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5.0 Implications of Federal TS&W Policy Options

This chapter considers the implications on western border trucking of a range of possible Federal TS&W policy options.

What would happen to western border trucking if certain Federal TS&W regulation was devolved to the States?

Federal length limits--48 feet for semitrailers and 28 feet for twin trailers--are minimums and apply to the NN. They are already equalled or exceeded by regulations in the five western border States for all highways in each State. Federal axle weight limits--20,000 pounds for a single axle and 34,000 pounds for a tandem axle--are maximums and apply to IS highways. They are the standard axle limits applicable on all major highways in each of the five States. The tandem-axle limit is exceeded in Idaho for selected situations. Washington, Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota have GVW limits governing all of their highways which nearly always exceed and are never less than the Federal 80,000-pound GVW limit. Minnesota applies the 80,000-pound GVW limit on all major highways. The provisions of Bridge Formula B are equalled or exceeded in each of the five States. North Dakota permits 48,000 pounds on tridems and does not apply inner bridge requirements on most non-Interstate highways. If Federal TS&W regulation was devolved to the States, the following effects could be expected:

Federal Length Limits (minimum): Since the Federal length limits are exceeded in the five western border States, no effects would be expected.

Federal Axle Weight Limits: The States could elect to increase single- and tandem-axle weight limits on the Interstates within their borders. There does not appear to be strong pressure to do so in this region. This is demonstrated by the fact that none of these States have over the years elected to increase axle weights on non-IS highways under their respective authorities. Differences with Canadian tandem-axle limits could effect some pressure.

The 80,000-Pound GVW Cap: In the five western border States, the only highways on which the Federal 80,000-pound GVW limit applies are Interstate highways in Minnesota. In the other four States, it is the GVW limits imposed by the ISTEA freeze (and the ISTEA Shelby exemption)-- and not the 80,000 pound limit--that is the Federal GVW limit of influence. What Minnesota would do with the authority to relax the 80,000-pound GVW limit on its Interstate highways in not known. To date, Minnesota has elected to maintain an 80,000-pound GVW limit (or less) on all highways in the State.

Bridge Formula B: Except for North Dakota, the five western border States apply, for the most part, Bridge Formula B on all highways. North Dakota applies the formula on IS highways, but

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