Trying to haul a load across the western United States can be a size and weight nightmare. Montana and Utah, for instance, both allow LCVs of up to 129,000 pounds. But to get from one state to the other, you have to go through Idaho, which only allows up to 105,000 pounds. Different axle ratings in each states mean you can load legal in one state and be illegal in another, even if the gross weight is the same.
The Western Governors Assn. last week passed a resolution to take steps to work on this problem.
At the WGA's annual meeting, the association's board of directors approved a resolution that, in addition to a number of unrelated topics on transportation in the West, set up a roundtable "to address truck operating and highway issues." Based on the recommendations of the roundtable, WGA may prepare a proposal to the Secretary of Transportation and Congress to establish a pilot program among interested states.
AAA opposed the action. "A resolution to 'harmonize' truck sizes and weights for western states is a step to overturn Congressional action," said Robert Darbelnet, AAA president and CEO. "Such a step is premature at best, given the woeful lack of safety and infrastructure damage data."
There's no doubt that the federal freeze on truck sizes and weights presents a stumbling block, says Dave Galt, administrator, Montana Department of Transportation Motor Carrier Services Division. Western states were looking into harmonizing their regulations before the freeze. But the resolution doesn't automatically mean higher weights. "It's conceivable some load limits might have to be reduced," he says.
The resolution also called for sending a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater, asking him to include a "Western Scenario" in the Federal Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Study.
"We think it's possible that some of the truck costs [in the study] are misstated regarding the West," Galt says. "We want to make sure actual operations are analyzed."
For more information, visit the WGA's web site at http://www.wga.org.