Idaho House passes heavyweight truck bill

| 3/14/2003

The Idaho House of Representatives has passed a bill that would increase the weight of trucks allowed on some Idaho roads.

Under HB282, multiple trailer trucks with overweight permits could weigh up to 129,000 pounds. The current restriction is 105,500 pounds. The trucks would only be allowed on specified highways in the state, all in the southern half.

The bill passed by a vote of 50-20 on March 13. It now heads to the Senate.

OOIDA, which opposes the bill, says it will put truckers out of work, cause further damage to the state’s roads, hurt Idaho’s already struggling economy and potentially create hazards for all motorists who use the state’s smaller two-lane highways.

“HB282 will only help a few large companies to get more freight hauled for less money, as they will need less trucks and drivers,” Eagle, ID, resident and OOIDA board member Bill Rode told the House transportation committee during a hearing on the bill March 6. “HB282 will hurt the small business trucker here in Idaho.”

“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.

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, JoAnn Wood, Chairman of the House Transportation and Defense Committee Transportation Department, said.

--by Mark H. Reddig, associate editor