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Bill To Increase Truck Weight Passes In Idaho

March 19, 2013

By Evan Lockridge

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Lawmakers in Idaho’s House voted almost unanimously on Monday in favor a bill to make permanent a 10-year pilot project that allows trucks up to 129,000 pounds along 35 southern routes in the state.

The legislation, SB 1064, earlier passed a near unanimous vote in the Senate, meaning it now heads to Governor Butch Otter for his signature.

Opponents argue that making this program permanent will lead to more wear and tear on the Gem State’s routes and more truck crashes. Some also point to a study from 2010 by the governor’s transportation funding tax force that trucks don’t pay their fair share of taxes in Idaho, which drew a strong objection from the Idaho Trucking Association.

Supporters argue the program has been successful and there is no reason not to make it permanent.

This development came on Monday as a House Transportation committee passed separate legislation, SB 1117, involving truck weights which passed the Senate earlier. It would open up any non-interstate route to heavier trucks, though reportedly not as high as the bill that’s already passed the full House. SB 1117 now awaits consideration by the full House.

If the measure that has passed both chambers becomes law, local highway districts would have the final say on whether they would allow the heavier rigs, using criteria laid out by the Idaho Transportation Department. Opposition has been strong in the northern part of the state.

Some believe Governor Otter will sign the fully passed measure since he approved legislation in 2007 that expanded where heavier trucks can travel in the state.

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