“We have to remind lawmakers that, in truth, bigger trucks would come at huge taxpayer expense while threatening lives on the highways and wrecking our roads and bridges,” Michael Gaynor, a national field director for GoRail, told the Wadsworth Post (Ohio), as quoted in a December 12, 2012 story. The Post further indicates that Mr. Gaynor “is lobbying on behalf of the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks,” although reporter Glenn Wojciak stops short of drawing the conclusion – easily demonstrated – that CABT is itself a creation of, and entirely funded by, rail interests. In general,Wojciak’s story gives more space to rail’s allegations than to rebuttals from the Coalition for Transportation Productivity.
Our observation is that the railroad lobby has anticipated the re-introduction of the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act in 2013 and is already focusing on the constituents of legislators who supported SETA in the 112th Congress. (Wadsworth lies within Ohio’s 16th district, which Rep. Jim Renacci (R) represents. Rep. Renacci is a SETA co-sponsor in the current Congress.)
Meanwhile, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri), rail has been incrementally reducing its own commitment to safety, measured in terms of its support for Operation Lifesaver, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising public awareness of safe practices at rail crossings. Todd Frankel’sDecember 10, 2012 story, Rail safety group shrinks as danger grows, notes that railroads have been gradually withdrawing both funding and personnel from the organization – on the order of 40% – over the past 30 years.
Background can be found at this link.