Yesterday, the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance took action to help halt a proposal that could have been devastating to certain industries that transport goods and services in northern Michigan.
Senate Bill 1150 (Sen. Steven Bieda, D-Warren) – which would have required the reduction of the gross vehicle weight limit in the state of Michigan from 164,000 lbs. to 80,000 lbs. – was brought up rather surprisingly for a vote on Tuesday, December 2nd in the Michigan Senate. The bill was just recently introduced before the legislature’s Thanksgiving holiday recess, and had not received any sort of committee hearing.
The bill was premised on the idea that vehicle weight alone is what quickens the pace of road damage, when in fact, it is weight per axel that has more effect on pavement damage. MDOT predicts that pavement damage would be worse if SB 1150 became law, because two standard 80,000 lb. trucks impose more and heavier axel loadings than one 164,000 lb. truck. SB 1150 was introduced as part of a plan for funding and maintaining Michigan’s roads, and the vote on SB 1150 may have been part of a deal struck to get Senate Democrat votes for a bill altering the gasoline tax.
The Chamber Alliance had grave concerns about what this policy could mean for northern Michigan businesses, especially the construction, agriculture, food processing, forestry, energy, and manufacturing industries. We felt it was not right to move this bill along when so many basic unknowns about its ramifications still existed.
The Alliance asked our State Senators to vote “no” on SB 1150, or at the very least allow this bill the opportunity to be properly vetted in committee where the impacts of the bill could be presented and discussed. The bill failed 22-15 with northern Michigan’s Senators voting “no” – Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba), Sen. Howard Walker (R-Traverse City), Sen. Darwin Booher (R-Evart), and Sen. John Moolenaar (R-Midland).
Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville stated in a recent interview that the issue is not dead yet, and could be brought back up at any time in the next two weeks.
If you have concerns: