An effort on the move at the Ohio statehouse would increase truck weights on certain roadways throughout the state.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association opposes truck size and weight increases. The Association lobbied successfully to remove language to increase truck size and weight in the law known as Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21).
The House Finance and Appropriations Committee voted 18-13 on Wednesday, Feb. 27, to advance the state transportation budget bill. The lengthy bill includes a provision to authorize trucks to weigh up to 90,000 pounds on non-interstate and local roads – up from 80,000 pounds. All commodities would be authorized for heavier travel.
Supporters say that truck size and weight increases are a win-win scenario. They contend that bigger loads reduce the number of trucks on highways and do not worsen safety and pavement conditions.
OOIDA officials say that argument could not be further from the truth. They point to a congressionally mandated pilot program in Vermont. A Federal Highway Administration report notes that “the higher axle weights of these trucks increased estimated pavement damage” by about 12 percent.
“This translates into significant increases in both pavement maintenance and repair costs because of the need for more frequent work and increased vehicle operating costs due to damaged pavement.”
The study also found that crash rates increased by 10 percent on Vermont interstates and by 24 percent on non-interstates during the pilot period.
The bill – HB35 – would also allow one special overweight hauling permit for in-state trips of up to 150 miles. Permits would be specific to the destination, not the route.
Opponents, including OOIDA, say the change would make it all but impossible to track road damage from heavier loads.
Another component of the plan would permit trucks to travel up to two miles from the Ohio Turnpike without an oversize or overweight permit as long as a permit wasn’t required to travel the toll road.
In addition, it would also forgive a 2,000-pound axle weight overage.
HB35 awaits further consideration on the House floor.
OOIDA soon will issue a Call to Action to Ohio truck drivers encouraging them to contact their state lawmakers about the heavier truck provisions.
To view other legislative activities of interest for Ohio, click here.
Land Line Magazine Associate Editor David Tanner contributed to this report.
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