Opposition grows to heavier trucks in Idaho

| Friday, January 30, 2004

Public opposition is growing in Idaho after the state enacted a new, higher weight limit for trucks on some state highways, The Spokane Spokesman-Review reported recently.

AAA Idaho told the newspaper that in a study by the organization, 59 percent of Idaho residents opposed the higher weights, while only 29 percent favored them.

Session Law Chapter 315 – passed as HB395 and signed into law by Gov. Dirk Kempthorne in May – became effective July 1, 2003. It allows multiple trailer trucks with overweight permits to weigh up to 129,000 pounds. The previous restriction was 105,500 pounds. In addition, the new law allows the larger trucks on only certain specified highways in the state.

However, the law contains a “sunset clause,” which will take the law off the books July 1, 2013, unless the Legislature renews it.

OOIDA opposed all three measures, saying they would 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 spoke out against the bills several times before various committees.

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

The Idaho Trucking Association has supported the increased weights, The Spokesman-Review reported, although the group is not seeking to expand them to additional routes.

Bill sponsor Rep. JoAn Wood, R-Rigby, said in early 2003 that the measure was requested by “commodity interests,” identified by the Idaho Statesman as sugar beet, potato, wheat and grain, milk and phosphate industries.