Twin33s: Innovation is Creating Opportunity in the Shipping Industry

By JP Padres

Congress, in collaboration with the Biden Administration, is hard at work considering legislation that will shape how our economy recovers and operates in the future. Our policymakers now have the unique opportunity to rethink decades-old regulations, particularly in the shipping industry, that no longer serve their intended purpose and implement policy changes that enhance sustainability practices in private industry.

A simple and cost-free way for the federal government to make a significant impact to reduce CO2 emissions is to allow Twin 33 freight trucks to operate. It is estimated by Americans for Modern Transportation that if Twin 33s could operate in 2018, they would have saved 274 million gallons of fuel, reduced CO2 emissions by 3.12 million tons, and resulted in 3.36 billion vehicle miles traveled in the United States. Studies also revealed that Twin 33s move the same amount of goods with 18% fewer trips, which means there is less congestion on our highways.

Over 20 states, including Arizona, already recognize the positive environmental and economic impact of this type of vehicle and allow Twin 33 delivery trucks to operate. But because it’s not legal at the federal level yet, Twin 33 delivery trucks cannot cross state borders, which reduces shipping efficiency.

Twin 33s are two thirty-three-foot trailers attached to a freight truck cab. Currently, these types of trucks are only allowed to operate with two twenty-eight-foot trailers attached, even though there are other freight vehicles allowed to drive on the highway that are larger than a Twin 33. An increase in the size of a delivery vehicle doesn’t change the weight limit because operators still have to abide by the law and allow no more than 80,000 lbs of freight on the truck. Adding a conservative five feet to each trailer is incredibly beneficial to the shipping industry because not only is it more environmentally friendly, it increases cargo capacity and reduces costs for the consumer as more and more deliveries are being made across the country.

Over the past year, businesses rapidly adapted to a remote work environment and transformed their operating models to fit the growing e-commerce industry. The success of e-commerce businesses heavily depended on their shipping partners’ ability to safely and quickly deliver their products to paying customers. America’s shipping industry played one of the most important roles during the pandemic. Our cargo shippers delivered critical healthcare supplies, including medications and the coronavirus vaccine, while also keeping our economy open and operating through e-commerce.

E-commerce accounted for over 21% of all retail sales last year, which was a notable increase from 16% in 2019. In total, Americans spent $861 billion online with U.S. merchants over the course of 2020, and it’s expected to continue growing. Delivery services have always been an integral part of the U.S. economy, and this fact was amplified over the past year, which is why we need to make policy changes to allow cargo shippers to operate more efficiently while also reducing carbon emissions.

Most cargo shipping companies are already striving to become more sustainable and invest in innovative operations to reduce their carbon footprint, and Congress should aid their initiative by allowing Twin 33s to operate. I encourage you to support your local congress person or senator to move to allow drivers in Arizona to cross state lines by making these delivery trucks legal at the federal level.

JP Padres is an International Trade and Logistics Consultant, and Tucson Ward 3 City Council Candidate

Voters Deserve Opportunity to Decide if More Light Rail is Right for Phoenix

Building A Better Phoenix

It has been almost a month since our grassroots group—Building a Better Phoenix—turned in 40,000 signatures to give voters an opportunity to stop the disastrous $7 Billion dollar expansion of light rail in the city of Phoenix. 

Gathering twice the number of signatures required to qualify for the ballot in under 8 weeks was an extremely difficult task and would not have been accomplished without the hard work of concerned residents and small business owners throughout the city. The overwhelming support from the public has humbled us and shows how people from all different backgrounds can come together to help save a community.

We have also learned that our battle against the endless amounts of misleading information being published about our group and the alleged benefits of light rail has only begun.

Contrary to lies being told by politicians and rich special interests, we are not being led by the Koch Brothers or any other group. Building a Better Phoenix decided early on that we would not accept funding from any outside group to pay for the signatures needed to qualify for the ballot. This is a promise that we have kept. Unlike the opponents to our ballot measure that won’t disclose who is funding their misinformation campaign, we have been transparent throughout our signature gathering efforts.

It is also evident that the backers of light rail are now trying to sell the project on its fabricated economic benefits. If light rail is as good as they claim, then why were we kept in the dark about the South Phoenix extension reducing Central Avenue from four lanes to two? Why weren’t we told about the increase levels of crime light rail would bring? Why weren’t we notified that the traffic restrictions along the light rail line would cripple small businesses and make it extremely difficult for emergency vehicles to access our neighborhoods?

All we are trying to do is save our community from a stagnant permanent fixture that will increase crime, traffic congestion and bankrupt countless small businesses, many of which have been around for decades. It’s not that we are afraid of change. Change is great as long as it is a positive change. 

Seeing that most residents agree with our concerns, it appears that Valley Metro and Phoenix politicians are now preparing to ignore the will of the voters and move forward with the construction of the South Phoenix light rail line early next year. The message is clear: they don’t care what the public thinks or if the project is rejected at the ballot box, they intend to build it anyways. 

Their position is unbelievably arrogant and would put our transportation tax dollars at risk. It only makes sense that all planned light rail projects are postponed until after the vote. We hope that Phoenix and Valley Metro reconsider their reckless position and listen to the voters.

Our goal from the beginning was to give the residents of Phoenix an opportunity to cast an informative vote on either spending billions more on light rail or instead use those funds on other much needed transportation projects. We are proud that we have made it this far, and look forward to engaging in an honest, factual debate on the issue.   

Susan Gudino is treasurer for Building a Better Phoenix and is a South Phoenix resident. For more information on Building a Better Phoenix, please visit www.buildingabetterphx.com