Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today supported final passage of the Fiscal Year 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill, which passed the House 229 to 192. The bill included Simpson’s language increasing truck weights on Idaho Interstates Highways to 129,000 pounds.
The increase, above the current allowance of 105,500 pounds, puts Idaho in line with neighboring states and with Idaho’s state highway system, which already allows 129,000 pound trucks.
The language comes after completion of a comprehensive ten year pilot study in Idaho which found the weight increase would have no significant impact on roadway safety, nor would it impact the structural soundness of Idaho’s bridges or pavement. The increase will actually ease the impact on infrastructure because heavier trucks use more axels and more evenly distribute weight than conventional trucks. It would also mean fewer trips would be required to move the same amount of freight, leading to fewer trucks on the road.
“Today was a big step forward for Idaho business and agriculture,” said Simpson. “This language has long been sought by the Governor, the Idaho State Legislature, the Idaho Transportation Department, and business and agriculture throughout Idaho because it will remove the competitive disadvantage Idaho businesses face and generate significant economic activity.”
Idaho’s current weight allowance is significantly less than that of neighboring states Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada, causing difficulty for producers who ship goods on the Interstate across and into Idaho. Additionally, heavier trucks are currently allowed to travel all throughout Idaho, but not where they should be travelling – on Idaho’s Interstates. Instead, they are navigating state highways, intersections, pedestrian areas, railroad tracks, and school zones.
Meanwhile, there are seven shipments “posted” and ready for pickup for every truck available in Idaho.
“This bill puts heavy trucks where they belong, on the Interstate,” added Simpson. “For centuries, our transportation system has been the backbone of our economy, and it remains so today. Our ability to move goods and people safely and efficiently across the country has made our economy the greatest in world history. But today that system is aging, reaching the end of its life in many cases or being stretched beyond what was originally intended. We need to implement common sense reforms to extend our system’s life by making it work even better. This language does that.”
The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill will next proceed to conference with the Senate version of the same bill.