Minnesota bill would increase truck weight limit

| 4/9/2007

A bill moving forward in the Minnesota Senate would increase the gross vehicle weight of trucks allowed on certain roads in the state by as much as 8.5 tons.

The Senate Transportation Committee voted to advance the bill to the Senate Taxes Committee that would permit truckers hauling timber, forest products and raw farm products to load heavier on state and county roads. Load limits on interstates would not change.

Sponsored by Sen. Tom Saxhaug, DFL-Grand Rapids, the measure – SF438 – would allow six-axle trucks with gross weights of 90,000 pounds and seven-axle trucks up to 97,000 pounds on the affected roadways. State law now limits trucks to 80,000 pounds.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation and others support the effort. They say boosting truck weight limits would reduce congestion by loading up more stuff on fewer trucks, the Winona Daily News reported.

Opponents, including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, say the proposed weight limits could cause problems down the road for truckers and other drivers. They are concerned about road safety and highway and bridge deterioration. Others say allowing certain trucks to haul heavier loads will lead to more trucks demanding similar privileges.