Heavier trucks one step closer in Ohio

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 3/1/2013

A bill halfway through 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 voted on Thursday, Feb. 28, to advance the state transportation budget bill to the Senate. 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 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 heavier trucks increased pavement damage and crashes on Vermont roadways.

The two-year, $7.1 billion budget bill – HB35 – would also authorize 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 assignment to committee in the Senate.

OOIDA issued a Call to Action this week to Ohio truck drivers about the heavier truck rule. The communication notes that “the effort seems to be tied to similar efforts in other states to increase pressure on Washington, DC, to approve ATA’s initiative for 97,000 pounds on 6 axles – and then even higher weights on long doubles and triples for all roads.”

The Association encourages truckers to contact their state lawmakers about issue.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Ohio, click here.

Editor’s Note: You are welcome to share your thoughts with us about this story. Comments may be sent to state_legislative_editor@ooida.com.

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