Yesterday, Congressman Sanford Bishop (GA-02) and Congressman Rob Woodall (GA-07) introduced the bipartisan Freight Restriction Elimination for Safer Hauling (FRESH) Act, which would allow vehicles carrying perishable goods to operate on the Interstate Highway System at the same weight tolerances/limits that states allow on their respective state roads and highways.
Today, weight limits on federal highways force large trucks onto two-lane highways and rural roads that direct them through school zones, neighborhoods, and local business districts; roadways where drivers are more likely to encounter poor or changing roadway conditions and higher volumes of pedestrian and bicycle traffic. These inefficient routes are more dangerous than the Interstate, and when perishable goods are being transferred this way, safety and economic risks are high.
The FRESH Act balances our collective need to maintain safe roadways while simultaneously ensuring timely delivery of perishable goods by granting vehicles hauling such goods access to the Interstate system.
"I am proud to introduce this common-sense legislation to ensure our nation's perishable goods are safely and efficiently transported over our nation's roadways," said Congressman Bishop. "Current law encourages the diversion of large trucks into neighborhood roads, causing substantial damage and creating unnecessary risk. This bill will fix this problem and put large trucks back on the highway. It will increase the safety of our roads and help ensure perishable goods get where they are needed."
"One of my favorite things about serving in Congress is finding a better way to do things, and this bill does just that by keeping these oftentimes heavier vehicles on the Interstate system, a system that is well-designed to handle their operation," said Congressman Woodall. "Our federal laws should never jeopardize the safety of our communities, but unfortunately we've come across that scenario here." Woodall said a perversion in the law reroutes Interstate prohibited vehicles onto local streets. "We're sending these trucks away from infrastructure designed to handle it and over to the same surface streets on which our children walk home from school. We can do better for both operators hauling perishable goods as well as our friends and neighbors who want safe streets for their families, and our bill seeks to get that done."
"As the state with the highest timber harvest volume in the entire nation, the FRESH Act couldn't be more important in making log truck routes safer and more efficient in GA," said Georgia Forestry Association President & CEO, Andres Villegas. "The Georgia Forestry Association applauds Rep. Woodall's leadership on this bipartisan, common-sense measure to make Georgia's roadways safer while also enhancing routes for perishable goods.
"Too often, we see one-size-fits-all mandates that are simply not in tune with the practical realities of the real world, particularly when it comes to commercial trucking. We believe the FRESH Act strikes the right balance between the sensitivity of the logistics in hauling perishable products and maintaining the safety of both our drivers and the travelling public. The Georgia Ready Mixed Concrete Association looks forward to working with Representative Woodall, Representative Bishop, members of Congress, and other industry stakeholders on the passage of this important legislation," said Georgia Ready Mixed Concrete Association Executive Director, Jimmy Cotty.
"The National Ready Mix Concrete Association (NRMCA) applauds the efforts of Reps. Woodall and Bishop to safely increase the allowable weight for trucks hauling perishable goods traveling on federal highways. Increased weight limits will alleviate traffic congestion, increase safety, save millions on maintenance, and increase the productivity of large trucks -- including ready mixed concrete trucks. The FRESH Act is a common-sense proposal to simplify and streamline unnecessarily complex and restrictive federal rules, providing ready mix haulers with quicker and safer routes to job sites," said NRMCA Director of Government Affairs, Andrew Tyrrell.