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Idaho Delegation Introduces Transportation Bill

Improves Efficiency of Freight Movement Within the State

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Idaho Senators Larry Craig and Mike Crapo and Congressmen Mike Simpson and Bill Sali today introduced the Idaho Efficient Vehicle Demonstration Act of 2008, legislation that calls for portions of Idaho's interstate roadways to be included in an existing freight transport pilot project in the State.

The State pilot project, created in 2003 by the Idaho State Legislature, allows vehicle combinations weighing up to 129,000 pounds to operate on designated routes within the State highway system, as long as those vehicles meet certain safety and efficiency standards. The proposed bill would extend the same criteria to trucks traveling on Interstates 15, 84 and 86 - presently limited to 105,500 pounds - bringing them in line with weight restrictions on interstates in Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada.

"The State of Idaho has long recognized the need to provide a more productive means of freight transport," Senator Craig said. "This bill accomplishes that mission by providing more economical and efficient transportation options to local industries, while still maintaining the highest regard for safety."

"With high fuel prices taking a disproportionate hit on rural states like Idaho, we must allow for more cost-efficient transportation of goods to market," Senator Crapo said. "Fewer trucks on the road carrying more produce makes sense, and Idaho's vehicle laws should be able to match those of its neighboring states."

"Our transportation system is the backbone of our economy, and the ability to transfer goods quickly and efficiently is essential for America," Congressman Simpson said. "By addressing this highway need, Idaho can play a larger role in transferring goods while still adhering to high safety standards."

"High prices for fuel and consumer goods are hurting Idaho families and businesses, and Congress has done nothing to provide relief," Congressman Sali said. "This is a simple step that we can take to provide the trucking industry with a safe and more efficient way to haul goods, so that the savings can be passed onto consumers at a time when they need it most."

The bill, which was introduced in both chambers of Congress today, is supported by Idaho Governor Butch Otter, the Idaho Transportation Department, and a broad spectrum of Idaho businesses. It now goes to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to be vetted and discussed ahead of the 2009 reauthorization of our nation's surface transportation policy.