Here’s a link to my full story at spokesman.com on today’s Senate passage of legislation to make any route in Idaho – other than interstate freeways – potentially fair game for extra-heavy trucks, despite protests from numerous North Idaho local elected officials. Senators disputed whether the locals would have the ultimate say over whether extra-heavy trucks – those up to 129,000 pounds, up from the current limit of 105,500 pounds – could run on their local roads.
The bill says local cities, counties or highway districts “may” designate routes for the heavier trucks, but must use criteria set by the Idaho Transportation Department to make their decision. It also says they “shall” issue permits for the extra-heavy trucks on those routes.
“ITD will establish the criteria by which the locals will make the determination,” Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, told the Senate. “I ask you, is that local control?” She questioned whether a city, county or highway district would be vulnerable to a lawsuit if it said “no” to the bigger trucks on a particular route, but ITD said yes.
Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, said, “I find it interesting as I watch, when the locals don’t want to do something, they scream that they want us to make the decisions. But when they want to make the decision, they yell local control. This is local control. This bill will not designate one inch of local or county road without that city or county doing the designating.”