WASHINGTON – UTU members can make a difference in Congress, and your emails and phone calls — as requested by the UTU International — helped derail an attempt by House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) to permit longer and heavier killer trucks on more of the nation’s highways.

The enabling provision – to permit extended use of triple trailers and trucks weighing almost 100,000 pounds — was pulled from a proposed highway funding bill by committee members following significant public opposition made known to members of Congress.

Instead, the committee voted to delay consideration of the provision for three years so as to properly study the impact of longer and heavier trucks, which includes the shifting of freight from rails to the highway.

The Association of American Railroads, citing a study out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, estimated that extending, nationwide, current limited use of longer and heavier trucks would reduce rail traffic by 19 percent and put almost eight million more trucks on the road.

“Before we put the public safety at risk, we should do the study and make an informed decision,” said Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.).

The Senate previously voted for a study on the issue.