Monday, February 7, 2011

Three Mega-load Bills to be Introduced to Legislature

Posted By on Mon, Feb 7, 2011 at 11:22 AM

In July 2010, when most Idahoans were first hearing about something called a "mega-load," legislator Tom Trail (R-Moscow) told Citydesk that he was concerned that Idaho didn't have specific guidelines for behemoth shipments.

"We simply don't have a formal hearing process required by law," Trail told Citydesk. "I want to change that."

Today Trail began crafting his recommended changes. Trail said he will sponsor three pieces of legislation addressing the permitting process for mega-loads. Trail met early this morning with Idaho Transportation Director Brian Ness to present the first drafts of his legislation. Rep. Shirley Ringo (D-Moscow) is a co-sponsor of the bills.

The first bill would require public hearings for any mega-load, or series of loads, totaling 500,000 pounds or more. A second piece of legislation would allow ITD to set appropriate fees to cover all costs, including administrative and legal expenses. A third bill calls for a special interim committee to review ITD guidelines on mega-loads. Ness and his ITD staff are already reviewing the bills.

Meanwhile, Idaho's first mega-load remains parked on U.S. Highway 12 just outside of Kooskia, waiting for a winter storm to pass. The shipment has been stalled since Thursday. The forecast for tonight doesn't look promising: a low of 25 degrees with a 70 percent chance of rain/snow.

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