The Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee conducted a public hearing on May 3 concerning the damages caused by overweight trucks. Several county commissioners court members and I testified at the hearing. Witnesses from TxDOT, DPS, and other agencies provided information on the increased cost and safety issues resulting from the current overweight truck permits.
Incredibly, trucking industry witnesses requested that the state permit limits be increased from 84,000 pounds to 97,000 pounds. These witnesses asserted that industry transportation costs would be reduced substantially with heavier loads.
This request ignores the current damage caused by these state-permitted loads on county roads, normally designed for 42,000-pound capacity. A single overweight truck is causing as much road damage as 10,000 automobiles. These trucks pay approximately $2.5 million in permit fees while inflicting at least $20 million in damages to our 160,000 miles of county roads.
Our county road system is grossly underfunded. Meanwhile, county taxpayers are absorbing an unfair burden to repair overweight truck damage. Please contact your legislators and request that:
1. The statewide overweight truck permit be abolished;
2. Fines for overweight trucks be tripled;
3. A portion of the motor fuel tax be allocated to county road improvement.
For more information, please call me at 1-800-733-0699.
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