OOIDA opposes heavier trucks for Idaho

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 5/21/2014

In a letter to a congressional committee this week, OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer says Idaho should not get special treatment to increase the size and weight of trucks on its interstates.

Idaho conducted a pilot study of trucks weighing up to 129,000 pounds on its own state roads. A provision inserted by lawmakers into an otherwise routine spending bill, known as an appropriations bill, aims to expand the limit on Idaho interstates.

Spencer wrote to the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations to reject the truck size-and-weight provision, pointing out that the U.S. DOT has yet to complete a congressionally mandated study of truck size and weight.

“Not only is the expansion of existing weight limits on these roads outside of the highway reauthorization process, but this provision comes as the Department of Transportation is conducting a Congressionally-mandated study on truck size and weight provisions nationally,” Spencer wrote.

“This study should be allowed to continue without Congress passing legislation, such as the Idaho provision, which would put heavier trucks on Interstate Highway System miles where they currently are not permitted.”

Congress froze weight limits on interstates in 1991. Unless a state was already exceeding the standard set in 1991, the maximum allowed on the national system is 80,000 pounds on five axles.

“Current federal Interstate System weight limits were put in place to halt an ‘arms race’ between states attempting to garner favor with major shippers as a way to attract business,” Spencer wrote.

“Today’s generally uniform limits focus attention on the national nature of our Interstate System. The Idaho provision, a state-wide allowance of trucks on currently designated Interstate Highway miles above the existing Interstate weight cap, would be a step backwards from this sensible approach.”

Spencer adds that Idaho had a chance to increase truck weights to keep up with neighboring states prior to the 1991 freeze and lawmakers chose not to. He also said that 90 percent of trucking is made up of small businesses that oppose efforts by shippers, receivers and large carriers to increase size-and-weight limits.

Meanwhile, the Idaho Transportation Department is taking comments through June 13 on its pilot program to test 129,000-pound trucks on 5 miles of Idaho 77 near Declo, 6 miles of Idaho 25 near Rupert and 12 miles of Idaho 25 near the I-84 junction in Paul. To file comments on the state pilot program, visit itd.idaho.gov and click on the icon that says “129,000 lbs. Truck Routes.

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