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Simpson’s Idaho Truck Weight Language Advances

Bill provides common sense reform allowing Idaho to be on equal footing with its neighbors.

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson supported final passage of the Fiscal Year 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill, which passed the House 216 -210 late last night.  The bill includes Simpson’s language increasing truck weights on Idaho Interstate 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.   “Last year we came closer than ever to this legislation becoming a reality,” said Congressman Simpson. “It is a common sense reform that not only puts Idaho on equal footing with its neighbors, but actually extends our system’s life by making it work better.”

A higher weight limit means trucks must have more axels than traditional trucks, distributing the weight in such a way that there is less weight on each axel than a standard truck.  It also would reduce the number of trucks on the road.  

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.

“Last night was a big step forward for Idaho business and agriculture,” said Simpson. “This bill 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, as well as British Columbia, Canada, 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, which are often more narrow, with less lanes and more curves and hills than the Interstate.

“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 is 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 now need to be conferenced with a Senate version of the same bill before it can be signed into law by the President.