Bill allowing heavier trucks headed to governor in Idaho

| 4/18/2003

A bill that would increase the weight of trucks on some of the state's roads has passed both houses of the Idaho Legislature and is headed to the governor's desk.

HB395 would allow multiple trailer trucks with overweight permits to 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.

The bill, which was introduced March 31, passed the House 49-15 on April 4 and passed the Senate 20-15 on April 11.

OOIDA, which opposes the measure, 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. Board member Bill Rode has testified against the bill and similar measures several times.

“In the past, everyone has blamed the potholes and brakes in the road on the trucks that weigh 80,000 pounds,” Rode testified. “What will 129,000 pounds do to the roads?”

Bill sponsor Rep. JoAn Wood, R-Rigby, said the measure was requested by “commodity interests,” identified by the Idaho Statesman as sugar beet, potato, wheat and grain, milk and phosphate industries.

Rode identified some of the companies involved: Amalgamated Sugar; Idaho Milk Producers; Idaho Hay Growers Association; Idaho Grain Growers Association; and Boise Cascade.

“The association strongly opposes any change in the size and weight of commercial trucks as the larger and heavier vehicles are more challenging to operate and the extra risks seem to compromise safety,” Rode said.