Ohio lawmakers continue talks on heavier trucks

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 3/11/2013

An Ohio Senate panel could soon vote on a bill that 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 Senate Transportation Committee met recently to discuss the state transportation budget bill. The House-approved 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.

Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray said the change would help raise revenue in the state without posing a safety hazard.

Opponents, including OOIDA, say the claim could not be further from the truth. They contend the change would make roadways less safe and speed wear and tear on pavement.

Owner-operator and OOIDA Member Andy Young of North Ridgeville, OH, told lawmakers the changes would benefit shippers and receivers but not small business operators.

“Increasing truck weight will lead to an increase in operating and equipment costs for small business truckers,” Young testified. “While large fleets can absorb these increased costs ... small business truckers do not have this luxury.”

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 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 in the Senate Transportation Committee.

OOIDA issued a Call to Action 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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