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How many times have you been hauling freight on a rural road only to have to take a wide detour because the bridge you want to cross for the quickest way to your destination is posted as limited weight? Well, you aren't the only trucker to swear at a map when planning your route and you see how many extra miles and time you will have to put in because a bridge or a road can't take your load weight.
Rural roads, where nearly half of all truck vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) occur, are crucial for domestic production and export of agriculture, mining, and energy commodities, as well as the quality of life for all Americans. Yet to find a safe bridge, heavy trucks hauling in rural areas often must traverse three-times the distance as in metro areas.
Fortunately, help is coming down the road via the Department of Transportation's Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success (ROUTES), a major new initiative to support transportation needs in rural America.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao announced the initiative at the annual meeting of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials in St. Louis, Missouri.
"Rural America, which has a disproportionately high rate of fatalities and is historically neglected, needs to have its transportation needs addressed," said Secretary Chao.
In a Washington Times op-ed, the Secretary wrote, "ROUTES will help rural communities access federal transportation grant programs and provide user-friendly information to these communities to assist in applying for discretionary grants… to achieve national transportation infrastructure goals. The ROUTES Initiative will involve not just highway infrastructure but airports and transit as well. ROUTES and other administration efforts will provide rural areas with increased access to grant applications. And all of America will be better off for it."
Representatives of the ROUTES Council are now participating in conferences throughout the country to interact closely with rural communities on their transportation infrastructure challenges and needs. If you want to have a say in how the initiative will affect your job as a trucker and more you can email [email protected] or call: 202-366-4544.
And stay with us at Country Supply for updates on this issue and more trucking news.
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