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Otter Signs Heavy-Truck Bill, But …

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has signed legislation allowing extra-heavy trucks on non-freeway routes statewide, but says he wants the Idaho Transportation Department to hold public hearings and take other steps before designating any new routes – including Highway 95 in North Idaho - for the big, 129,000-pound trucks. “Safety must be the highest priority,” Otter wrote in a signing letter sent to lawmakers today. “The process of considering nominated routes also must include timely, well-noticed public hearings and notification of adjacent property owners.” Senate Bill 1117 was pushed by Idaho Forest Group in Coeur d’Alene, but opposed by an array of local officials in North Idaho who contend the extra-big trucks are unsuitable for North Idaho’s twisting routes and wetter weather/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Seems to me that Otter should have vetoed this bill and scheduled the hearings first. Hearings are an elected officials way of deflecting criticism. Heavier trucks will endanger lives further on already dangerous Highway 95. That's a no-brainer. Shame on the Legislature for passing this bill & Otter for signing it. Thoughts?

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D.F. Oliveria
D.F. (Dave) Oliveria joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a columnist and compiles the Huckleberries Online blog and writes about North Idaho in his Huckleberries column.

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