crawford to introduce this bipartisan fix, which will not only provide important relief to our carriers, but also reduce congestion and boost productivity in America’s agriculture, manufacturing, and other industries.”

Crawford also introduced bills that address DRIVE Safe Act integrity, streamlining the infrastructure project approval process, and rolling stock protection.

“Since the new Congress was sworn in, we have held several hearings to learn directly from stakeholders where our supply chain falls short,” Crawford said. “These bills address important elements of these concerns and offer solutions that will improve how goods move throughout the nation for years to come. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to develop a robust package that will strengthen and expand our supply chain by removing barriers, improving efficiency, and directing investment.” 

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