December 28, 2015 2:55 PM, EST

Rep. Reid Ribble Hopeful Truck Weight Issue Advances in 2017

Pete Marovich/Bloomberg News
The leading proponent in the House for increasing weight limits for trucks is hopeful a majority in Congress will back his effort in 2017.

“We’ve gotten better at articulating the message. We’ve gotten better at talking to members about it, and I would predict that the next round will be successful,” Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) told Transport Topics earlier this month.

Ribble in November sought to add to a five-year highway bill a proposal to give states authority to determine whether to allow an increase in truck weight limits to 91,000 pounds from 80,000 pounds — the standard weight limit for interstate highways.

Before the vote on his proposal, Ribble delivered a lengthy argument on the House floor calling on colleagues to see the matter through a rural perspective. Allowing heavier trucks on interstates is relevant to constituents back in Wisconsin. Ribble said: “I’m from an area of the country where there’s not a lot of rail. We have very modest rail, and so the truck weight issue is important to us.”

Ultimately, 236 House members voted against his effort. On Dec. 4, that highway bill would go on to be signed into law. The way Ribble saw it, the Obama administration “kind of made it clear that’s not something they’re really” looking to support.

Working on the assumption that congressional leaders will not be racing to advance major legislation during the 2016 presidential year, Ribble added, “My guess is that the discussion on truck weight and on size is likely to be postponed until 2017 or beyond.”

For additional coverage, see the Jan. 4 edition of Transport Topics.