Press Releases

Idaho Delegation Introduces Transportation Bill

Washington, February 10, 2009

Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and James E. Risch and Congressmen Mike Simpson and Walt Minnick today introduced the Idaho Efficient Vehicle Demonstration Act of 2009, legislation that calls for portions of Idaho’s interstate roadways to be included in an existing freight transport pilot project in the State.

The State pilot project, created in 2003 by the Idaho State Legislature, allows vehicle combinations weighing up to 129,000 pounds to operate on designated routes within the State highway system, as long as those vehicles meet certain safety and efficiency standards.  The proposed bill would extend the same criteria to trucks traveling on Interstates 15, 84 and 86 – presently limited to 105,500 pounds – bringing them in line with weight restrictions on interstates in Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada.

"With high fuel prices taking a disproportionate hit on rural states like Idaho, we must allow for more cost-efficient transportation of goods to market," Senator Crapo said.  "Fewer trucks on the road carrying more produce makes sense, and Idaho’s vehicle laws should be able to match those of its neighboring states."

"With a focus on safety those vehicles should be allowed to operate on these designated routes through Idaho," Senator Risch said.  "It is important that a compatible system to those of adjacent states be adopted to provide efficiency in the trucking industry and ultimately for the consumers of the goods being transported."

"Our transportation system is the backbone of our economy, and the ability to transfer goods quickly and efficiently is essential for America," Congressman Simpson said. "By addressing this highway need, Idaho can play a larger role in transferring goods while still adhering to high safety standards."

"Pilot projects such as this one, provide critical information to policy-makers who set the standards for our highway infrastructure," said Congressman Minnick. "In these critical times, we need to look at every option for making Idaho an even better place to do business."

The bill, which was introduced in both chambers of Congress today, is supported by Idaho Governor Butch Otter, the Idaho Transportation Department, and a broad spectrum of Idaho businesses.  It now goes to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to be vetted and discussed ahead of the 2009 reauthorization of our nation's surface transportation policy.