The battle continues in Georgia over the heated issue of weight increases for trucks, with the timber industry, concerned about competition, leading the charge for the opportunity to haul an additional four tons of trees.
Neighboring states, including Alabama and Florida, have increased their state’s road weight limits from 80,000 to 88,000 pounds, reports fox5atlanta.com.
Trucking lobbyists in the Peach State have been trying to get state legislators there to do the same in recent years, but critics, including AAA, have been pushing back citing concerns over road damage and public safety.
AAA contends that heavier trucks pose a greater threat to public safety. The automobile club reports that most of the 163 people killed in large truck accidents during 2013 had been traveling in smaller vehicles.
Proponents of truck weight increases argue that hauling additional cargo means reducing truck traffic on the road, which lowers emissions along with the likelihood for accidents.
Lobbyists with the Georgia Forestry Association (GFA) also contend that increasing the weight limit will even the playing field with neighboring states.
“House Bill 411 is important for Georgia’s forestry community,” GFA told fox5atlanta.com. “The initiative to increase the allowable weight on Georgia roads would provide much needed parity with surrounding states for the forestry supply chain while decreasing the frequency of trucks on the road, which would provide both economic and safety benefits.”
Eighty percent of Georgia residents who participated in a AAA survey say they oppose increasing truck weight limits.
GFA says that since HB 411 will not pass during the current legislative session, it plans on educating politicians and the public “on the economic and safety benefits of higher truck weights and the importance of a vibrant future for Georgia’s forest product industry.”