In Duluth, trucks are a weighty issue

  • Article by: Curt Brown , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 22, 2014 - 10:45 PM

A discrepancy in weight-limit laws keeps logging trucks off the interstate and puts them on city streets.

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woodpecFeb. 22, 14 7:26 PM

One part of the story is missing: Who is forcing those trucking companies to load more weight on their trucks than the highways are designed for? Surely not the bad big government. There is another easy fix to eliminate that awful discrepancy between state and federal weight limitations: Lower the state limitation.

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gilgamesh23Feb. 22, 14 8:50 PM

I've seen research that a 80,000 lb truck does something like 7,000 times as much damage to the road as a 4,000 lb car. People talk about making hybrids and electric vehicles pay their fair share ... but how about trucks? A semi doesn't use 7,000 times as much fuel as an SUV driver. The last thing our state needs is a special exemption to let trucks do even more damage to the roads. We can't keep them up as it is.

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verdepatoFeb. 22, 14 9:02 PM

During the winter when the roads are frozen it is only common sense to allow more weight to be hauled Especially on a industry that has short season like logging

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ruphinaFeb. 22, 14 9:34 PM

If driving on the Interstate instead of the local streets will save that much time and money, then load the trucks only to 80,000 lbs. and get on with life. Since they don't we can assume the profit is low enough that 5 trips to carry 400,000 lbs. of logs instead of 4 trips makes it too expensive. Bill G.

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davehougFeb. 22, 1410:29 PM

During the winter when the roads are frozen it is only common sense to allow more weight to be hauled Especially on a industry that has short season like logging = = = The bridges don't care if the road is frozen.

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texas_technomanFeb. 23, 14 5:42 AM

Think about this when you hear about funding for road/bridge mtce. It's not that Honda Civic tearing up the roads...time to switch to a Gross Vehicle Weight x Miles Driven model. Make everyone pay their fair share.

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reidFeb. 23, 14 7:18 AM

I know several owner/operators of semi trucks. They worry about a margin as slim as anyone else, sometimes hauling for miniscule profit, but keeping their business running until a better load comes along. In addition they have little sway with what they are paid to haul, and there is always someone running a marginally maintained rig. That being said, I agree that the law that needs adjusting IS the MN law that allows exceeding 80,000#, pretty routinely. Oversized loads include size and weight and each needs a permit to haul, with additional restrictions. There is excessive damage during winter weather, and with the ground frozen, there is no give (seems odd, but the road does flex) which can occur during summer months and is, despite increased traffic, a better season. One only needs to see how quickly the concrete and bituminous deteriorates when we get our first few days of melting and the potholes grow in hours. The wisest thing is for the state legislators to say that they made a mistake with this open-ended weight variance and correct it back to 80,000# uniformly. The industries for which these truckers haul need to step up and pay what it takes to get their products delivered.

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crazycooterFeb. 23, 14 7:44 AM

texas_technoman Feb. 23, 14 5:42 AM Think about this when you hear about funding for road/bridge mtce. It's not that Honda Civic tearing up the roads...time to switch to a Gross Vehicle Weight x Miles Driven model. Make everyone pay their fair share. You are correct sir ! I have been arguing this point for nearly 30 years to get that through to big government ! The fact that on point that the trucks made 2 miles a gallon and cars made 12 There was a big enough discreptioncy that the trucks paid the fair share , but ow the car is averaging 40 miles per gallon and the truck is only up to 7 miles per gallon with the most sophisticated electronics to improve efficiency and the fact that they pay 51 cents per gallon rather than 40 cents that a car pays , if you do the math the truck ( average semi ) pays .102 per mile for tax while that honda civic is .0105 cents per mile and that chevy volt everyone wants is a whopping .00000 per mile fuel tax paid and that chevy volt owner got a tax incentive from Uncle Sam of $7500 to buy the darn thing , further taking another 7500 bucks from the road fund ! Then not mention the hybrids that until they reach 30 miles per hour they are highway robbers too ! So now that we are all educated who is paying more Tax Oh and those trucks that have big tanks and can make it across state lines without filling up still need to document the mileage driven in that state and send in that fuel tax whether he purchased fuel or not ! Does a car have to do that yet ? The next time you see a semi truck with a sticker that says IFTA on it with the year on it that tells you he pays his fair share do you other folks do that . Then there is the tourist that went up to canada for a trip and they fill up with gas in Fort Francis Ontario . Then cross the border into international falls and yup you guessed it no tax paid again !

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w1walshFeb. 23, 14 2:10 PM

Poor, poor trucking companies! Can't make enough money with the weight limits we impose on them. Maybe we set the Interstate at 80,000 lbs and 50,000 lbs on city roads. Maybe lower when pedestrians and traffic are present. The roads belong to the people and not business.

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texas_technomanFeb. 23, 14 4:06 PM

There is a bill in congress as we speak that wants to raise truck weight limits from 80k to 97k...and as well allow doubles and triples on some roads. Pretty soon they will look a lot like trains...

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