State senator explains how new Ga. truck weight limit increase will impact ag, logging industries

State senator explains how new Ga. truck weight limit increase will impact farm, logging industry
Published: Apr. 4, 2023 at 6:23 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - With the recent passage of the new Georgia state bill to increase some large truckload weights, what does that mean for the logging and agriculture industries? WALB’s Jim Wallace sat down with a local state senator to explain why he helped sponsor the bill.

The bill was one that raised the weight limit on agricultural trucks in the state of Georgia this year.

Senator, why is this an important issue for agriculture in South Georgia?

“Well, it’s an important issue because every state that the farmers in every state that touch Georgia can haul more weight on the road than what our farmers and loggers can,” State Senator Russ Goodman, chairman of the state Senate Agriculture Committee, said. “So, in Florida, Alabama and Tennessee, they can haul 88,000 pounds. And in North Carolina, South Carolina, 90,000 pounds and of course, we operated under the governor’s executive order for three years at 95,000 pounds during the COVID pandemic that expired. And that put us back at 84,000 pounds and that’s 84. So we were at a four to the 6,000-pound deficit. In relation to every farmer in every state that joins us. And so for me it was an issue of about fairness and leveling the playing field, especially when you live in South Georgia like I do. And I’ve got loggers that I represent in farmers and you know, you take one of our loggers, they can be logging in Hamilton County, Florida and they can haul 88,000 pounds. You know, until they get to the Georgia line, and because the PCA Mills two miles in inside of Georgia, they can’t haul at 84,000 pounds. And so for a small family logging business that does about 60 loads a week, it’s the difference? Between 84 and. 88,000 pounds is $154,000 here to that small family business.”

County commissioners said they were concerned by the weight limits getting out of hand. Is there concern about that for the roads?

“Well, now this isn’t going to affect everyone. This is going to affect the bill that we passed is going to, we’re going to give us 88,000 pounds, which is 4,000 more pounds,” Goodman said. “That’s a pallet and a half a fertilizer. It’s basically that’s what it is. It’s a pallet and a half a 10/10/10 to put us on a level playing field with all the states that are touching us. I don’t have a big concern with that. It’s not going to affect all industries. There is a non-attainment area around Atlanta, so it won’t apply to Atlanta. So the folks in the metro area that you know they won’t have to. To worry about it, but no, I mean once again we’ve been operating at 95,000 pounds for three years and we haven’t heard anybody, you know, screaming too loud. So I think it’s going to be something that is going to help our farmers. Help our loggers and at the same time, you know, it’s all of our surrounding states have been operating at 88,000 pounds for years and there haven’t been any major issues.”