Reid Ribble has jokes.
At least that’s the only thing I can guess – Jeff Clark knows him and says he’s a decent guy, so the only reason I could ever consider a nice guy proposing we increase weight limits on roads and bridges that can’t handle and weren’t built for the weights they carry now, is to be droll, and possibly lighten the mood in the big house.
I actually did a little reading on Rep. Ribble, and he does indeed come off as a decent human being on Wikipedia. He graduated from a place called “Appleton High School” in Wisconsin, that’s pretty All-American. And although his bios are fairly brief, from what I gather, he has been a small business owner for more than 30 years.
What I find ironic is that he seems to be very aware of the infrastructure problems. He co-sponsored a bill to provide long-term funding and federal programs to rebuild roads, highways and bridges, and he even seems to get that people aren’t paying attention to the dangerous situation we have with our highway funding. In a CNBC op-ed he wrote, “Our transportation infrastructure is ubiquitous, but it is not free.”
So I’m really baffled as to why he would propose to increase overall weight limits. I would understand increased weights in rural and farming areas, he’s from Wisconsin, and they still farm for a living over there (thank you, Wisconsin farmers) and grain is heavy, but as an overall highway law, I can tell you with a pretty fair amount of certainty, lives will be lost as a direct result of it. If someone doesn’t fall through a sudden and unavoidable hole in a crumbling bridge by themselves, they’ll lose control of 91,000 lbs. because of a ridiculous drop-off that used to be a berm before it disintegrated under 91,000 lbs, and take a bunch of civilians with them.
I asked Jeff Clark to have his buddy do a ridealong, and I’d like to publicly state that if Representative Ribble wants to plant himself in a truck and drag 91,000 lbs. over the Ohio River and across the Brent Spence Bridge between Kentucky and Ohio with 50 other trucks that weigh 91,000 lbs. repeatedly, have at it. Kick it up a notch and cross pretty much any bridge in Pennsylvania with one other truck that weighs 91,000 lbs. and see if your rear end doesn’t clinch a little. Oh and by the way, the freight rates won’t increase with the weight, but the maintenance and fuel costs will skyrocket, and you can bet increased weight will have the increased insurance hounds on our butts again. It’s fairly certain the entire idea is a lose/lose situation for the trucker, both from a monetary and safety standpoint.
Write your representative a letter. Do it now. The OOIDA website, Fightingfortruckers.com, could not make it easier for you. There is an ignorance in Washington that needs to be addressed by the professionals actually doing the jobs these people are making laws and decisions about. We’re in serious trouble if these people continue to be allowed to use the transportation industry as some sort of experiment to test their purchased data and scientifically unsound theories. You did not become a human guinea pig when you obtained your CDL. Run tell that.