Chief to lobby against boost in weight limit

Clyde Police Chief Bruce Gower will be making his way to Washington, D.C., this week to fight proposed legislation that would allow an increase in the maximum size of big rigs on the nation’s highways.

Gower, who will be meeting with Ohio’s federal delegation members, will be discussing his concerns with legislation that would raise maximum truck weight allowed on roadways to 97,000 pounds from 80,000 pounds.

“We’re saying 80,000 pounds is big enough,” Gower said.

He said by raising the maximum weight of trucks allowed on roadways, safety would be compromised for other drivers. Gower said although most truck drivers are good drivers and accidents are not often caused by them, the heavier something is, the more damage it will cause when it collides with another object.

Gower said another disadvantage of allowing heavier trucks on the roadways is damage to bridges and other road infrastructure. He said a lot of bridges already are structurally deficient to handle heavier trucks, and semi-truck drivers don’t pay for the damage they cause.

“Putting double trailers and triple trailers on the road trying to get through Clyde, that’s going to be a nightmare,” he said.

Gower said he has been to Washington, D.C., four or five times in the past eight years to fight the same proposal, and has been successful in stopping it.

“A lot of studies show a large percentage of the population does not want larger trucks,” he said. “I’m hoping Congress listens to the 70-plus percentage of people who don’t want this.”

He is to meet with House Speaker John Boehner, R-West Chester, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, and U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Holmes County, who sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.