Mississippi leaders against trucking weight limit increase - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Mississippi leaders against trucking weight limit increase

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Legislation on Capitol Hill is reaching right to the steps of Mississippi's Department of Transportation as state and local leaders ban together against it.

"These are bad ideas which will do serious damage to our already financially strained transportation systems," said Central District Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall. 

Those ideas are bundled into pieces of legislation which, if enacted, would increase trucking weight limits on interstate roadways by about 20,000 pounds. That's up to an additional ten tons of added pressure on infrastructure, taking the maximum limit from 80,000 pounds to 100,000, which would in turn be put on state and local highways and streets.

"The bottom line is, a load of 100,000 pounds belongs on a barge or a railcar," said Hall.  

Hall says the added weight would jeopardize the more than one thousand miles of four lane highways built during the last 25 years which cost taxpayers more than $4 billion, not to mention infrastructure already crumbling.

About 2,400 bridges in the state are already structurally deficient and transportation leaders say this increased weight would only add to the problem, as well as many others. Weight increases are accelerating safety concerns for law enforcement.

"We see these trucks in the news and in our local areas regularly throughout this state that turn over when the make turns because of this weight," said Mississippi Troopers Association President Sergeant Allen Lyles.

Lyles says additional weight could also cause more wrecks with increased risks for tire blowouts and longer stopping distances, putting other drivers in danger. Meanwhile, it's the local governments which will be left footing the bills.

"The increase in the weight limit of trucks would add to the destruction of our city streets and costs more to repair and overlay, not only will it affect our budget, it could cause a potential tax increase to our citizens," said Mississippi Municipal League Executive Director George Lewis.

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