Cover Story
Prepare for your vote

The phrase “midterm election” leaves many with the unfortunate perception that it just isn’t a big deal. It’s halftime in the grand scheme of election cycles, giving the impression that it’s simply not as important. Nothing could be further from the truth. The election serves as a progress report.

The stakes are high in midterm elections, especially this year.

There are an astounding number of elected officials on ballots throughout the country at all levels of government. See box at right for more details.

At the state level, nearly three-quarters of states will vote on who will be their next governor. Candidates in 15 states are vying to keep their grip on the governor’s chair, and four candidates are trying to reclaim their spot after once holding office.

Heading into Election Day it makes sense to take a look in the rearview mirror at some significant actions taken by these candidates who are once again out there asking for your vote.

A sampling of significant trucking-related issues that have been enacted in state legislatures during the past few years includes Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s 2009 decision to eliminate split speed limits on rural interstates. This year he signed into law a bill to permit the state to partner with private groups to complete the long-sought Illiana Expressway project.

This spring, Iowa Gov. Chet Culver signed into law a bill that authorizes all commodities loaded on trucks with six or seven axles to haul 96,000 pounds on non-interstate highways.

Idaho Gov. “Butch” Otter acted in 2007 to open more roads in the state to heavier trucks. State law already allowed tractor-trailers to weigh up to 105,500 pounds. And multiple trailer trucks with overweight permits can weigh up to 129,000 pounds. Otter put pen to paper in support of a bill expanding the miles of roads affected from 850 miles to 1,200 miles.

Gov. Rick Perry grabbed the attention of truckers back in 2003 with the approval of his pet project to create the Trans-Texas Corridor. The proposed corridor would cut across Texas from the Mexican border to Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Along with the vast number of political races on ballots, voters in numerous states also will decide on various transportation-related issues. Among them is an effort in California to suspend the state’s landmark greenhouse gas reduction law until unemployment falls to less than 5 percent.

Colorado voters will cast ballots on whether they want to prohibit the state from borrowing, forbid local governments from borrowing unless approved by voters and require debt to be repaid within 10 years.

In Georgia, a ballot question will decide whether to authorize the state DOT to sign contracts for multiyear projects with only part of the money on hand to start.

Cities that include Anaheim, CA, and Houston will vote on whether to ban red-light cameras and speed cameras.

Voters who are interested in brushing up on these and other noteworthy bills that have been brought before lawmakers in their home state the past few years can visit ooida.com and click on “Issues & Actions.” You can also visit landlinemag.com and click on “Legislative Watch.”

Two websites for sifting through the rhetoric of political ads are factcheck.org or politifact.com.

Truckers who do not have Web access – or who have questions or need assistance – can call the OOIDA Membership Department at 800-444-5791, Ext. 4906. LL

July Digital Edition