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Government and Politics

Ohio may increase truck-weight limit
Fracking trucks may have prompted the legislature to act

Mark Urycki
County engineers fear heavier trucks will damage county and township roads
Courtesy of Rudell
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In The Region:

The Ohio Senate is considering a bill that would raise the load limits for trucks in Ohio. The bill, which appears to be prompted by the fracking boom, passed in the Ohio House last Thursday.
Last night, a lobbyist from Virginia came to the Summit County Council meeting to urge members to oppose it. Many county engineers in Ohio are already against it.

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A representative of an organization called the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks warned Summit County Council that the Ohio Senate may be as little as one week away from increasing weight limits on trucks in Ohio, from 80,000 to 90,000 pounds. Brian Shuford said the larger trucks will do more damage. His organization is funded by the railroad industry, which has a vested interested in competing with the trucking industry     

But the government affairs liaison for the Summit County Engineer told council her office agrees. 

Heidi Swindell says state officials indicated this might be coming last year, so many counties signed memoranda of understanding with trucking companies.
“It’s a case-by-case scenario, but mostly the memorandum says if we need to build-up a road better for your trucks to go across, the company needs to bear that cost, or if it damages the road, the company has to bear that cost. But with the higher load we might be seeing more damage. “

Trucks can lessen the pounds per square inch load by adding more axles, but that doesn’t help the stress on bridges. Ohio reportedly has more bridges than any state other than Texas.   

“Since Summit County has been in existence, we’ve been building bridges in a certain way so all 317 bridges have been built for 80,000 [pounds]."  

Swindell says the County Engineers Association of Ohio is against the higher loads and wants officials to speak out against it. The association estimates the total cost to Ohio counties for handling the increased truck weights at $40 million. Several members of Summit County Council said they have contacted area state senators to urge a "no" vote on the increased weight limit.  

Listener Comments:

Congratulations, We have all been duped....Brian Shuford of the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks (CABT)doesn't care about infrastructure or safety on Ohio's highways. He and his fellow lobbyist against raising the GVW limit are solely funded by the railroad lobby which is only concerned with railroad profits not safety or infrastructure. .....Raising those limits would have reduced business bureaucracy (you can run 90,000 Lbs GVW now with a Permit and Fee) increasing Ohio's Business and it's economy............ Those deep pockets succeeded in removing the language to raise the limits this week in the Ohio State Senate Transportation Committee in HB35 (now HB51). Money well spent lobbying under one auspice while really advocating another .....How's it feel to be had Ohio !

Posted by: FreddywithaY Schulz (Akron) on March 11, 2013 7:03AM
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