Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the conference report of the surface transportation bill, commonly referred to as the “Highway Bill,” which included a weight exemption for RVs in the Federal Bridge Formula.
“I am pleased that my Republican colleagues and I were able to work together to make a common sense change that will help the RV industry preserve and create jobs,” U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., stated in a news release “The RV industry is crucial to northern Indiana’s economy. RV manufacturing has long been a major economic driver in places like Elkhart by directly employing thousands in RV plants and thousands more in suppliers’ factories.”
The Federal Bridge Formula had previously set a maximum gross axle weight of 20,000 pounds for a vehicle’s single rear axle, while buses, although similar in design to RVs, had a single rear axle weight exemption of up to 24,000 pounds. With the passage of the conference report of the surface transportation bill, RVs now also have that exemption.
As a result of the weight exemption, a second rear axle does not need to be added to an RV. A second rear axle would add about $10,000 to the cost of the vehicle, without adding any perceivable value to the purchaser of the vehicle. Therefore, the exemption will help RV manufacturers produce RVs and allow dealers to sell more affordable RVs, supporting the RV industry and creating jobs.
Last January, Donnelly and his Republican colleagues, Hoosier Congressmen Marlin Stutzman, Mike Pence and Larry Bucshon, sent a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee advocating for this exemption on behalf of the RV industry.