Wicker, Blumenthal oppose bill rider that would force states to allow longer trucks

Sen. Roger Wicker has sent a letter opposing longer trucks to the senators on the committee that will handle the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development bill, which contains a rider that would force states to allow the longer trucks.

"We are writting to urge you and your colleagues on the Senate Approriations Committee to  oppose possible language that may come up during the Senate's consdieration of the FY 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill. This language would force states to accept double 33-foot-long trailers on all U.S. Highways," said the letter signed by Wicker and Sen. Richard Blumenthal. It was addressed to Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins -- who serves on the Appropriations Committee chaired by Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss, and is chairman of the Transportation Appropriations and Housing Subcommittee -- and Sen. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, another member of the committee.

Wicker and Blumenthal said the longer trucks would make highways less safe, would increase wear and tear on the roads and possibly put Mississippi trucking companies out of business.

The state Department of Transporation opposes the longer trucks, too.

"Please oppose any legislation with provisions related to nationwide changes in truck size under the jurisdication of the Senate Commerce Committee and truck weights under the jurisdiction of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee," the senators letter said.

The rider was added to a House version of the approprations bill. Rep. Steven Palazzo voted against an effort to remove the rider and voted for the whole bill.