OOIDA board member speaks against bill to allow larger trucks

| 3/11/2003

OOIDA board member Bill Rode testified recently against a bill in Idaho that would significantly increase the weight of trucks allowed on some Idaho roads. Despite his testimony, the bill moved forward to the full House.

Under HB282, multiple trailer trucks with overweight permits could weigh up to 129,000 pounds. The current restriction is 105,500 pounds.

“HB282 will only help a few large companies to get more freight hauled for less money, as they will need less trucks and drivers,” Rode told the House Transportation Committee during a hearing on the bill March 6. “HB282 will hurt the small business trucker here in Idaho.”

Rode pointed out a number of problems the larger trucks could cause, including:

  • Potential damage to bridges already in need of repairs
  • Safety concerns on the state’s hilly, curved two-lane roads – many of which would carry the larger trucks under the bill’s provisions.
  • Having the same freight hauled by fewer truckers would cut the number of trucking jobs in the state, further weakening Idaho’s economy.

In addition, he said the state, which like others is facing a fiscal crisis, would face significant road repair costs.

“In the past, everyone has blamed the pot holes and brakes in the road on the trucks that weight 80,000 pounds,” he said. “What will 129,000 pounds do to the roads?”

The Transportation Committee voted 8-5 on March 7 to recommend passage of HB282 by the full House. A spokeswoman for the Legislature said a final vote in that chamber was expected soon.

“It appears the skids are greased legislatively, and the only thing that’s going to keep it from passing will be a tremendous outcry from the motoring public in Idaho, and there ought to be that outcry,” Todd Spencer, executive vice president of OOIDA, said.

Under the bill, the heavier trucks would only be allowed on specified highways in the state, all in the southern half. They would still be banned from interstates.

The South Idaho Press reported Feb. 28 that the bill was supported by agribusiness interests in the state, but is opposed by railroad interests, despite the fact that the railroads do not serve the loads the trucks would carry, according to JoAnn Wood, Chairman of House Transportation and Defense Committee Transportation Department.

--by Mark H. Reddig, associate editor