The Agribusiness Association of Iowa entered the 2010 legislative session with the goal of merely introducing trans axle legislation; however, through support from a coalition of ag interests – including, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, the Iowa Pork Producers, and the Iowa Corn Growers- trans axle legislation made it to the Governor’s desk. On Thursday, April 15, 2010 Governor Chet Culver signed AAI endorsed legislation expanding the types of commodities trucks can carry using six and seven-axle configurations at higher weight limits.
“This bill means trucks will be able to carry more freight in fewer trips, increasing economic efficiency for farmers and businesses,” Governor Culver said. “Every driver will benefit from this law because it will mean fewer trucks and less wear and tear on our roads, plus increased safety.”
Representative Andrew Wenthe (D-House District 18), a key advocate in passing this legislation and floor manager of HF 2512 said, “It’s an important piece of legislation because it’s going to support the agriculture industry in the state of Iowa. It’s going to allow farmers and folks that deal in ag commodities to haul heavy loads, but also do so in a safe fashion that protects Iowans who are on the roadways.”
This bill eliminates existing commodity based weight restrictions for six and seven-axle commercial motor vehicles traveling on non-interstate highways. Currently, most vehicles or combinations of vehicles are subject to a gross weight limit of up to 80,000 pounds; however, the gross weight limit for a livestock or construction vehicle with six or seven axles ranges from 90,000 pounds for six axles, and up to 96,000 pounds for seven axles. The bill extends the same weight limits that apply to livestock and construction vehicles to all commercial vehicles of similar size.
“This was a hard fought win for AAI and the entire trans axle coalition,” stated Mark Reisinger, CEO of the Agribusiness Association of Iowa. “Different attempts by trade and commodity associations had been made over the past decade to establish equity for all transported agriculture commodities, but despite the ‘uphill fight’ AAI’s membership felt it was important to re-introduce the topic and build a coalition strong enough to pass this legislation.”
Spreading trucks’ weight over more axles reduces the stress on the roads trucks travel, making the law beneficial to Iowa’s infrastructure. Additionally, allowing for greater sized shipments means that less fuel will be used, due to fewer trucks on the road. The law will also help make roads safer: increased stopping power due to additional brakes means drivers will have the ability to stop quicker.
The provisions of the bill will go into effect July 1, 2010, and do not apply to vehicles operated on interstate highways.
For additional photos and information from the trans axle bill signing, please go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/govculver/sets/72157623736398129 or http://iowahouse.org/2010/04/16/governor-signs-expansion-of-road-weight-limits-for-farmers/.