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Dayton Business Journal...
Report: Bigger trucks on roads to cost counties $40M

by Joe Cogliano, Senior Reporter
Wednesday, February 1, 2012 

County officials from around Ohio are mobilizing against a measure that would allow bigger trucks on the nation’s roads. 

The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is slated to vote Thursday on whether or not to allow bigger trucks, up to 97,000 pounds for single-trailer trucks and more than 100,000 pounds for double- and triple-trailer trucks on American roads. Currently, the limit is 80,000 pounds. 

Montgomery County officials say if the new limits are passed, it might be forced to spend roughly $500,000 just to perform engineering analysis of bridges within the county. And the cost to all Ohio counties could top $40 million, according to County Engineers Association of Ohio. 

“Large trucks accelerate the deterioration of the nation’s highways, roads and bridges,” said Fredrick Pausch, executive director of the association. “They will put further pressure on funding sources to maintain and repair these roadways. As income from the gas tax continues to decline, counties are already having difficulty keeping up with the needed repair.” 

However, companies such as Kraft Foods Inc.    and The Home Depot    have been among those asking for rules that would give states more leeway to allow 97,000-pound trucks on interstate highways, Blooomberg reported. 

As diesel prices have soared, trucking companies have sought new ways to move cargo using less fuel, including loading more freight onto semi-truck trailers, the story said. That effort has resulted in a host of state-level weight limit increases, including breaks in Ohio for those moving steel coils and other materials. 

The Dayton area has long been a hub for trucking companies because of its central Midwest location and the intersection of Interstates 75 and 70. The industry also serves many companies that have chosen to build in the region because of the access to highways. 

The area is home to numerous regional and national trucking companies including ABF Freight Systems, which employs 630 people in Huber Heights and is the largest subsidiary of Arkansas Best Corp.   

Ohio has roughly 44,000 bridges, more than any other state except Texas. Ohio ranks fifth in the nation with bridges structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. 

Read this and other articles at Dayton Business Journal



 
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