To protest higher fines for overweight log trucks scheduled to become effective this week, logging companies, log truckers and landowners in Maine are threatening to close off more than a million acres of land, including 3,000 miles of snowmobile trails. According to the organizers of the protest, the higher fines threaten the livelihoods of small trucking businesses and the future of the state's wood products industry.
State officials say the higher fines approved last year are needed to protect Maine roads. Current law allows gross weights to 100,000 lbs. on six axles on state highways.
While fines start at amounts above 100,000 lbs., the big increases kick in when a truck is overweight by 21 percent or more. For overweights of 21-30 percent, the fine is $1,530 for each percent over 20 percent plus $135. For overweights of 31-40 percent, the fine is $2,880 for each percent over 30 percent plus $150. For overweights of 41 percent or more, the fine is $4,380 for each percent over 40 percent plus $175.
A Maine Department of Transportation spokesman said the fines were increased to provide a deterrent to being excessively overweight.