Mississippi legislatures have passed a trucking bill (Senate Bill 2418) that increases the weight limits for hauling farm products and timber on many of the state’s roads. Supporters of the weight increase say it helps independent truckers and trucking companies by allowing them to haul more with fewer trucks.
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Weight increase for some commercial trucks
The bill raises weight limits for vehicles with state-issued harvest permits and is scheduled to take effect July 1. Its five percent increase concerns many local officials according to Melinda McGrath, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
McGrath says there is already a five percent tolerance above the weight limit on each axle for trucks with a harvest permit. Senate Bill 2418 raises the tolerance to 10 percent. Critics of the weight increase assert that allowing more weight on each axle significantly increases the weight on a much smaller pavement area, and that is highly destructive to roads and bridges that are already in need of repair.
Lawmakers also approved increased funding for bridge and road repair. The Magnolia State typically spends about $1 billion every year for needed road and bridge work. That money comes from trucking fees, an 18-cent fuel excise tax, and federal funding. Senate Bill 3046 allows borrowing an additional $150 million and moving funds from other budgets to pay for bridges, roads, and infrastructure.
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