Gov. Kasich just signed house bill (HB) 51, the transportation budget, into state law. Many Ohioans are unaware of a provision the Ohio House of Representatives had inserted as an amendment to the bill, which would have raised truck weight limits up to 90,000 pounds.
County Engineers Association of Ohio led the fight to keep state law at 80,000 pounds. One of our biggest concerns is the traveling safety of Ohio citizens, especially as they get ready to hit the roads this spring and summer for their vacations.
Secondly, to increase truck weights, in civil engineering terms, there is an exponential relationship, not a linear relationship, when you talk about the additional damage of adding more weight to our county roads and bridges that are load-rated for 80,000 pounds.
Bigger, longer, heavier trucks barreling down Ohio’s two-lane highways are accidents waiting to happen. Do we really want to put the safety of Ohio’s families in the middle of this argument?
On top of it all, this provision would have cost taxpayers an estimated $45 million to re-evaluate more than 26,000 county bridges.
Thanks goes to the Ohio Senate for their leadership for removing this provision. A special thanks to Senate Transportation Committee Chair Gayle Manning and Vice Chair Tom Patton, and Senate President Keith Faber for their work and listening to our concerns.
CEAO was joined in its opposition to this provision by the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks, Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, County Commissioners Association of Ohio, Ohio Township Association, Ohio Conference of AAA Clubs, Ohio Municipal League, Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association and several railroad associations.
Let’s all continue working together to keep Ohio roads safe for the traveling public.
Fredrick B. Pausch
(The author is executive director of County Engineers Association of Ohio.)