Indiana, Connecticut advance bills to authorize some heavier loads

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 4/3/2013

Certain commodities in Indiana and Connecticut could soon get authorization for heavier loads.

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 new federal transportation law.

In Indiana, the Senate Homeland Security, Transportation and Veterans Affairs Committee voted on Tuesday, April 2, to advance a bill that would authorize the Indiana Department of Transportation, or a local authority, to grant permits for transporting overweight divisible loads. Specifically, the rule change would cover metal commodities and agricultural hauls.

INDOT spokeswoman Abby Weingardt said that changes are needed to align Indiana with differing rules on similar loads in neighboring states.

“We’re situated in a region that creates some logistical concerns when moving goods,” Weingardt told panel members before the vote. “The changes would mirror the commodities allowed through their permitting systems.”

Sen. Jim Arnold, D-LaPorte, expressed concern about the heavy loads getting access to various roadways. Instead, Arnold said he would prefer that affected loads have limited access.

Affected loads are those weighing more than 80,000 pounds that can be separated or reduced to meet specific regulatory weight limits, and other requirements.

Divisible loads of metal commodities, such as coils, would be authorized to weigh up to 120,000 pounds. Maximum weights for divisible loads of agricultural goods would be 97,000 pounds.

The bill – HB1481 – awaits further Senate consideration. House lawmakers already approved it by unanimous consent.

A Connecticut bill would authorize 100,000-pound loads of agriculture products.

The Joint Committee on Transportation voted to advance a bill that would permit affected loads to increase by 20,000 pounds – up from 80,000 pounds.

Advocates say the switch is needed because neighboring states already permit the heavier weight. As a result, they say that farmers and truck drivers suffer.

Truckers in the state say that the switch sought in SB1078 would result in fewer trips and less pay.

OOIDA encourages truckers in Indiana and Connecticut to contact their state lawmakers about the issue.

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

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