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Eye On Boise

Thu., Feb. 28, 2013, 2:37 p.m.

Testimony: ‘Extra weight causes more damage - my knees tell me that’

More testimony from the heavy-trucks hearing:

Skip Smyser, lobbyist for the Idaho Trucking Association, said, “We have studied this and studied this.” He urged the Senate Transportation Committee to pass SB 1064, to make southern Idaho pilot routes for extra-heavy trucks permanent. He disputed testimony from AAA Idaho that truckers underpay for roads, saying car drivers do too. Asked where he stands on SB 1117, Smyser said, “I have no position.”

Bruce Mills, deputy director of the Ada County Highway District and a licensed engineer, spoke against SB 1117. “Extra weight just causes more damage – my knees tell me that,” Mills said. “Yes, you can spread more weight out over many axles, but the fact is, you’re still putting more axles on the road that way. … You’re still increasing the weight that’s going across the road by 20 percent.” He questioned the bill’s treatment of local vs. state jurisdiction on permitting extra-heavy trucks. “Our roads are certainly not built, and our bridges, for that kind of load,” he said.

Steve Thomas, lobbyist for BNSF Railway, said he has no position on SB 1064, but opposes SB 1117. “Why jump so quickly in putting big trucks up north?” he asked. Despite the 10-year pilot project in southern Idaho, he said, “As I see it, there has been no study at all up north.”

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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