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Eye On Boise

Thu., Feb. 28, 2013, 2:13 p.m.

Testimony: ‘We would be able to reduce one out of every 5 loads’

In continued testimony at the heavy-trucks hearing:

Gary Halverson, transportation manager for Glanbia Foods, spoke in favor of both heavy-trucks bills. His company processes almost a third of the milk in Idaho, and hauls almost 11 million pounds of milk and whey daily, he said. “We see the economic advantages. … We would be able to reduce one out of every five loads by hauling the heavier weights.” Under questioning from senators on the committee, Halverson said his company operates from Kuna to Oakley, and doesn’t operate north of Lewiston.

Dave Carlson, spokesman for AAA of Idaho, spoke against both bills. “We have a $543 million annual shortfall in this state for transportation road funding,” he said. “A cost allocation study that was requested by the governor concluded that trucks are underpaying their fair share by $11 million a year.” He disputed an ITD report that found that the 10-year pilot project allowing extra-heavy trucks on designated routes in southern Idaho had no impact on roads, saying other studies show higher road and bridge maintenance costs will be incurred due to increased weights.

Mike Brassey, lobbyist for Union Pacific Railroad, spoke against SB 1117, saying as written, the bill lacks procedures, rule-making and funding. “We think that there will probably be significant impacts on the property taxes in local taxing districts that have to maintain those roads,” he said. “There’s simply no new funding for a new burden at the local level.”

Dennis Tanikuni, lobbyist for the Idaho Farm Bureau, spoke in support of SB 1064, the bill to make the southern Idaho heavy-truck pilot project permanent. “We are very, very interested in keeping and maintaining those routes,” he said. The Farm Bureau has no position on SB 1117, he said.

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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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