The Soy Transportation Coalition recently published, "Heavier Semis: A Good Idea?" – a study analyzing the likely results of expanding semi weight limits over the federal highway system.
The study compares and contrasts the potential impact of the current 80,000 pound, five axle semi configuration and an expanded 97,000 pound, six axle configuration on three areas: motorist safety, infrastructure integrity, and cost savings and efficiency gains for the soybean industry. The goal of the study is to highlight whether expanding semi weight limits is a viable and common sense approach for enhancing transportation capacity and mitigating highway congestion.
Ed Ulch, a soybean producer from Solon, Iowa, and board member of STC argues, "The soybean industry and agriculture, in general, is heavily dependent upon our nation's highways and interstates to transport the products that ultimately find their way onto the dinner plate. Unfortunately, this is a system that is severely congested and underfunded. In commissioning this study, the Soy Transportation Coalition sought to explore not only an option for increasing needed capacity over our road system, but doing so in a way that is not to the detriment of motorist safety or wear and tear."
Our nation's highways are heading for trouble
"What Americans produce, manufacture, purchase and consume requires a transportation system to deliver products in a cost effective, reliable manner," says Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition. "By all estimates, our nation's highways and interstates are increasingly incapable of accommodating these demands - resulting in a further drag on our overall economy, including the agricultural sector. Increasing semi weight limits offers the potential of relieving a degree of pressure on this overly congested system.
However, because it is a hotly contested, controversial issue, it was prudent for the soybean farmers to take an inventory of the available research and analysis on this subject as well as determine the potential cost savings and efficiency gains realized by the soybean industry. We believe our report will add value to the overall debate."
The full STC study, "Heavier Semis: A Good Idea?" as well as an executive summary can be accessed at the STC's Web site, www.soytransportation.org.
Established in 2007, the STC is comprised of seven state soybean boards, the American Soybean Association and the United Soybean Board. The goal of the organization is to position the soybean industry to benefit from a transportation system that delivers cost effective, reliable and competitive service.