Ohio truckers help beat back push for heavier trucks

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 3/12/2013

A push in Ohio to increase truck weights on certain roadways throughout the state has been sidelined. Senate Transportation Chairwoman Gayle Manning’s office confirmed on Tuesday, March 12, that a provision to authorize trucks to weigh up to 90,000 pounds on non-interstate and local roads has been removed from the state transportation budget bill.

The proposal’s defeat follows a Senate Transportation Committee hearing to discuss the budget bill – HB35. The House-approved bill initially called for boosting truck weights on affected roads from 80,000 pounds to 90,000 pounds. All commodities would have been 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 the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, provided testimony that said 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.

OOIDA Member Andy Young of North Ridgeville, OH, spoke at the Senate Transportation Committee hearing. One issue that he addressed is a perception that the trucking industry would benefit from the change. He pointed out that shippers and receivers would benefit, but small-business operators would not.

“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.”

He also told lawmakers that the changes would jeopardize the safety of commercial drivers and the motoring public.

“Vehicle stability, mobility, and maneuverability would be substantially reduced placing lives on Ohio’s highways at a new risk.”

OOIDA 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).

OOIDA issued a Call to Action to Ohio truck drivers about the heavier truck rule. The communication noted 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.”

“Land Line Now” Staff Reporter Reed Black contributed to this report.

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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