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House Passes Bill Easing Truck Weight Restrictions

Henryk Sadura/123rf Stock Photo

The Kentucky legislature has passed a bill allowing overweight trucks to drive on state highways as long as they’re carrying commodities made out of metal.

The legislation would allow the metal-producing industry to truck 120,000 pounds of metal on state highways—20 tons more than the current 80,000 pound limit.

Supporters of the legislation said it would spur economic growth in the state’s aluminum industry, which employs about 18,000 people.

Rep. Matt Castlen, a Republican from Owensboro, says the bill would be an economic boon for the state.

“This isn’t just about Kentucky," Castlen said. "We compete on an international level. Wouldn’t it be nice to see that aluminum go to our ford automotive plants to produce the body panels for our F-150s?”

Rep. Sannie Overly, a Democrat from Paris and civil engineer, warned that passing the legislation could make state highways more dangerous.

“Heavier trucks and loads on the highways are much slower to stop," Overly said. "It’s like a speeding train coming at you. The heavier it is, the longer it takes to come to rest.”

The state already has several exemptions to the trucking weight limit — for substances ranging from coal to animal residues.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives for Kentucky Public Radio, a group of public radio stations including WKMS, WFPL in Louisville, WEKU in Richmond and WKYU in Bowling Green. A native of Lexington, Ryland most recently served as the Capitol Reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.
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