Truck damage to highways should be a weighty issue
It was a story lost on the day a report on progress in Iraq came out and people reminisced on the anniversary of 9/11, but that doesn’t diminish the significance of the impact of overweight trucks on our highways.
An Associated Press story said more than a half-million overweight trucks are allowed onto the nation’s roads and bridges, causing dangerous wear and tear. The story reported that one 40-ton truck does as much damage to the road as 9,600 cars, and that permit fees don’t compensate for the damage they cause.
And it’s happening in Nevada too. When you consider the state is scrounging for money to fund desperately needed highway improvements, it becomes clear that we ought to look closely at the practice of allowing overweight trucks to use our highways, or at least at charging the trucking companies more to do so, so that they are pulling their own weight in the highway funding equation.
At present, there is no solution to the highway funding shortfall estimated at $5 billion. The Legislature came up with a plan to bond for $1 billion, funded largely by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, existing rental car taxes and, in Washoe and Clark counties, $170 million in property tax revenue. While much of that money would be spent to increase highway capacity in a rapidly growing state, it also leaves less money for repairs to existing highways.
If legislators come calling to taxpayers for highway funding to make up the shortfall, they should make sure they’re knocking on the trucking industry’s doors, too.